10 Biggest Casino Jackpot Winners

By in Casino & Gaming on
6 Minute Read
jackpot win

Slot machines are relatively easy to understand and play. You drop the coin (or insert your player card) and pull the lever or press the button. The reels start spinning on a screen.

Once the reels stop, you’re hoping that you have a winning combo and finally have the nest egg, new car, or house you’ve always dreamed of. This is not the likely outcome of playing a slot machine. Slots (like penny slot machines specifically) are the biggest moneymakers for American casinos.

Most players would be surprised by how much they spend to win even a small payout. The odds are not in your favor. A slot machine is not usually a financially sound way to spend your money.

But you can win, and some gamblers have won big. Slot machine payouts are some of the largest out of any other game in casinos.

I’m going to talk about the biggest slot machine winners. I’m sharing with you the 10 biggest casino jackpot winners of all time.

1 – $39,710,826.36

A 25-year-old software engineer who chose to remain anonymous won nearly $40 million on a progressive slot machine at the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas.

This win happened in 2003 and remains the most significant slot jackpot of all time. I don’t know if I could be trusted with that much money at 25, could you?

The anonymous gambler used $100 on the Megabucks slot machines. Talk about return on investment.

2 – $34,959,458.56

In January of 2000, Cynthia Jay Brennan, a cocktail waitress, had her most important day of her career. Cynthia, 37 at the time of the win, played a Megabucks machine at the Desert Inn.

The Wynn Las Vegas is the former location of the Desert Inn. Unfortunately, Ms. Brennan was in a tragic car accident six weeks later when she was hit by a drunk driver. She was left paralyzed, and her sister’s life was taken in the accident.

3 – $27,580,879.60

A retired flight attendant entered the Palace Station Casino on November 15th, 1998, with the intent of only playing $100 on slots. She blew her budget as we tend to do when real money gambling.

She ended up betting $300, and she’s glad she did. The anonymous woman is currently the record holder for the third largest jackpot winner.

The flight attendant won almost 28 million on a Megabucks machine. I guess sometimes tripling your bankroll pays off. It paid off big for this lucky player.

4 – $22,621,229.74

Rise and shine! That’s what Johanna Heundl did on May 27th, 2002, when she won the fourth biggest slots machine jackpot of all time.

The California resident casually decided to play a, you guessed it, Megabucks machine. She was on her way to breakfast.

Johanna looked away from the machine for a moment. When she looked back at the slot machine, she had to check her vision. She won nearly $23 million.

What a great way to start the day, wouldn’t you agree? I would’ve bought breakfast for the whole restaurant, wouldn’t you?

5 – $21,346,952.22

On June 1st, 1999, an unnamed business consultant put a $10 bill in a Megabucks slots machine. He had no idea that his life was about change.

The Illinois resident proceeded to win $21.3 million on the machine at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. I wonder if he’s still consulting?

If so, can he share his luck with us?

The 49-year-old has chosen to remain anonymous to this day. I probably would, too.

6 – $21,147,947.00

How would you feel about winning not just one multimillion payout, but two? In a span of 20 years?

Dreams do come true. Elmer Sherwin won $4.6 million in 1989 at the Mirage. Almost 20 years later, the Vegas regular won $21.1 million on a Megabucks machine at the Cannery Casino Hotel in Las Vegas.

The luckiest man alive won his second jackpot at the young age of 92. It’s too bad you can’t take money with you to the grave. Elmer passed away two years later at 94.

This story gives a new meaning to golden years.

7 – $17,329,817.80

Any casino regular is familiar with the freebies you’re given. There’s the $20 credit to play on slots. Maybe you’ll get the dinner voucher. You might even get a discount on your hotel room.

They’re great, but do you really take any of those seriously? I probably have 10 buffet vouchers in my junk drawer as I write this post.

Well, maybe we shouldn’t treat these freebies with such abandon. A Las Vegas woman went to the M Resort in Henderson, NV, to use her free play credit with the casino and use up some food vouchers.

She was on her way to use the food vouchers for dinner with a friend. She had no idea her life was about to change. The woman inserted the credits into a Megabucks machine and won. She didn’t just win a measly $400, she won nearly $18 million.

In December of 2012, this anonymous gambler’s holiday wishes came early. The lesson here is to use those free credits! You might not win, but what is there to lose? Maybe a multimillion-dollar jackpot?

8 – $17,329,817.80

A Las Vegas casino regular, known the Rampart Lucky Local, played a $20 bill in a Megabucks machine at the Rampart Casino. You know exactly what happens next—he won a multimillion jackpot.

The man had much bigger dreams than using the money for his own needs and wants. He made a substantial donation to his local church.

The donation allowed the fledgling church to build their own church. At the time, the young church was hosting their services out of a local high school’s gym.

The world might be just a smidgen better if more of us were this generous.

9 – $12,769,933.00

What happens when you’re visiting your niece and she happens to live in Vegas? You go play the $6 in your pocket at the Aria Casino and Resort, obviously.

What might not happen to all people in this situation is winning almost $13 million.

This is what on January 21st, 2011. An unnamed woman was:

  1. Visiting her niece in Las Vegas
  2. She had $6 in cash
  3. She played a Megabucks machine at the Aria Casino and Resort
  4. She won $12.7 million

The outcome of this was for one woman. Her life was forever changed. That’s the kind of out-of-town trip I’m talking about!

Ironically, there was another major jackpot on a Megabucks machine four months later. I bet the Aria was double-checking the odds on their machines.

10 – $12,510,549.90

Big Apple dreams came true for a Vegas local on April 14th, 1997. Suzanne Henley stopped into the New York-New York Casino one night on her way home from work.

She had a hunch that the casino was overdue for a massive payout on the Megabucks slot machines. I swear, you should always trust your gut. It’s rarely wrong.

Suzanne played $100 on the Megabucks machine that was suspected to be a winner. And of course, she won millions. To be exact, Ms. Henley won $12.5 million.

The takeaway from this jackpot winner? Always trust your intuition, because it might be worth almost $13 million.

Why Are Big Jackpots on Megabucks Machines?

Megabucks machines are wide-area progressive (WAP) slot machines. WAP progressive slot machines are usually interconnected throughout a large area.

What makes the Megabucks machines unique is:

  1. The WAP system for the Megabucks machines is massive. The Megabucks WAP system in Vegas is the most prominent in the country. The Megabucks WAP system has more players contributing to its odds than any other system in the United States.
  2. The Megabucks jackpot payouts start at $10 million. So, the winner isn’t going to win less than $10 million.
  3. The Megabucks machines are some of the most expensive slot machines a gambler can play. The minimum bet amount starts at $3. Considering the average bet on a single spin for a slot machine is around 10 cents, Megabucks machines are expensive to play.

One can assume that the more expensive the single bet, the higher the payout.

These three combined characteristics of the Megabucks progressive slot machines are why they are the king of the biggest slot jackpots.

Conclusion

Man, wouldn’t it be awesome to play the small cash you have on you, even the free casino slot credits, and walk away a multimillionaire?

These stories seem too good to be true. There’s a reason the odds of winning the Megabucks jackpot are not good. The odds for Megabucks win around 50 million to 1.

I love jackpot stories, and I hope you do, too. Just remember, slots should be for fun, not a retirement plan!

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

View all posts by Michael Stevens
Email the author at: [email protected]