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MegaBucks sets record!

Mar 25, 2003 4:21 AM

The largest slot machine jackpot in gaming history ”” $39,713,982.25 ”” was won last Friday afternoon on a Megabucks machine at the Excalibur Hotel-Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

The winner, who requested his name be withheld, is a 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles. He had been visiting family members in Las Vegas and keeping track of college basketball’s "March Madness" with some friends.

The winner’s uncle had told him about the escalating Megabucks progressive jackpot and suggested that he play it. He said he’d played about $100 on the machine when he turned his head away for an instant. When he looked at the machine again, the winning symbols had lined up.

The unmarried winner’s birth date contains three sevens and an 11, so this big win may have been in the cards for him.

"I’m still stunned; it doesn’t seem real yet," the winner said. "But both of my parents are still working, so some of this money will be used to fund their retirement."

Officials from IGT, which created the MegaBucks jackpot in Nevada, said the payoff is one for the record books.

"This MegaJackpot is nearly $5 million more than the previous world record slot jackpot amount of $34.9 million," said John Sears, vice president of MegaJackpots for IGT. "This one goes into The Guinness Book of Records."

The previous record, a $34.9 million jackpot, was hit more than three years ago at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas on Jan. 26, 2000.

Megabucks produced its last major jackpot ”” a $22.6 million payout at Bally’s in Las Vegas ”” on May 27, 2002.

In its 17-year history, Nevada Megabucks has produced 58 major winners, whose combined winnings total more than $425 million.

Megabucks is a 3-coin dollar progressive slot machine that was launched in Nevada casinos in March 1986. The Nevada progressive system connects 691 slot machines in 160 Nevada casinos to a top jackpot that builds from a base amount of $7 million. The top jackpot is paid in annual installments, upon verification of the win.