What is the Biggest Las Vegas Payout?

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Las Vegas is known for its huge casino payouts, and many people come to the city in hopes of winning big. While there are stories of people hitting it big and taking home life-changing sums of money, the reality is that most people don't walk away from the casino as winners. Still, there have been some truly massive payouts in Las Vegas over the years.


  • Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the world
  • There have been several payouts above $20 million in Vegas
  • The biggest win in the history was for just $100

What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas – Unless You Win Big…

las vegas

In 2003, an anonymous software engineer from Los Angeles won $39.7 million after betting $100 on a Megabucks slot machine in a Las Vegas casino. To this day, it remains the biggest Las Vegas payout in history.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was playing at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino when he hit the jackpot. The odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 16.7 million. So, while it is a very rare event, it is possible to win big in Las Vegas!

He chose to take the payout of $39,713,982.25, rather than the annuity option of $39.7 million spread out over 26 years.

The man said that he had been visiting family members in Las Vegas and decided to try his luck at the casino because of his uncle's suggestion. While it is certainly a life-changing amount of money, the man said that he plans to continue working and living a relatively normal life. He did say that he plans to donate a portion of his winnings to charity.

Other Huge Las Vegas Payouts

While the 2003 winner takes the title for the biggest Las Vegas payout in history, there have been other impressive wins over the years.

Cocktail waitress Cynthia Jay-Brennan won $34.9 million in 2000 after hitting the Megabucks jackpot at the Desert Inn Casino. She was the first person to win the newly created progressive jackpot, which was only open to Nevada residents at the time.

  • Total Winnings: $34,955,489.56

In 1998, an anonymous retired man won $27.6 million after playing $300 on a Megabucks machine at the Palace Station Casino. He only intended to play for a few minutes, but got lucky and hit the jackpot. Seems like old people really do have the best luck!

  • Total Winnings: $27,580,879.60

Elmer Sherwin, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, is the only person to have hit the Megabucks jackpot twice. He first won $4.6 million in 1989 and then hit again for $21 million in 2005.

Sherwin said that he always plays the Megabucks machines when he visits a casino because “that's where the money is.”

  • Total Winnings: $21,147,947

Top 6 Payouts in Las Vegas

Anonymous$39,713,982.25Excalibur Hotel and Casino2003
Cynthia Jay-Brennan$34,955,489.56Desert Inn Casino2000
Anonymous$27,580,879.60Palace Station Casino1998
Johanna Huendl$22,618,156.67Baily's2002
Elmer Sherwin$21,147,947Mirage Hotel & Casino2005
Anonymous$17,329,817.80M Resort2012

What About Taxes?

Taxes are a reality for anyone who wins big in Las Vegas. In the United States, gambling winnings are taxable. So, while you may not have to pay state taxes on your winnings, you will still owe federal taxes.

The withholding tax is 25% for winnings over $5,000. And 30% for non-US citizens. Of course, you may end up owing more or less depending on your tax situation. But it's always a good idea to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

So, how much would you end up taking home if you won the biggest Las Vegas payout in history?

If you are a US citizen and take the lump sum option, you would receive a check for $29,725,716. That's after taxes are withheld. If you are not a US citizen, you would receive a check for $27,846,485. Still very nice!


While there have been many large payouts in Las Vegas over the years, none have been as large as this one. This lucky winner took home nearly $40 million after betting just $100, proving that sometimes it really pays to take a chance. Who knows, maybe you could be the next big winner!

Do you want to read more about US casinos? Check our articles about how fast US casinos pay out or why do casinos use chips. We think these articles might be interesting for you.

Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Dan (Danny) James

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