All gamblers dream of that “big win”, logging on to an online site hoping that in a few hours, even minutes, they could be millionaires. And it’s happened. Most winners don’t publicly announce their good fortune (for security reasons, obviously, plus you’d rather not have all and sundry knocking on your door asking for a share), but their stories do reach the newspapers. Their names are changed, their faces blurred, but nevertheless, the headlines scream their success.
The most recent win picked up by the press was in May, 2006, and revolved around one of the best examples of beginner’s luck. A 20-year-old worker from Sainsbury who used the pseudonym “Jamie” wasn’t even a regular online casino gambler. He had registered at a bingo site because he was bored, and his girlfriend suggested that he join a site to pass away the time. Two hours later, his £10 wager had gotten him a little over two thousand pounds.
However, the two thousand pounds are a mere pittance compared to the winnings of Leslie Robbins and Colleen DeVries of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in the United States. They won the amazing amount of $111,240,463.10. That’s on the Guinness Book of Records – and is enough to make any gambler want to run to the nearest online casino and try his luck just one more time.
It’s difficult to win on slot machines, as it’s all pure luck and you really can’t do anything to beat the casino odds (as opposed to say, poker or blackjack). However, when you do win, you can win huge amounts. For example, on April 14, 1997 Suzanne Henley won $12,510,559.90. Think that’s big? It gets even bigger. The next year, her record was broken when a man in Daly City, California took home the jackpot of $14 million. But wait – there’s more! In 2006, a woman on a gambling vacation in Las Vegas brought home a “souvenir” of $27.6 million slot jackpot. That’s $1.1 million over 25 years! Another lucky winner was Barbara Desena, from New Jersey. On a whim, she decided to kill a few minutes on a progressive slot machine. After just a few tries she won $1,307,050.
Sports betting can also be very profitable. One lucky gambler from Nottingham, England (who chose to remain anonymous, but records show it was a woman – proof that gambling is not just a man’s world) won a total of £208,098.79. This included £153,644.40 from the odds of 3,072,887 to 1, and some other obliging selections. She had only bet five pounds. Talk about a smart investment!
Lottery tickets have also created a new breed of millionaires. Frank and Shirley Capaci were a simple elderly couple from Streamwood, Illinois. On impulse, they decided to spend $1 on a lottery ticket. The odds were tremendous, and they never expected to win. They had to choose five numbers between 1 and 49, and a last number between 1 and 24. All six numbers had to match. The odds were 80 million to 1, and they won – taking home an enormous $194 million. Needless to say, the Capacis were able to retire in style.