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Vintage slot machine finally pays off $2.4M at MGM

A New Hampshire couple, Walter and Linda Misco, won $2.4 million Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, when the "Lions Share" machine finally paid off after two decades at MGM Grand Las Vegas. (Ron English, News 3)
A New Hampshire couple, Walter and Linda Misco, won $2.4 million Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, when the "Lions Share" machine finally paid off after two decades at MGM Grand Las Vegas. (Ron English, News 3)
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Updated: 8/23 5:11 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- The most popular slot machine "Lions Share" at MGM Grand Las Vegas has finally paid off.

Walter and Linda Misco of Chester, N.H., were playing the one-armed bandit about 11 p.m. Friday when three long-awaited green emblems lined up horizontally on the jackpot center pay line.

Their win: $2.4 million.

The lucky couple had been playing about five minutes and putting $3 in for each pull when they jackpot hit.

“MGM Grand is delighted to award this historic jackpot to the lucky winner of the "Lion’s Share," and we couldn’t be happier for the winners and their family and friends,” said Scott Sibella, president and chief operating officer of MGM Grand. “This monumental event is another great example of why MGM Grand is the Entertainment Authority, and our goal of providing every guest with the ultimate Las Vegas experience.”

The “Lion’s Share” slot machine, the oldest reel machine on the MGM Grand casino floor, gained its legendary status for stubbornly refusing to yield its top jackpot since it became the sole remaining “Lion’s Share”-themed game on the casino floor about 15 years ago. Through the years, it rose to become the single most popular slot machine at MGM Grand on a floor of about 1,900 slots.

“Lion’s Share” gathered a fan following on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet long before the jackpot hit. Internet bloggers posted and regularly updated maps of the MGM Grand casino floor indicating where the slot machine was located as it was moved around the floor. It is one of the few known stand-alone slot machines to merit such prominent cyber attention.

After Wall Street Journal published an article by writer Ron Copeland in February 2014 about the long-dormant machine, lines of fortune-seekers at the machine stretched ever longer. Fans waited single-file for their turn at the machine as they cheered on fellow enthusiasts.

In subsequent months, national and international news media agencies flocked to MGM Grand in hopes that the “Big One” would hit while the cameras were rolling.

“Lion’s Share” is the only game left from an entire network of $1 progressive slots that were installed at MGM Grand in the early 1990s. The machine pre-dates modern ticket-in-ticket-out systems.

The collection of themed machines was custom-made and branded for MGM Grand. There were 50 machines in all. Over the years, the resort removed all but one. Floor leaders would have removed that one, too, but no one hit its progressive jackpot, which through the years accumulated $2.4 million. Under gaming regulations and to ensure the integrity of the games, MGM Grand could have shifted the “Lion’s Share” jackpot to different machines of equal or lesser denomination. The resort was not allowed to keep the accumulated jackpot.

MGM Grand is reviewing regulatory requirements in the winner’s state of residence to determine whether the winners are eligible to take the machine home with them.

-- MGM news release



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