Walter Misco, a retired horse farmer from Chester, New Hampshire had the good fortune of winning $2.4 million dollars from MGM Grand’s legendary 20 year-old slot machine “Lions Share.” It is the first major jackpot ever paid by the machine since its installation in MGM’s gaming floors 20 years ago, and the largest win for Walter, a regular MGM Grand guest who visits Las Vegas at least three or four times a year.
According to Walter, he tried his luck in the “Lions Share” slot at the suggestion of his wife Linda, since they have both read an article about the machine being famous for not having yielded a major jackpot for at least two decades.
In a February Las Vegas Sun article that the Miscos had read, Justin Andrews, MGM Grand’s Executive for Slot Operations had commented that the machine’s unyielding reputation had built a cult of followers from all over the world, to the point of kissing, hugging, rubbing, or sweet-talking the machine as a form of ritual before pulling the slot’s handle.
Mr. Andrews told Las Vegas Sun reporter Robin Leach that people of all legal ages, and from different places, particularly Europe would wait in line patiently, regardless of the time or day, just to have their shot at winning the million-dollar jackpot, which the machine had stubbornly held on to for 20 long years. Those waiting in line exchange stories and take photos to while away the time spent waiting, in fact bonding as if a club has been formed.
When Walter’s turn at the slot came, it took only about five minutes of playing and a $3 max bet from out of the $100 he inserted in the machine, before the screen lit up with the much-awaited three-of-a kind green “Lions Share” logo.
Scott Sibella, President, and COO of MGM Grand congratulated the couple saying, “MGM Grand is delighted to award this historic jackpot to the lucky winner of the ‘Lions Share,’ and we couldn’t be happier for the winners and their family and friends.” He added that the Misco couple’s $2.4 million win is a monumental event that serves as “another great example of why MGM Grand is the entertainment authority,” as the win demonstrates their “goal of providing every guest with the ultimate Las Vegas experience.”
Although Walter had experienced winning around $5,000 to $8,000 at MGM Grand during his previous visits, he won them from playing video poker. “It was surreal when it happened. I just sat there thinking it hadn’t actually happened,” is what Walter told Robin Leach.
At a press conference attended by the Misco couple before going back to New Hampshire, they told reporters that they plan to use the winnings to help put their grandchildren to college, and possibly buy a car as well.
The Lions Share is the last of the 50 machines that MGM had originally installed for its grand opening twenty years ago. It has been kept in active operation in light of Nevada’s state gambling laws, which mandates that all progressive jackpots must be won and not retained by the casino.