5 of the Biggest Jackpot Winnings in Casino History

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Image via Flickr by Mark Ramsay


It is true that not all players win, but it is equally true that players can win — and win big. These players are here to prove it. From penny slot machines to mobile gaming apps, these players definitely took home the bacon.

1. Largest Jackpot in Vegas History

Who was the biggest winner ever in Sin City? That honor belongs to a former software engineer from Los Angeles. The 25-year-old was playing a Megabucks machine in the Excalibur on the Vegas Strip on March 21, 2003. He put just $100 in the machine, which soon rewarded him aith a $39.7 million return on his investment. Becoming the largest winner ever at a Las Vegas jackpot, he beat the odds of 16.7 million to one when the machine hit.

2. Largest Win for Mobile Online Gamer

Okay, so players can win in the big casinos on the Strip in Vegas, but what about those online gamers playing on mobile devices? A 50-year-old man who remains unidentified took the top mobile prize of $1.4 million, breaking the world record for the most money won from playing on a mobile device. He was using his cell phone. The previous record was set just one month before this hit, and was worth $866,000.

3. Largest Hit on Penny Slots

A 66-year-old man from Nevada became the largest ever jackpot winner on penny slot machines when he hit a jackpot worth $18,799,414. He was playing the Penny Megabucks machine at the Pahrump Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, and played the machine on a whim. Normally a fan of the video poker games, he put in $100 and played his way down to $44 when the jackpot hit. He planned to use his winnings to treat his wife to a trip to Australia.

4. First Time Megabucks Machine Surpassed $20 million Jackpot

A $300 investment turned into a $27.5 million payout on November 15, 1998 for a 67-year-old retired flight attendant from Las Vegas. Putting $300 into the machine by accident instead of the intended wager of just $100, the winner became the first jackpot recipient of a Megabucks machine worth more than $20 million. The winner had previously won $680,000 from another machine, called the Wheel of Fortune. Both wins occurred at Palace Station in Las Vegas.

5. The Win That Spawned a Legend

When Vegas cocktail waitress Cynthia Jay-Brennan put her money into the Megabucks machine at the Desert Inn, the 37-year-old won $34.9 million. But just six weeks after her January 26, 2000 jackpot hit, she and her sister were in a car accident involving a drunk driver. Her sister died, and Cynthia was left paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, sparking the urban legend that all jackpot winners will have bad luck. This myth continues to circulate in Vegas and other popular gambling hotspots today, though no correlation between severe accidents and jackpot winners exists.

These winners know that there really is one criteria for hitting it big — you have to play.

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