Biggest Progressive Jackpot Payouts Of All Time

16 February 2016 4 minutes to read
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In cities like Las Vegas progressive slots machines are very popular since they offer exceptionally large payouts.

By linking machines across a casino, city or state, progressive jackpots can be enormous. In this article I’m going to tell you about the biggest progressive payouts of all time and some myths normally associated with them.

You must bet the maximum number of credits to win a progressive jackpot. You’ll make a grave mistake if you wager less than the maximum on these machines.


Massive Progressive Jackpot Wins At Land-Casinos

  • In 2003, a 25 year-old software engineer from Los Angeles won the $39 million jackpot at the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas. He wagered a $100 when he hit the jackpot, he preferred to remain anonymous. What makes this win even more spectacular is that the odds stacked against him were 1 in 16 million.



  • Who says cocktail waitresses can’t win big? Cynthia-Jay Brennan a 37 year old waitress from Las Vegas won an astounding $34.9 million. It’s the second largest progressive jackpot win of all time. The jackpot was won on the Megabucks machine at the Desert Inn Casino. However, this might comes as a fairy tale to some but it’s not. A couple of weeks after Cynthia’s spectacular win she was involved in a car accident that left her paralyzed and her sister killed.


  • In 1998 a a 67-year-old retired flight attendant and native from Las Vegas won a whopping $27.5 million. She wagered a mere $300 on the Megabucks slots machine.


  • How about a couple of spins before breakfast, just to work up a good ‘ol appetite? In March 2002 a 74 year old resident from California, Johanna Huendl decided to play a couple of spins on the Megabucks progressive slots before she headed off to breakfast. Armed with $170, Johanna decided to go all in, after all it is a progressive jackpot. Turns out this was the best decision she ever made and she landed a whopping $22.6 million. Not a bad day at the office, eh?


  • Seems like all the action happens in Las Vegas. This time round at the world-renowned Caesar’s Palace. A 49 year old businessman from Illinois decided the time has come to win it big. And boy oh boy was he right. A mere deposit of $10 landed him a win of $21.3 million.


  • One for the money two for the show. In 2005 an old timer by the name of Elmir Sherwin won $21 million at the Canary Casino in North Las Vegas. In 1985, this vibrant 92 also won the $4.5 million at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

The above mentioned payouts were at land-based casinos. Although progressive jackpots at brick-and-mortar casinos still eclipse that of online casinos, I might add they’re catching up fast. Let’s have a look at the biggest progressive jackpot wins at cyber casinos.


Biggest Progressive Wins At Online Casinos

  • The cyber gambling world’s largest progressive jackpot network (40 games) is powered by Microgaming. Since the inception of its progressive jackpot network, Microgaming paid out £375 million.


  • Net Entertainment is hailed by many as the best gaming software provider in the business. The second largest progressive win was on the NetEnt progressive jackpot network. A Norwegian player won €11.7 million on September 2011 playing Mega Fortune. He said he couldn’t sleep and decided to play a few games at Betsson Casino. At the time it was the largest progressive win at an online casino and awarded a Guinness World Record.


  • Hold on to your seat. One incredibly lucky player from Finland won €17,861,800 when he played the Mega Fortune progressive jackpot. You want to know how much he wagered to win this cash? Only 25 cents! The operator he won this amazing jackpot at was Paf Casino. The player who did not want to disclose his name said he ”cried and laughed at the same time.” The jackpot was won on 20 January 2013. Incidentally this is the largest jackpot ever paid out by an internet gambling site. Mega Fortune is powered by NetEnt, it holds the world record for two of the largest jackpots ever won online.


Progressive Jackpot Myths

  • Should I play a machine that just paid out? Some of the best progressive jackpots you can play are the ones players left after a big win. Machines that just paid out might be looser than a machine that has not been paying.


  • I’ve come so close to winning the jackpot must I continue playing? The payout of a slots machine is determined by a random number generator. The moment you press the spin button the RNG selects a number that determines the outcome and the symbols on the reels. The developers program these machines so that they show results close to the jackpot. These are called ”near misses”, about 30% of the results are near misses. The developers do this on purpose to encourage players to play longer.


  • Casinos tamper with their slots so that no one wins? This is simply not true. Under no circumstances do casinos alter the payout percentages on video slots machines. The manufacturer puts in an EPROM chip that determines the payout percentage. These chips cannot be tampered with because they are sealed.



Only play progressive machines if you have a hefty bankroll or if you’ve won a substantial amount of money. As a rule of thumb, seasoned players don’t like playing these machines with their own money. If you play a progressive game only play for a short time unless you win something. You can lose your money very quickly when you play these games.

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