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Las Vegas Airport Pays Out Three Slot Machine Jackpots In January

Visitors to Las Vegas take home three large jackpots from playing slots at Harry Reid International Airport, including a million-dollar win.

Glowing Neon Sign Says Big Win
Photo by PlayUSA
Marc Meltzer Avatar
3 mins read

The Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) slot machines in Las Vegas are off to a hot start in 2024. So far this January slot players have won two five-figure jackpots and one for more than $1 million.

It seems as though the airport slot machines have been paying out big jackpots more than ever. Then again, that could just be recency bias from seeing the wins shared on all social media outlets.

It’s also possible that there are just more visitors playing the slot machines at LAS. As of Nov. 2023, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reports that the number of passengers at LAS was up 9.4% from the previous year. Through the first 11 months of the year, nearly 53 million people passed through the airport.

Then again, there could be something to more airport slot machine jackpots. There were numerous jackpots at LAS throughout the year. There were two different million-dollar wins within one month of each other last June and July.

Both million-dollar slot machine winners were playing different versions of Wheel of Fortune reel slot games. The first seven-figure jackpot at Harry Reid Airport this year was on a different slot machine title and type of game.

Which slot machines are hitting big at LAS?

The first big slot machine winner at LAS this year was a $1,031,199.36 jackpot on Jan. 12. This slot player hit the jackpot by placing a $3 wager on Wild Wild Buffalo from Aristocrat Gaming.

Unlike the winners last year, this version of Buffalo is a video reel slot game.

Less than a week later, there were two five-figure jackpot winners. One player took home $88,000 and another received an $18,000 handpay from the airport.

The $18,000 jackpot winner was also playing a video slot machine. This player won the Grand jackpot by placing a $2 wager on the Checkered Flag version of Aristocrat’s Dollar Lightning Link video slot.

Both of these airport slot machine jackpots are notable for the amount wagered. The two five-figure jackpots were won on wagers of $2 and $3, respectively.

Many influencers and social media posts show jackpots won on high-limit games with huge wagers. Last year there were numerous Dragon Link jackpots won from players wagering as much as $2,500 per spin.

Playing slot machines at Harry Reid International Airport

There are about 1,400 slot machines at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. This isn’t as many as some of the largest Las Vegas casinos but it has generated more than $1 billion in revenue since the games were installed.

While the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) releases monthly gaming revenue reports, it doesn’t separate how much the airport slot machines generate. Anecdotally, the airport slot machines return less money to players than those around Las Vegas.

There isn’t much data on airport slot machine returns available. About 20 years ago, gaming strategy site Wizard of Odds estimated that these slot machines returned 85.02% to players. This was the worst in Las Vegas at the time.

For comparison, the same data shows that slot machines at Palms returned 93.42% to players. This was the best return percentage in Las Vegas at the time.

Even though the data is two decades old there’s nothing to support that there’s any difference. It’s consensus that airport slot machines – over time – still return less than the games inside casinos.

However, the difference between Las Vegas casinos and airport slot machine returns may not be as wide as they were 20 years ago. According to the monthly NGCB reports, slot machines in Las Vegas casinos have been holding more and returning less to players in recent years.

Other than the return to player, the airport slot machines are the same as those inside Las Vegas casinos. The biggest difference might be that a big win could mean missing a flight since it takes more time to pay out large jackpots.

Jackpot winners probably aren’t too upset if they miss a flight collecting five-, six-, and even seven-figure payouts playing slot machines in the airport.

Marc Meltzer Avatar
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Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

View all posts by Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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