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VEGAS MYTHS RE-BUSTED: The Megabucks Curse


Posted on: June 23, 2023, 08:04h. 

Final up to date on: June 22, 2023, 10:20h.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A brand new “Vegas Myths Busted” publishes each Monday, with a bonus Flashback Friday version. Right this moment’s version initially ran on Feb. 10, 2023. 

If the supernatural is your jam, this text received’t upend your worldview. However even in case you consider that curses are a factor that’s potential, the proof for this one is flimsy to nonexistent.

Cynthia Jay Megabucks winner
Cynthia Jay celebrates her Megabucks slot win on the Desert Inn earlier than destiny interceded. (Picture: Las Vegas Solar)

In March 2000, a 37-year-old cocktail waitress named Cynthia Jay-Brennan received a Megabucks slot jackpot on the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, the place Wynn and Encore stand immediately. The overall was almost $35 million. She married her boyfriend, they usually made plans to journey the world.

However simply six weeks later, Clark Morse, a drunken driver with 16 prior arrests, slammed into the again of Jay-Brennan’s automobile whereas it was stopped at a crimson mild. The collision killed her sister, Lela Anne Jay, 45, and shattered Jay-Brennan’s backbone.

Morse, 58, obtained a 28-year jail sentence. Jay-Brennan stays completely paralyzed beneath her higher chest. Far an excessive amount of of her jackpot has been spent on medical bills.

This barely plausible “Twilight Zone” of a horror story is just about the extent of the verifiable proof supporting the parable of the Megabucks curse.

Mega Bull

Megabucks describes an interconnected system of tens of 1000’s of slot machines in tons of of Nevada casinos. At any time when somebody takes a Megabucks spin, a small portion of the wager is positioned right into a jackpot that anybody at any machine can win at any time.

The payoff begins at $10 million and will increase by fractions of cents each second till somebody will get fortunate sufficient to line up the three Megabucks symbols on a slot machine payline. The longer the interval between jackpots, the upper the quantity.

Megabucks was created in March 1986 by slot producer Worldwide Recreation Know-how (IGT) as a option to win again among the enterprise Nevada casinos have been shedding to state lotteries that promised mega-million jackpots, and to racetracks providing large pay-out parlay wagers. It was the world’s first wide-area linked-progressive slot machine system.

To win a Megabucks slot jackpot, gamers should make the utmost wager potential on the spin. Then, all three Megabucks symbols should come up. (Picture:

In March 2003, a 25-year-old software program engineer from LA, visiting Las Vegas for the NCAA basketball match, turned a $100 Megabucks slot spin into $39.7M on the Excalibur. It’s nonetheless the world document.

The rationale we don’t know his title is as a result of he was sensible. You possibly can request to stay nameless. Though this received’t disguise you from the IRS, it helps stop distant kin and former associates from crawling out of the woodwork to beg you to repay their scholar loans and finance their wonderful new app concepts.

There’s a draw back to selecting anonymity, nevertheless: it permits pretend information, the web’s wheelhouse, to proliferate about you and your destiny.

Because the document mega-winner’s title isn’t recognized, the occasions of his life can’t be tracked. So web posters fill within the blanks with their very own twists on Jay-Brennan’s story. The software program engineer died shortly after profitable by gang violence, in an airplane crash, or by overdosing on medication on the Palms. (Myths prefer to get particular for added believability.)

These false narratives took root so rapidly and pervasively that IGT even broke its personal coverage, issuing an announcement in regards to the winner: he was nonetheless alive and properly. (However, in fact, they would say that, proper?  They need you to maintain taking part in!)

Delusion Interpreted

The Megabucks curse fable really serves a psychological objective.

For some, it could function a comfort prize – a means of deriving psychological consolation from the roughly 49,999,999 out of each 50,000,000 spins that fail to supply the highest award,” Anthony Lucas, a professor of on line casino administration at UNLV and former gaming trade operations analyst, informed On line

Virtually the identical actual fable exists about state lottery winners.

“The legends we inform are our means of mentally chewing over ideas that disquiet us, and only a few really feel in any respect comfy with the conclusion of their feeling envious,” in response to Snopes, which, it ought to go with out saying, ascribes its “false” ranking to the Megabucks curse.

Higher Issues to Fear About

Even when the Megabucks curse have been actual — and, by this level, you get that it isn’t, proper? — getting struck by lightning is one thing it is best to fear about extra. In accordance with the Nationwide Climate Service, the percentages of that taking place to you in any given 12 months are 1 in 1.2 million. The percentages of your experiencing a Megabucks win on any given spin are about 1 in 50 million. That’s 41 occasions much less possible.

“To make use of your analogy, it’s like getting struck by lightning whereas sitting in your lounge sofa,” Lucas stated.

In all, 22 individuals have received Megabucks jackpots exceeding $10M prior to now 16 years. As a result of the bulk selected to stay nameless, there isn’t a proving conclusively that extremely unhealthy issues haven’t occurred to most of them. However the level is moot. Comply with any group of twenty-two random non-Megabucks winners round for sufficient time and extremely unhealthy issues will occur to lots of them.

Because the late Doorways singer Jim Morrison sang, “Nobody right here will get out alive.”

And, within the case of 1 Megabucks winner who didn’t select to stay nameless, an extremely good factor occurred to him.

Elmer Sherwin, a 76-year-old retired World Battle II veteran, hit for $4.6M on the opening day of the Mirage in 1989. (This was earlier than the minimal payout was $10M.)  Then, in 2005, having survived to age 92 regardless of “the curse,” he hit a second Megabucks jackpot, for $21.1 million, on the Cannery.

“That’s like getting struck by lightning whereas sitting in your lounge sofa with no cloud within the sky,Lucas stated.

Search for “Vegas Myths Busted” each Monday on On line Click on right here to learn beforehand busted Vegas myths. Acquired a suggestion for a Vegas fable that wants busting? E mail corey@on line


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