The Lion’s Share, a Las Vegas slot machine notorious for stubbornly holding onto its mounting jackpot over the past 21 years, finally relinquished its prize to a lucky couple from New Hampshire, who walked away with $2.4 million.
Walter and Linda Misco were on a Vegas vacation Friday when Walter decided, on a whim, to put a $100 bill into the Lion’s Share machine, the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino’s oldest and most popular reel-type slot machine, according to an announcement by the gaming company.
Walter Misco had been pulling the handle on the old-fashioned machine, at $3 per turn, for about five minutes before three green Lion’s Share icons lined up for the jackpot, according to the statement.
“Every time I walked by, there were five or six people lined up. But at 11 o’clock was my window of opportunity. There was nobody there, so I sat down,” Misco said in a statement. “I put $100 in the machine and had $127 in credits when it hit. I’d probably been playing for five minutes.”
Because of the Lion’s Share machines’ lack of popularity, MGM Grand began removing the devices from the casino in the mid-1990s, according to the statement. However, under gaming regulations, MGM could not remove any machine until it hit its jackpot — leaving this particular machine to rise to international fame because of its compounding jackpot.
Misco, 66, is a retired business owner. Linda Misco, also 66, works for the family business, according to the release. They said they planned to use a portion of the money to pay their grandchildren’s way through college.
“Linda told me I should play it. So I was really only doing what any good husband would do — following directions,” Walter Misco said.
When her husband hit the jackpot, Linda Misco was in their room sleeping.
“I called to wake her up and asked her to come downstairs, I had something to show her,” Walter Misco said. “I can’t tell you what she said when she got here, but it began with ‘Holy!’ ”