Being the most popularized gambling machine in the world, slots are loved for much more than their over-the-top design, bright lights, and loud sounds. Over the last few decades, slots have become synonymous with huge wins – turning dollars and cents into a lifetime’s paycheck.
With each big win, news spreads fast, inspiring gamblers to take their shot at the next million-dollar jackpot. This enthusiasm is something that hasn’t changed over the years, despite social, cultural, and technological evolution.
In fact, the love of gambling, and especially slots, has only grown over time. With gambling becoming legal in more countries, and restrictions being reconsidered, past stories of big wins are only just the beginning.
Not only has the world of gambling grown among countries, but it has even made a name for itself in the digital world. Now that slot games have become available online, it’s only a matter of time before gambling’s online presence becomes just as renowned.
Although slots are well-known and widely-loved around the world, no place is quite like Las Vegas. The Vegas Strip is considered the United States’ casino capital, and rightly so. With at over a hundred casinos and hundreds of thousands of slot machines, it’s no wonder Las Vegas is the center of gambling fame.
Despite Las Vegas’s sheer power in numbers, not all big wins come from this single city. Some of today’s biggest wins take place around the world and even online.
A commonly heard saying is, “quantity doesn’t beat quality,” and this applies to slot games too. Although Las Vegas has some of the most slot machines in the world, they might not be the best.
Most of the time, winning at a slot machine takes more than just luck. The odds are not necessarily the same between different slot machines, and the legally required return to player (RTP) percentages can vary from state to state.
But the low odds of winning make each huge payout that much more exciting. And for the people who do win, it can be a life-changing experience.
Here are five of the biggest slot wins in United States History:
1. 25-year-old Los Angeles native becomes a millionaire in Las Vegas
One 25-year-old found himself returning to L.A. with $39 million from the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas. Although the actual identity of the winner never became public knowledge, the amount itself went down in history.
Not only did this man’s life changes overnight, but according to Gambling News Magazine, his win is one of the largest ever recorded in Vegas to this day.
A lot of people believe that the most incredible things can happen to us when we least expect it, and this was nonetheless true for this 25-year-old. He decided to hit the slots while waiting around for a basketball game and had no idea that the decision would make him rich beyond his dreams.
2. Both a win and a loss, but ultimately a great story
While this one’s not exactly a big win, in 2016 Katrina Bookman sure thought it was when a slot machine at the Resort World Casino in New York told her she won $42.9 million.
But how could such a big win turn into tragedy?
The win turned out to be a glitch, and the slot machine actually had a maximum payout of only $6,500. Although it’s barely anything compared to the $42.9 million, it’s not insignificant. According to Gamblers Daily Digest, she didn’t end up with that either. Instead, the casino offered her a measly steak dinner.
Unfortunately, stories like this aren’t as rare as one might think. Others like Veronica Castilla and Jerry and Kim Rape experienced similar situations. In light of the situation, Bookman hired a lawyer and is currently suing the casino. As of 2018, the case is still pending.
3. A $1.25 bet turns into nearly a million dollars
This Las Vegas local struck riches in September 2019 – that’s right, only about a month ago. The winner, Clint, didn’t expect his day to take a turn for the best when he stopped to play slots on the way to a movie theatre.
Clint bet $1.25 on a 25-cent slot machine. With less than the cost of a vending machine soda, he went from being a regular Vegas local to nearly a millionaire.
4. Not just once, but twice
If you asked anyone, even jackpot winners like the ones in this article, they would probably tell you that the chances of hitting a million-dollar win are somewhere near one in a gazillion. Most people won’t strike gambling riches even once in their lives. But Elmer Sherwin might just be the exception.
Not only did this 92-year-old man win the Megabucks jackpot, but against all odds, he won it twice. His first encounter with lady luck took place in 1989 when he won $4.6 million at the Mirage. Sixteen years later, in 2005, he won again at Megabucks slot in the Cannery Casino, this time making $21.1 million.
According to Weekly Slots News, Megabucks provides some of the best slots in Las Vegas. Their machines offer some of the highest winning amounts. But despite a large number of Megabucks slot machines and their popularity, it’s nonetheless a rarity for anyone to hit the jackpot.
5. One spin and he didn’t even have to leave his home
In 2018, Anibal Lopes signed up on an online gambling app and won on his very first spin. It only took him a single bet to not only to get his hands on a boat-load of money, but also to set a record. His win of $193,737 was the largest payout that the site had seen since it was released.
Although this sum may sound smaller than the other winners mentioned, Lopes’s win will go down in history. Not only did it happen on his very first try, but it was also a win secured from an online gambling platform – a new, but growing community.
For example, Lucian Marinescu at OnlineCasinoGems, noted that gambling has had a long, tumultuous history, and its ability to keep up with today’s technological growth seems to indicate that it won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“Not only do online slots provide an online equivalent to land-based slot machines, but they’ve developed beyond the abilities of typical slot machines. Experimentation was key for the number of features that have been added to online casinos that you won’t find in physical slot machines. With an innovative future in mind, it seems that gambling has taken on a whole new cultural personal, making sure it doesn’t fade into history.”
With these big wins in mind, it’s no wonder slot machines are so popular. And as illustrated by Anibal Lopes, a whole new sector of gambling is growing, providing more opportunity for new stories of big wins.