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October 21, 2014

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After 20 years, ‘Lion’s Share’ slot machine at MGM Grand pays out $2.4 million jackpot

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Craig McCool / MGM Resorts International

Linda and Walter Misco of Chester, N.H., won the $2.4 million jackpot from the legendary Lion’s Share slot machine at MGM Grand on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, on the Strip. The jackpot had not been won in 20 years.

‘Lion’s Share’ Slot Machine Winners

Linda and Walter Misco of Chester, N.H., won the $2.4 million jackpot from the legendary “Lion’s Share” slot machine at MGM Grand on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, on the Strip. The jackpot had not been won in 20 years. Launch slideshow »

A lucky New Hampshire couple leaves the Strip tonight for their flight home as winners of a $2.4 million jackpot from the legendary “Lion’s Share” slot machine at MGM Grand.

The machine hit the big jackpot on Linda and Walter Misco’s last night in town — just before midnight this morning (or about the same time as the opening of SLS Las Vegas north of them on the Strip).

One of the winners inserted $100 into the machine and was playing the $3 max bet for about five minutes when the three long-awaited green emblems lined up horizontally on the jackpot center pay line.

I wrote about the famed slot-machine jackpot in February playing it myself after waiting in line for more than 30 minutes.

“MGM Grand is delighted to award this historic jackpot to the lucky winner of the ‘Lion’s Share,’ and we couldn’t be happier for the winners and their family and friends,” said Scott Sibella, president and COO of MGM Grand.

“This monumental event is another great example of why MGM Grand is the entertainment authority and our goal of providing every guest with the ultimate Las Vegas experience.”

The 20-year-old machine had built a legendary reputation and cult following in its two decades of not paying out the big win. MGM guests came from all over the world — as far away as Australia — to pull the slot’s handle. Some would kiss the machine, hug it, rub it, talk to it or bad naturedly thump it and curse it.

Walter told me that he’d read my story on Feb. 19 here at LasVegasSun.com. It took him just 5 minutes of play to hit the jackpot. He’ll use the money for his children and grandchildren’s college educations.

He’s been visiting Las Vegas three or four times a year for two decades and was an MGM Grand regular. He previous won $5,000 to $8,000 playing video poker, he says. Walter is a retired horse farmer from the small town of Chester, N.H., population 3,000. Married 48 years, he said that his wife told him to play it.

“It was surreal when it happened. I just sat there thinking it hadn’t actually happened,” Walter told me.

Linda and Walter were scheduled to answer questions at a press conference today at 3 p.m. attended by Scott before they departed Las Vegas.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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