Slot makers: progressives
ready to hit

May 4, 2004 7:45 AM

Nevada’s largest slot makers, IGT and Bally Gaming, report that two of their most popular progressive jackpots are either due or overdue to hit.

IGT’s Wheel of Fortune dollar slots in Nevada have already eclipsed the $9 million mark, and the meter is spinning at a breakneck rate.

"Play always accelerates when a jackpot approaches record levels," said Ed Rogich, IGT’s vice president for marketing, who added that the world record for Wheel of Fortune dollars is $10.7 million won in October 2003.

The system last hit in January, paying a player at The Mirage $3.4 million.

Wheel of Fortune dollars is a two-coin, dollar game with a jackpot that starts at $1 million. To win the top award, a player must wager the maximum $2 bet. Wheel of Fortune is an annuity game that is paid in 20 installments.

Bally Gaming, whose Cash For Life progressive slot system pays the winner $1,000 a week for life, is "statistically overdue" to hit in Nevada, according to company officials.

Featuring a progressive meter that starts at $1 million, Nevada players are vying for the super progressive amount of $1,456,587.20 or the $1,000 a week for life annuity.

Nevada players might be encouraged by the success of slot players in Mississippi and Louisiana, who hit two Cash for Life jackpots within a recent 10-day span.

Cash for Life is available at selected casinos in California, Michigan, New Mexico, Connecticut, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, Mississippi and Atlantic City.

This initial deployment of slots on the new Cash For Life link includes a variety of game titles and denominations — from nickels to $5.

Bally Gaming and Systems announced last week that the third Cash For Life national progressive slot jackpot hit on at the Grand Casino Coushatta in Kinder, Mississippi.

The jackpot is the second Cash For Life progressive payout to hit in the Mississippi Gulf Coast and south Louisiana area during a 10-day period, and the third hit of a Cash For Life jackpot nationwide in the last three months.

Barbara A. Morris, a 62-year-old retiree from Houston, won her life-changing jackpot on a $1 Cash For Life "Two Times" slot machine at the Grand Casino Coushatta in Southern Louisiana.

Moving up the Gulf Coast, Will Carl Riggins of Albany, Ga., won his Cash For Life super progressive jackpot at the Imperial Palace in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The very first Cash for Life jackpot was won in February, when Melvin Henry Hawkins of Sacramento, Calif., hit it big at Thunder Valley Casino in northern California.