Lightning strikes twice as Florida woman wins the same $1m jackpot for the second time in three weeks

Everyone knows the golden rules of casino playing. Play for fun, only bet what you can afford to lose and remember the house always wins in the end. Still, we all dream of hitting the big one when playing a slot game, even if we know that the chances of walking out with a life-changing sum are incredibly remote.

We can only speculate as to whether these thoughts were going through the mind of a lady called Gloria when she fed her $50 stake into the Dragon Link slot game at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida on 22 December. But the one in 60 million event happened, she hit the jackpot and she pocketed a cool $1.2 million.

That would be a great feel-good festive story if it ended there. But Gloria had other ideas. On 9 January, she was back at the same casino. She placed the same bet on the same machine and it paid out again to the tune of more than $1 million. The odds of it happening? One in 3.6 quadrillion, or if you prefer, 1 in 3,600,000,000,000,000.

Progressive jackpots

Dragon Link is a type of casino game known as a jackpot slot. Now the name can seem a little misleading, as every slot game has a jackpot, in as much as it has a top prize. This can often run into the thousands. However, jackpot slots are a special category that incorporate a progressive jackpot. As well as the usual prizes in the game itself, every spin of the reels contributes to a separate jackpot that is linked to several machines.

In a physical casino, the progressive jackpot is usually shown on a wall display, and any one of the games could trigger it and win what’s in the pot. The longer it goes unclaimed, the bigger it gets, and some have climbed into the tens of millions before paying out. In Las Vegas, news of a progressive prize pot that has reached unusual heights tends to spread rapidly around the strip!

A history of big payouts

Gloria’s experience of two jackpots on the same machine is unprecedented in the history of casinos. However, the $2.25 million she won is pocket change compared to some progressive jackpot wins.

In fact, the very casino in which Gloria had her wins paid out more than $1.6bn in jackpots over 56,000 winners during the course of 2021. That equates to an average jackpot payout of around $28,500. It’s a little like betting on the Lotto, in that you know how heavily the odds are stacked against you, but when you see the winners, it seems worth a try.

The biggest ever jackpot win was awarded in Las Vegas. Back in 2003, a software engineer from LA, who wisely chose to stay anonymous, staked $3 in a Megabucks slot at the Excalibur. It triggered a progressive jackpot of more than $38 million, a sum that has still to be surpassed almost 20 years later.

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