Who wants to win a million $$$?

May 14, 2002 2:39 AM

In Las Vegas, slot machines create more millionaires than all the game shows combined.

International Game Technology (IGT) alone, which operate progressive slot machines such as Megabucks, Quartermania, Wheel of Fortune, Totem Pole, Elvis and Jeopardy, has produced nearly 400 millionaires (take that, Regis!), and has awarded more than $1.6 billion in major jackpots since the first Megabucks was introduced in 1986.

Most of the million dollar jackpot machines in casinos are progressives, whose jackpots climb until they are won. They are also linked, meaning they are connected in a statewide network.

The jackpots are usually awarded in installments over 20 years, but some jackpots can be received in a lump sum, although in a lesser amount.

Generally, the casinos don’t own the progressive, linked machines. Rather, the manufacturer (IGT in most cases) installs and maintains them with the casino receiving a percentage of the money collected.

Because a portion of the money played into a machine is added to the progressive jackpot, progressive slots tend to have a lower overall payback percentage, so don’t expect as many "hits" as you would on a non-progressive machine.

In addition to the linked progressives, there are a few slot machines in town that offer million dollar jackpots, paid instantly and in a lump sum! These machines are often created to a casino’s specifications and include the Million Dollar Baby slots at Caesars Palace.

MEGABUCKS ”” Over $20M.

When playing these mega-jackpot slot machines, there are a few pointers to keep in mind. First and foremost, you must remember to play the maximum coins to win the jackpot. The last time Megabucks was hit, a slot player lined up three Mega­­bucks winning symbols, but had only two coins inserted. That same day, a woman hit the top prize of about $8 million. The man said he didn’t have three coins in because he was "distracted" by friends. Although he won $10,000, his friends "cost" him $7.99 million!

If you can’t afford to play maximum coins, play a machine with a smaller denomination. For instance, if playing three $1 coins is too costly, move down to a Quartermania, Quarters Deluxe, Elvis, Wheel of Fortune, or another slot that takes quarters. If you can only afford to play one quarter at a time, move down to a nickel machine such as Nevada Nickels, Nickels Deluxe or Addams Family. Regardless of which machine you land on, always try to play the maximum coins