12 of the biggest casino winners ever

Everyone who enjoys casino games always dreams of winning big. The randomized nature of these games means that any spin or round of play could be a game-changer. There’s a general belief that the house always wins, but there are several people who have made life-changing money from gambling. One similarity among most winners is that they won through slots jackpots

If you’re wondering who these players are, here’s a list of people lady luck smiled on, allowing them to walk away with a massive payday.

12. Norwegian online gambler – $14.5 million

Peter, a player from Norway whose last name is unknown, is number 12 on our list of jackpot winners. In 2011, Peter became €11 million richer. The 20-year-old got his big break playing on Persian Fortune – an online fruit slot with a progressive jackpot feature. One can only imagine the shock when Peter checked his wallet account balance.

11. Don Johnson – $15.1 million

For many people, gambling is just a way to let loose, hit the spin button or have fun playing card rounds. However, Don Jonson was different as his gameplay was very strategic in that he negotiated beneficial partnerships with the casinos and dealers. 

Part of his strategy was getting unique benefits, where some institutions offered him up to 20% payback in high-roller bonuses. This jackpot winner skillfully won over €13 million from different casinos in six months, wagering as high as $25,000. Johnson gathered his wins from three different land-based casinos – Caesar’s Palace, Borgata and Tropicana. 

10. John Heywood – €17.8 million

John Heywood from Cheshire is an army veteran who hit a life-changing fortune in 25 minutes. Heywood played on a slots jackpot, Mega Moolah from Betway, winning €17,879,645.12. He won in October 2015 and held the Guinness World Record for the highest slot jackpot win till September 2018. 

After the win, Heywood began to appear on national TV, granting interviews and sharing his experience of winning such a massive amount of money. The British soldier used part of his win to pay for his father’s medical bills and went about his everyday work the next day like he was not a millionaire. 

9. Belgian player – $22 million

The rise of online gambling platforms saw an increase in online casino jackpot games. This development gave birth to the current iGaming winnings champion, an unknown user from Belgium. With just a $17 stake, the anonymous player claimed over $22 million in one chilling move. 

8. Johanna Heundl – $22.6 million

For jackpot winner Johanna Heundl, her dream of getting a better life came true when she won a staggering $22,618,156.67 in just one spin round. The elderly lady who hailed from California was out for breakfast when she decided to hit a Megabucks slots jackpot machine at Bally’s. 

First-time player Heundl staked $170 for one spin and, as luck would have it, immediately hit the jackpot.

7. Elmer Sherwin – $21.14 million

Another war veteran, this time from World War II, graces our list of top jackpot winners. In 2005, Elmer Sherwin became the world record holder for a double-million jackpot win. 

His first slots jackpot win came in 1989 when he clinched his first win valued at $4.6 million. He won it at the Mirage in Las Vegas, hours after the casino was first opened to the general public. After his first win, Sherwin began traveling worldwide, vacationing and trying different games to get a second win. 

His efforts were not in vain, as he won another $21.14 million at 92 years. Lady luck was firmly on his side because the probability of winning at the time was one in 50 million chances.  

6. Kerry Packer – $26 million

Australian entrepreneur Kerry Packer was famous for his successful business ventures and his extreme luck playing at casinos. His generosity was unparalleled, as he was known for his big tips, especially paying mortgages for the waitresses at the casinos he played. 

Packer became $26 million richer in 1995 when he gambled away almost $500,000 in casino bets. Due to his notoriety, he was banned from playing at MGM Grand, his favorite gambling destination. The ban also extended to the other subsidiaries of the MGM empire. 

5. Flight attendant – $27.6 million

The next jackpot winner is a 67-year-old career flight attendant who won at the Palace Station Hotel, Las Vegas. She wagered $400 against the $100 she wanted to spend. After losing the $100, she made another deposit, hit the Megabucks slots jackpot machine, and got her life-changing cash prize. 

4. Cynthia Jay-Brennan – $34.95 million

Cynthia Jay-Brennan’s story of her life-changing cash win became possible through her mother-in-law’s birthday bash. She made a few spins without success and, on the 9th try, hit a total of $39 million at the Megabucks slots jackpot machine. 

After the win, Cynthia quit her job and started living the good life, although an unfortunate accident left her paralyzed soon after. 

3. Unknown player – $39.7 million

Waiting for a basketball game to start, a 26-year-old yet to be identified man took a stroll into the Excalibur casino to relax at the slots jackpot machine. There, he wagered about $100 on some video slots and won $40 million. 

This story is unique because the chances of winning were tagged at one in 16.7 million chances. Following some advice, this new millionaire decided to spread his cash out over 25 years, receiving $1.5 million yearly.

2. Archie Karas – $40 million

Archie Karas’s story to the rise may be ranked as one of the best for many jackpot winners. Karas had just lost a whopping $2 million in a poker game and was left with just $50. In Las Vegas, he ran into a friend at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, where he got $10,000, staking it on Razz titles.

Karas played and won $17 million that same day, repaying his loan with interest. His winning streak continued over the next three years, accumulating up to $40 million. However, poor management saw the winner lose the prize over several slot wagers within three weeks. 

1. Gloria McKenzie – $590.5 million

Gloria Mckenzie currently holds the record for the highest win from an online casino. This win came not from a slots jackpot but from a Powerball lottery ticket. The 84-year old got her breakthrough when a ‘kind’ stranger allowed her to take his spot on the line. That lucky ticket beat the odds of winning by one in 175 million, earning her a fortune of over half a billion. Gloria later agreed to receive half the price instead of getting 30 annual installments.

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