I started reading stories about this, and just kept going . . . here's my recap . . .
Legend of the “Lion’s Share” Slot Machine now has its final chapter.
This famous slot machine was one of fifty similar slot machines put into service at the MGM in 1993.
Each machine had its own individual progressive jackpot (which grows with each losing spin).
As the years past, the machines became outdated – and eventually were retired one-by-one once each machine’s individual jackpot was hit. Nevada Law requires that every progressive jackpot eventually be paid out.
Then, finally, there was only one machine left. But the last jackpot refused to hit. The last of its kind holding on. The jackpot winning spin would be its last spin!
The jackpot odds have been estimated at 1 in 20 million.
A grass roots buzz about the last “Lion’s Share” machine grew into a cult - fueling websites, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages dedicated to tracking its changing physical location and jackpot amount.
People would literally make pilgrimages to play this machine.
Day and night people waited in line to take their shot (there have been reports of some waiting upwards of 8 hours to play)
The MGM has said the “Lion’s Share” was played FIVE TIMES MORE than the average slot machine.
The “Lion’s Share” has an old-school PULL handle and coin-only payouts (unlike modern machines which provide a ticket to cash in winnings at the cage).
As the years continued to pass, significant efforts were required to keep the machine in playable condition – including cannibalizing old machines and parts fabricated from scratch.
This past February, The Wall Street Journal did a feature on the machine, including a profile video: http://on.wsj.com/1znMaqa
Finally, on Friday night, it happened:
Walter and Linda Misco were on a Vegas vacation. The retired grandparents from New Hampshire had heard about the “Lion’s Share” – so they sought it out.
Within a few minutes of playing, the jackpot finally hit after over 20 years!
The final payout: $2,400,301.70 (picture: https://twitter.com/RJinVegas/status/503206650111868928)
That amount will be paid in one lump sum. The winners say they will use the money to pay their grandchildren’s way through college.
And the jackpot spin will be the final spin for the “Lion’s Share.” Fittingly, the MGM is giving the machine to the winners to take home.