Lonely one-armed bandit retired after $2.4 million jackpot

Lonely one-armed bandit retired after $2.4 million jackpot

You don’t need to think for very long to guess where the world’s highest concentration of slot machines is. The answer, as you’ve probably already guessed, is Las Vegas, Sin City, and the epicenter for jackpots, just because of the huge number of slot machines there.

For online casinos, there are independent companies and organizations that check the random number generators and payout rates (or RTPs) of the games, to make sure everything is above board.

In Vegas, they have Nevada Gaming Control Board, who monitor the situation and ensure that everything is as it should be.

The development of gaming is evolving towards video slots, both online and in Vegas. People love animated graphics that improve the overall gaming experience.

Old-school fruit machines that are only basic spinning wheels with symbols on them are facing an uncertain future. And their predecessor is already as good as extinct.

I’m talking about the one-armed bandit. Maybe you forgot about that? In the past, there was a machine that had a mechanical lever on the side that you pulled, instead of pushing buttons like you do today.

It’s been years since I saw an actual one-armed bandit in Vegas. But apparently there are a few lone bandits lying around in the corners of Sin City.

One of them has now been removed, having finally paid out its jackpot after many years of pulling the lever. I’m not sure how old the machine was, but judging by the design we are talking late 70s or early 80s.

The lever on the right side definitely makes me nostalgic, even though when it comes to slot machines, older doesn’t mean better.

The one-armed bandit in question is called Lion´s Share, and it was installed in the biggest casino in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand. At some point in the early 90s, 49 of these machines were removed from the casino, but they had to leave the last one, number 50, there, as the Nevada Gaming Control Board demanded that the machine be left in place until the accumulated jackpot for all the machines was won.

Since then, the lonely Lion’s Share slot was moved around in the vast halls of MGM, and led a quiet existence. That is, until 6 February this year, when the Wall Street Journal did a piece about the lonely one-armed bandit with the huge jackpot.

The Lion’s Share slot even got its own Facebook page, and over the last 6 months, there has been a line around the clock to play the machine, which allowed games of 1, 2 or 3 dollars per pull of the lever.

According to the manager of a neighboring casino, who prefers to remain anonymous, he was amazed that the machine hadn’t collapsed years ago.

The lone bandit has handed out many smaller amounts over the years, but the big jackpot has been out of reach for everyone so far. Until last month, that is.

If I read the Wall Street Journal more often, I would definitely have made a trip to Las Vegas to try my luck by playing a few hundred dollars on Lion’s Share.

But now it’s too late. Last month, Walter and Linda Misco won 2.4 million dollars. And I can only congratulate the couple on their huge win, and hope they are happy that there is no better place to celebrate such a win than in Las Vegas.

And now, the lonely one-armed bandit will be removed from the casino floor and retired.

MGM Grand’s Chief Operating Officer, Scott Sibella, promises to do what he can to make sure the Miscos get to bring the machine home.

“It would fit perfectly in our living room,” say the Miscos.

Not to mention that 2.4 million dollars will fit perfectly in their bank account.


Written by Ken Lennaárd.