Most casino patrons have a dream: That one card, that one lucky number, that one slot pull … and their fortunes will be made.
A current example can be found on the progressive Megabucks slot machine at Native American casinos, whose jackpot surpassed $5 million earlier this week. There are three machines at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
The Megabucks game is an amped-up version of slot machines from two decades ago, with symbols of 7’s, bars, and diamonds frequenting the screen.
To hit the jackpot requires a “max bet” of three paylines, meaning that all three rows of the $1 machine are played. So whoever collects the big bucks will have bet $3.
Where will the winner come from? Good question. This version of Megabucks is a “linked progressive” based at Native American casinos. Several native American casinos each have Megabucks machines running, and a few pennies from each pull go into the big jackpot.
Mostly, of course, the machines make smaller but more frequent payouts during a patron’s session. For example, I hit for $15 during a five-minute period I spent doing “direct research” at the Seminole Hard Rock. (As an aside: yes, had I hit the jackpot, this column would have read, in its entirety, “I QUIT! I QUIT!”)
The IGT Megabucks does a nice job of reminding players about chasing the dream. “One Pull Can Change Your Life” reads the ticker under the large Megabucks sign. The rest is up to the casino; at the one I was at, a bank of three machines was located near the center bar.
Computer technology helped created progressive jackpots, and then enabled “wide-area progressives,” linking casinos across the country in a network. IGT says it started WAPs in 1986, and that when someone wins its largest WAP, it resets with a base (starting jackpot) of $10 million. Yes, that system runs in Nevada.
The largest slot win in history was back in 2003 on a Megabucks machine, when a visitor from Los Angeles won $39.7 million at the Excalibur. Megabucks machines have given out over $20 million on several occasions now, and the average jackpot amount is said to be a little more than $15 million, according to slot review site VegasSlotsOnline.
Michael Shackleford, curator of the web site WizardofOdds.com, quotes sources saying that the odds of hitting the three Megabucks logos – and triggering the jackpot — are 1 in 49,836,032. That’s a very big number, but, hey, so are the odds for Powerball.
Shackleford notes that this number is exactly 368 cubed, suggesting that players have a 1/368 chance of hitting the Megabucks logo symbol on any given reel every time they spin.
As is the case with big-money wins in lotteries, that $5 million jackpot at Native American casinos is not a lump-sum payment; it’s an annuity, paid out over 25 years. But to me that would still be life-changing money. A guy can dream, can’t he?
Follow the jackpots at IGTjackpots.com.
When you win, Tweet me: @NickSortal