Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2016

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Megabucks winner has no big wish list

The woman who won the largest slot jackpot in history wants to keep her anonymity so she can still "go to the supermarket without being recognized."

The 67-year-old longtime Las Vegas resident hit the Megabucks jackpot for more than $27.5 million Sunday night at the Palace Station while waiting for a table in one of the resort's restaurants. She talked to reporters Tuesday from behind a curtain.

Her 68-year-old husband joined her and told reporters their lives were "great" before she hit Megabucks and that if their lives were to change drastically, he would sooner "turn back the clock" and avoid the big payday.

Officially, Sunday's record jackpot was $27,582,539.48. The winner said that after she deposits the first $1.1 million installment check in the bank, she will "take care of everybody" -- meaning that the casino's slot employees will be tipped.

She will receive in 24 annual installments from the dollar reel machine that is part of a statewide network maintained by International Game Technologies.

She is a retired airline flight attendant and he is a retired corporate executive. They have been married 42 years.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," with the money, the woman said. "I have no big wish list -- maybe some travel that we had not already planned. I have not notified the jewelers or the car people.

"It will brighten my life. But my life was good before. I was just in the right place at the right time."

Such was the case recently when, on the day her husband retired, she hit a $680,000 jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine, also at the Palace Station.

On Sunday she said she felt more numb than excited after hitting Megabucks.

She said she had intended to risk just $100 in the machine that she had played on previous occasions. However, she wound up shelling out a second hundred and was $40 into the third c-note when she hit the jackpot.

IGT advertises that "one pull can change your life," and past Megabucks winners have claimed to be just a few dollars in when they hit the jackpot.

The woman's admission that she had gone in $300 when she had only intended to wager $100 demonstrates the risk that exists in playing Megabucks.

"I'd describe myself as a recreational player," she said. "I'm not a compulsive gambler."

She said she plays all types of machines ranging from quarter to dollar slots. She said she and her husband have been coming to Palace Station for 23 years to dine in the resort's restaurants.

She described her life prior to the jackpot as "quiet, organized and simple -- I don't want drastic change. I want to go to the supermarket without being recognized."

Her husband said that after she hit Megabucks, people walked up to his wife, looked at the three megabucks symbols that were lined up on the pay line and then touched her, apparently hoping some of her good luck would rub off.

The prior record Megabucks jackpot was $12.5 million, hit by Las Vegan Suzanne Henley at the New York-New York hotel-casino on April 4. The prior record slot jackpot was $14 million hit on a Super Megabucks machine by Reynald Herren of Daly City, Calif., on Sept. 19 at Harrah's Reno.

The last time a Megabucks jackpot was hit was July 13 in Lake Tahoe, for $8.3 million.

Megabucks has been hit 47 times and has paid out a total of about $246 million in major jackpots.

For every dollar played, the progressive jackpot increases by several pennies. Once hit, the jackpot is reset to $5 million and begins to build again.

There are 133 Nevada casinos with Megabucks machines and 21 casinos with Super Megabucks, which resets to $10 million after it is hit.

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