A lucky couple has walked away the winners of a $2.4 million jackpot from the legendary “Lion’s Share” slot machine at MGM Grand Las Vegas. The machine hit the enormous jackpot just after 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22. One of the winners inserted $100 into the machine and was playing the $3 max bet for about five minutes when the three long-awaited green emblems lined up horizontally on the jackpot center payline.
“MGM Grand is delighted to award this historic jackpot to the lucky winner of the ‘Lion’s Share’, and we couldn’t be happier for the winners and their family and friends,” said Scott Sibella, President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM Grand. “This monumental event is another great example of why MGM Grand is the Entertainment Authority, and our goal of providing every guest with the ultimate Las Vegas experience.”
The “Lion’s Share” slot machine, the oldest reel machine on the MGM Grand casino floor, gained its legendary status for stubbornly refusing to yield its top jackpot since it became the sole remaining “Lion’s Share”-themed game on the casino floor about 15 years ago. Through the years, it rose to become the single most popular slot machine at MGM Grand on a floor of about 1,900 slots.
“Lion’s Share” gathered a fan following on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet long before the jackpot hit. Internet bloggers posted and regularly updated maps of the MGM Grand casino floor indicating where the slot machine was located as it was moved around the floor. It is one of the few known stand-alone slot machines to merit such prominent cyber attention.
After Wall Street Journal published an article by writer Rob Copeland in February 2014 about the long-dormant machine, lines of fortune-seekers at the machine stretched ever longer. Fans waited single-file for their turn at the machine as they cheered on fellow enthusiasts. In subsequent months, national and international news media agencies flocked to MGM Grand in hopes that the “Big One” would hit while the cameras were rolling.
“Lion’s Share” is the only game left from an entire network of $1 progressive slots that were installed at MGM Grand in the early 1990s. The machine pre-dates modern ticket-in-ticket-out systems. The collection of themed machines was custom-made and branded for MGM Grand. There were 50 machines in all. Over the years, the resort removed all but one. Floor leaders would have removed that one, too, but no one hit its progressive jackpot, which through the years accumulated $2.4 million. Under gaming regulations and to ensure the integrity of the games, MGM Grand could have shifted the “Lion’s Share” jackpot to different machines of equal or lesser denomination. The resort was not allowed to keep the accumulated jackpot.
MGM Grand is currently reviewing regulatory requirements in the winner’s state of residence to determine whether the winners are eligible to take the machine home with them.
MGM Grand is “The Entertainment Authority,” creating the ultimate Las Vegas experience. The AAA Four Diamond hotel features the astonishing KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; master illusionist David Copperfield; the vaudeville-inspired Beacher’s Madhouse and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre. MGM Grand offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Michael Mina’s PUB 1842, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon. The resort recently remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and launched the industry’s first-ever STAY WELL Collection. MGM Grand is home to many of today’s hottest DJs including Tiësto, Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki who share residencies between the brand new Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub and WET REPUBLIC, The Strip’s hottest day life destination. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking Five Green Key conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, CSI: The Experience and an inviting six-acre pool complex. Upscale accommodations include SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand, an exclusive boutique luxury hotel within the hotel and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort. MGM Grand is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM). For more information and reservations, visit mgmgrand.com or call toll free at (877) 880-0880 or find us on Facebook and Twitter or follow our blog.