Slots are the most popular casino games of all time. Their combination of simplicity, entertainment value, and looming massive prizes are what drives hordes of gamblers to these machines at land-based venues and online casinos. They are a favorite of casuals who want to taste a bit of gambling magic without worrying about complex rules or facing peer pressure similar to that present at table games.
The juggernaut of this gaming genre is Megabucks, a simple three-reel game developed in 1986 by the world’s largest slot machine manufacture International Game Technologies (IGT). It has been a mainstay at Vegas casinos for over three decades, not losing even an ounce of its popularity during its existence. Many refer to it as this industry’s premier millionaire-maker, the game that can change people’s lives forever with a push of a button. Currently, it is available at more than 130 Sin City establishments. Know that Megabucks can also get played on online slot casinos.
It should get noted that Megabucks is a brand name for a series of IGT slots. As mentioned, the first one came out in 1986. However, due to its success, IGT has released multiple variations and updated versions of this title. The list of its more established variants features titles like Double Diamond, Red Hot Re-Spin, Wolf Run, and Platinum Pays.
Megabucks is a progressive slot. For those not familiar with casino terminology, that means that it collects all the bets made on its reels to grow a prize pool, which then gets paid off to the lucky winner that lands the jackpot symbol combination. Once that happens, the prize pool resets to its seed value and begins growing again. A seed value is a win amount the jackpot prize cannot fall below. Megabucks has a seed of $10 million. So, its lowest jackpot is $10 million. IGT never pays out the entire jackpot amount in one installment. It does so over twenty-five annual ones.
Like most progressive reel-spinners, this also is a high variance game with a low payback percentage of only 88.6%. It will virtually never pay out small rewards. It is an all-or-nothing game that accepts $1 bets but requires a $3 wager for those that want to become eligible for its mega prize.
Megabucks Record Wins
The world slot record win is a reward of $39.7 million landed in March 2013 at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino on the Vegas Strip on a Megabucks game. Its lucky spinner was a then 25-year-old software engineer who wanted to remain anonymous. According to his account, he spent around $100 spinning Megabucks’ reels before his chosen machine decided to spit out the most massive slot win in Vegas history.
The second-most sizeable reward that Megabucks has ever paid out got hit three years before the current record got placed. That event occurred in January 2000 at the Desert Inn in Vegas. There, Sacramento-born cocktail waitress Cynthia Jay Brennan managed to strike a symbol combo worth $34.9 million while celebrating her boyfriend’s mother’s birthday.
Other notable Megabucks jackpots include a $27.5 million win landed at the Palace Station Casino in 1998 and a $23 million one at Bally’s Casino in 2002. Estimates say that Megabucks has made over 100 millionaires in its existence, giving away several hundreds of millions in prizes. Its seed minimum of $10 million got set in 2005, and around two people per year in Nevada manage to claim its jackpot.
Online Alternatives to Megabucks
In the digital sphere, the main competition to IGT’s jackpot monster comes in the form of Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot. It is a jungle-themed spinner whose record win stands at $23.6 million, won in April 2021.
NetEnt’s Mega Fortune and Hall of Gods are two other progressive options worth exploring. The first’s most substantial payout is a win of $21 million, while the latter’s record is a reward of $9.3 million. The list of progressive online slots that jackpot-hungry spinners should consider concludes with Jackpot Giant, Arabian Nights, and Aztec Millions.
There is no doubt that the Megabucks slot will dominate physical and online gaming floors for years to come. It is one of the rare casino-style games that can compete with state lotteries prize-wise. It follows the same low-risk and high-reward gambling model. Yes, the chances of coming close to landing the desired symbol combination are astronomical. That is why every player that chooses to spin progressive reels should understand that the best course of action is to play with low expectations. These sorts of slots do not pay out small wins that can keep you in the race for a long time. They are money-grabbing monsters that prey upon players’ hopes of landing a several million to one shot.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.