Slot machines, or slots for short, offer straightforward, low-stakes gambling opportunities and are popular in casinos, land-based and online, throughout the world. The advent of so-called ‘progressive jackpot’ slots – in which a percentage of the money staked on each spin of the reels contributes to a jackpot kitty, which keeps growing until it is won – has meant that slot players enjoy the prospect of winning astronomical sums of money for a relatively small stake.
Indeed, the biggest slot payout ever came courtesy of an International Game Technology (IGT) Megabucks slot in Excalibur, Las Vegas, in 2003. One of hundreds of similar, state-owned machines in Nevada, all linked together to form the first wide area progressive jackpot network in the world, the Megabucks slot paid out a staggering $39.7 million (£31.6 million) to an anonymous 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles, who hit the jackpot after playing just three $1 coins.
In the world of online slots, the distinction of the biggest payout ever – in fact, another progressive jackpot, worth £13.2 million – belongs to 26-year-old British soldier Jon Heywood. In 2015, Heywood staked just £0.25 on a single spin of the wheel on the Mega Moolah slots game and became an overnight multi-millionaire. His life-changing win was subsequently certified by Guinness World Records.