Retiree Wins Record Slot Jackpot
A 65-year-old retiree visiting the Isle of Capri Casino in Biloxi hit a $12.4 million statewide MegaJackpot(R) while playing a popular Wheel of Fortune(R) $1 slot machine Thursday evening, and in doing so, the winner -- who wishes to remain anonymous -- set a world record for this particular slot system. "This is the first time I have ever played a Wheel of Fortune(R) slot machine," said the stunned winner after IGT technicians and Mississippi State Gaming officials verified the jackpot. "I visit the Isle of Capri several times every year, but usually blackjack is my game." From the Isle of Capri Casino's perspective, the world record MegaJackpot(R) gives a huge boost to the Gulf Coast and its gaming destinations, which are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 10 months ago. "It is wonderful to see that gaming has returned to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with two substantial payouts at the Isle in the past six months -- one for $8 million and now another for $12.4 million. The largest Wheel of Fortune winner in the world right now is an Isle of Capri player," Les McMackin, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., senior vice president of marketing, said. "The remarkable payouts along the Mississippi Gulf Coast by out-of-town visitors are a clear sign that tourism is returning."
The Georgia man was in town with family making their usual visit to the Isle of Capri to visit the Gulf Coast to stay and play at their favorite casino. After experiencing bad luck at the blackjack tables, the winner decided to take a break and try something new. The winner witnessed another patron hit a $400 bonus round jackpot on another Wheel of Fortune(R) machine and decided to spend some time on one as well.
After placing $100 into the Wheel of Fortune(R) machine and playing about $40, the Isle of Capri patron became Mississippi's latest MegaJackpot(R) winner.
"I thought I had won $12,000," the winner said, "not $12 million! Wow, it's really hard to believe!"
The winner said he plans to spend some of the prize money on his children and grandchildren, but he doesn't think it will change his life too much. "Retirement has been pretty good to me already," he said.
The win was the largest jackpot in the world on the Wheel of Fortune(R) dollar progressive and is the third largest jackpot in the state of Mississippi. This is the ninth MegaJackpots(R) grand prize awarded in Mississippi this year, bringing the state's total to more than $29 million.
The "Wheel of Fortune(R)" jackpot is paid when a player plays the maximum bet ($3 on the $1 game) and lines up all three winning symbols on the appropriate pay line. After the jackpot is verified, the Wheel of Fortune(R) meter on the $1 machine is reset at $800,000. Wheel of Fortune(R) is one of 18 Mississippi MegaJackpots(R) systems operated by IGT.