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Nearly every state in the US provides its residents (and visitors) an opportunity at a life-changing lottery jackpot. Notably absent from that list of states is one of the biggest gambling venues in the world: Nevada.
While residents might feel a twinge of jealousy from the frequent news stories of lucky multi-million-dollar-winning lottery players, Nevada doesn’t exactly have a shortage of methods for people to win their own big money jackpots. The most potentially lucrative one of all is Megabucks slot machines.
Responsible for most of Nevada’s biggest money jackpots of all time, Megabucks slot machines are perhaps the closest alternative Nevada has to a true lottery. Megabucks is a simple game with a massive progressive jackpot.
Megabucks: a simple game
It’s likely that most mental images of a slot machine conjure this game to mind. Megabucks slot machines have three reels and one payline going right through the middle of the reels. The game features many of the typical slot machine symbols — 7’s, cherries, and bars — that any slot player has seen numerous times before.
The goal of the game is to match these symbols along the lone payline. That’s it. There’s no intricate series of patterns. There’s no complicated bonus game to trigger. And there’s no underlying theme associated with the game.
It’s just a matter of whether the player matches three like symbols on the payline or not. Match the symbols, and get paid.
The Megabucks progressive jackpot
While true that Megabucks has a simple game design, that doesn’t mean the game lacks appeal. Rather, it might be one of the most appealing slot machine games available due to its substantial progressive jackpot.
With a minimum prize of $10 million, the Megabucks progressive jackpot can be an attractive gamble for anyone. Slot players are sure to become most intrigued when the jackpot climbs to its higher amounts.
Twenty or even $30 million jackpots are not unheard of for Megabucks. Each machine linked to the jackpot has the amount prominently posted just above the machine, large enough to see from the other side of a room. There will never be any confusion over a specific jackpot amount.
Megabucks is a standard $1 slot machine. The caveat is that a player must bet the maximum ($3) on a spin to be eligible to win the progressive jackpot. Once the maximum bet is made and the reels are spun, landing “MEGABUCKS” symbols along the payline on each of the reels is what it takes to win the hefty prize. Similar to picking winning lottery numbers, it really is that simple to win the Megabucks jackpot.
If one does manage to win the jackpot, the similarities to lottery winnings don’t end there. Jackpot winners are given a 25-year annuity for their winnings rather than the entire sum all at once. At $3 per spin, going for the jackpot could also be a costly endeavor. As most lottery players can attest, just because a game is simple to play, doesn’t mean it’s easy to win.
So you’re telling me there’s a chance?
Since 2005, when the jackpot was set at a minimum of $10 million, 22 people have won the prize. That’s about two people per year on average in the state of Nevada who find themselves lucky enough to be referred to as Megabucks progressive jackpot winners.
A number of sources seem to agree that the odds of any eligible spin hitting the jackpot is about 50 million to one. It’s a long shot to be sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying at all.
To put that into perspective, if it’s worth the time and energy to worry about the dangers of shark attacks when swimming in the ocean or plane crashes when flying in the air, then it’s statistically worth the effort to give Megabucks a few spins in hopes of becoming the next lucky winner. Somebody is going to win it, after all.
With the odds of hitting the jackpot so low and the relatively few ways for a player to win money, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Megabucks slot machines sports one of the highest levels of volatility in the slot world. Unlike many modern slot machine games, there aren’t an abundance of ways to win amounts close to the cost of a spin.
Essentially, this game amounts to most likely losing the entirety of the bet on a spin, but with a small percentage of spins leading to sizable wins.
Because of these qualities, Megabucks is not likely to attract slot enthusiasts, as they would be looking for a more valuable experience for their money. Since slot seekers would be more focused on the progressive jackpot opportunity, the higher volatility, and relatively low time investment, Megabucks is a popular choice for them.
No end in sight
Lotteries in the US have been popular for hundreds of years and remain popular to this day. It’s clear that the low risk/high reward game model is attractive to many. So long as people dream of the lavish lifestyle that only millions and millions of dollars can provide, they will always be willing to take their chances.
Serving as Nevada’s de facto lottery, there’s no reason to think Megabucks slot machines will be any different. Anybody with few dollars and a dream knows that an eight-figure payday could be waiting for them the next time they decide to spend a couple minutes playing the slots.
This fact alone will keep seasoned slot players, as well as casual casino-goers, sitting down and trying their luck with Megabucks.