They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. But for one Florida woman, luck struck twice in 18 days while gambling at the famous Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida.
Last December, the woman checked in at the Seminole Casino to play her favorite progressive jackpot slot: Dragon Link by developer Aristocrat. By luck, she won $1,241,642—the largest amount of money she’s won at a casino.
Normally, most people retire from gambling after hitting such a huge jackpot. But she isn’t just anyone. As proof, she returned to the Seminole Casino on Jan 9 with the goal of trying her luck at the same slot she had played 18 days earlier.
Guess what? The lucky woman hit another huge jackpot–$1,041,153, to be specific. Interestingly, the Dragon Link slot has paid out more than $1M to three lucky winners in the last two months.
In 2021, the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa paid out $1.6 billion to 56,000 lucky players.
In the last two decades, hundreds of people have won millions of dollars from casinos in the US. Below are some of the biggest winnings on record.
1: $39.7M at the Excalibur Casino (2003)
In 2003, A 25-year-old engineer from California visited the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas to have some fun over the weekend. He chose to play the famous Megabucks jackpot game.
To his disbelief, he won the largest jackpot a casino had ever paid out in the US: $39.7 million. Interestingly, the man said he would continue gambling in Vegas with the hope of winning multiple times.
In case you’re wondering, the Megabucks jackpot has a one in 16.7 million odds. You can check some of them out online, thanks to no deposit bonuses. Or you can visit your favorite land-based casino to play the game for real cash.
#2–$35M won at the Desert Inn (2000)
Before the California engineer broke jackpot records in 2003, the biggest amount of money won in Las Vegas was $35M. A woman named Cynthia Brennan had hit the big pot while also playing the Megabucks slot machine.
Unfortunately, Cynthia hit the headlines a few years later for a tragic reason. A drunk driver crashed into a car she was driving, killing her sister Jay and leaving Cynthia paralyzed.
#3: $27.6M won at the Palace Station Casino (1998)
Every gambling expert says you shouldn’t exceed your budget. In 1998, a lucky woman disregarded this advice and spent three times her $100 budget. Luckily, this turned out to be an excellent investment.
Not only did the 67-year-old pensioner recover her $300 bankroll, but she also went on to win a massive jackpot worth $27.6M. Like the other two winners whose stories we’ve highlighted above, the woman at Palace Station won while playing the Megabucks slot game.
#4: $22.6M won at Bally’s (2002)
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? The winner of the $22.6M won at Bally’s Las Vegas in 2002 began her day by playing a round of slot machines. Precisely, the then 74-year-old woman chose the Megabucks jackpot game.
She spent $170 before she hit one of the biggest casino jackpots at the time. Surprisingly, the woman called casino officials thinking she’d won $22,000. Then they revealed how much she had won and she was astonished.
Like many jackpot winners, Johanna Heundl’s first purchase with the money was a new car. Next, she remodeled her home before taking a trip to Europe to visit her family.
#4: $21.3M won at Caesars Palace (1999)
The beauty of playing slot machines is that you don’t need a big budget. Despite that, you can also win a lot of money. An example is a 49-year-old man from Illinois who won a $21.3M casino jackpot at the Caesars Palace casino in 1999.
The man, who chose to remain anonymous, had only wagered $10 before hitting the Megabucks big jackpot. Interestingly, he had won a $5000 jackpot a few minutes earlier. All the same, $21.3M, was the second-largest jackpot the Megabucks game had paid out.
What did the man do with the windfall? Being a small business owner, he said he had business loans he needed to clear before doing anything else. He also opted to receive annual installments instead of a lump sum.
#5: $21.1M won at the Cannery Casino (2005)
If you thought the Florida woman who won over $1M at the Seminole Hotel & Casino on two separate occasions was lucky, meet Elmer Sherwin. In 1989, this war veteran stopped by the Mirage Hotel and Casino with his wife.
He borrowed his wife $20 to play slots for a while before going to bed. By luck, Elmer won a whopping $4.6M. Together with his wife, the couple spent the jackpot touring the country.
Years later, in 2005, Sherwin had aged. But his love for casino gambling hadn’t changed. So, the then 91-year-old visited the Cannery Casino to play a game he was familiar with—Megabucks.
Sherwin won more than $21.1M. He donated some of the money but promised to chase a third large win. He wasn’t lucky, though: he died before he could fulfill his wish in 2007.
#6: $17.3M won at the M Resort (2012)
If there’s one thing you should’ve learned by now, it’s that Megabucks is a must-play slot while in Vegas. It’s the best-paying casino game by far. In 2012, a woman visited the M Resort with a voucher to eat free food and play free casino games.
She selected Megabucks to maximize her profits. Voila! She won more money than most people can only dream of–$12.7M. Like many winners before her, the woman elected to remain anonymous.
#7: $14.3M won at the Rampart Casino (2013)
Many people who win large sums of money in casinos use it to change their families’ lives. But for an anonymous man who won $14.3M after spending just $20, the money meant a lot more.
He donated a large portion of it to charities to change the lives of the less fortunate. Importantly, he made this decision with no intention of going public about it.