Megabucks are slots with progressive jackpots, combined into a single network that covers casinos in several American states. The owner and operator of this network is International Game Technology, better known by its abbreviated name IGT.
Megabucks slot is considered as an alternative to state lotteries and enjoys incredible popularity among Americans. Actually, there is an opinion that IGT specifically released it to create a lottery competition. Since the beginning of the eighties in the twentieth century, when the slot was launched for the first time, this slot made dozens of players millionaires.
Thanks to the skillfully organized advertising company, every Megabucks jackpot, when it reaches a considerable size, causes a real excitement among the gambling public. And every hit of the progressive jackpot is widely covered in the media, attracting even more casino visitors to the slot. No other slot in the world is overgrown with so many incredible myths, rumors, and legends. But with all this, there are a lot of gambling experts and just experienced players who consider Megabucks a hideous slot that absolutely does not deserve so much attention. So, who is right: fans or opponents of this slot?
Where to Play the Megabucks Slot
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How to Play Megabucks
The classic version of the Megabucks slot from IGT is a 3-reel slot machine with the only one payline. In order to qualify for a progressive jackpot, the player must definitely bet three dollars. There are a lot of stories (both true and fictitious) about casino customers, who had the jackpot combination, but they did not receive any jackpot because of a bet less than three dollars.
The progressive jackpot is not completely nullified when a lucky winner gets it but starts to grow from a certain amount. In recent years, this fixed amount is $10,000,000. There are persistent rumors that soon this initial sum of the jackpot should increase by one million.
Megabucks Slot Odds
Strange as it may seem, there is no official information about the probability of winning the Megabucks jackpot. Some casinos say that the player has one chance out of 50 million, while others claim that this is one chance of 17 million. Whatever it was, when the sum of the jackpot is large enough, fans of this slot are ready to fly thousands of kilometers to try their luck.
What do Lady Luck’s favorites have from this slot? Do they get all that huge amount of money that is advertised? When you win a jackpot, events can unfold as follows. First of all, the lucky guy will receive a check for $1,400,000. Then the winner is given two or three months to decide how he wants to get his winnings. There are two options: the amount is divided into annual payments, which will be transferred to the player within twenty-five years, or he can get the winnings immediately at a time, but at a rate of 60% of the jackpot.
That is, having won ten million, the winner can receive in the second variant only six million, but at once and with one payment. After receiving the win, he still has to pay taxes. Unsurprisingly, almost all holders of Megabucks jackpots prefer to receive their winnings in the form of annual payments.
However, in this case, they also have to pay taxes, the Internal Revenue Service of the United States (IRS) very strictly follows this. Subtract from the total amount of the jackpot another 40%, because such winnings are taxed at the maximum rate. So, the next time you hear that someone has won ten million in Megabucks and immediately took all the money, you know that the lucky guy got a little over three and a half million at his disposal.
The Curse of the Megabucks Jackpot
As already mentioned above, there are a lot of urban legends about the Megabucks slot and its jackpot, mostly of a gloomy nature. For the most part, they describe the tragic fate of players who managed to win a huge jackpot. It is believed that almost all the lucky people either perish or suffer numerous woes. The cause of their numerous misfortunes is the so-called Curse of the Megabucks slot.
Of course, in these stories, there is much more fiction than the truth. However, there is no smoke without fire — some winners, really, seriously suffered after they won the jackpot. In particular, the further life of the waitress Cynthia J. Brennan, who won $34.9 million in 2000, was sad. A month and a half after the win, Cynthia and her sister were hit by a drunk driver. The sister died on the spot, and Cynthia was forever paralyzed. The guy who drove the car in a state of intoxication was imprisoned for twenty-eight years.
But the rumors about the curse of Megabucks spread even before the year 2000. Simply, this accident was widely covered in the press and made people remember about other similar events, which at that time did not become so resonant. In 2003, many media published a story about a 25-year-old player who became the owner of the Megabucks jackpot and either died from a drug overdose in a casino hotel or was killed in a street shootout. IGT companies had to work hard to convince the public of the falsity of these statements.
There are also a lot of rumors about underage players and employees of different casinos who won the Megabucks jackpot but could not get it due to existing rules. But none of these rumors received documentary evidence.
Many experts in the field of gambling suggest that ITG recently made relevant changes to the Megabucks system, which makes the jackpot play less often, but with larger amounts. Although officially the company claims that nothing of the sort has happened, this opinion remains very popular.
Where Could You Play Megabucks?
Most fans of slot machines and large jackpots are not afraid of the curse of Megabucks and are willing to play in this slot. You can find this slot in almost all real casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as in other establishments in Nevada, California, New Jersey, Mississippi, and some Indian reservations. Each state has its own separate network of Megabucks slots, but the biggest progressive jackpots are expected in Nevada. In other states, jackpots are much smaller.
Why do Experts Consider Megabucks a Bad Slot?
Experts do not believe in the curse of the Megabucks slot, but this does not stop them from considering this gambling machine not worthy of attention. The fact is that this slot is very unprofitable for the player. Firstly, it has an extremely high percentage of the casino advantage, which reaches 10-15% (for comparison, many slots in the Las Vegas casino are limited to 2-3%). Secondly, the procedure for paying a jackpot is extremely inconvenient. The winner either loses 40% of the amount or gets it in parts for 25 years. But the progressive jackpots of most other slots are paid immediately and in full.
All this suggests that Megabucks is a mediocre slot, which gained its popularity only thanks to record payments and a masterly organized PR campaign.