The biggest casino winnings of all time can be divided into three categories: the $4.6 million Elmer Sherwin won on Mega Moolah, the $19 million progressive jackpot won by Jon Heywood on the same game, and the $35 million Cynthia Jay Brennan won on the same machine. Then there’s the countless other jackpots – which aren’t listed in this article – that have attracted attention.
A WWII veteran won a massive $4.6 million jackpot at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when he was 80 years old. Twelve years later, at the same casino, Elmer Sherwin won again, this time for $21,147,947. Sherwin used most of the money to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, and he even donated a large chunk of his winnings to the city’s recovery efforts.
When the Mirage Casino opened in Las Vegas, Elmer Sherwin, a World War II veteran, continued to gamble on occasion and eventually won a $21 million casino jackpot. In 1989, Elmer Sherwin, then 92, took out a $20 loan from his wife and played the Megabucks slot for a few minutes. The next month, he won a further $21.1 million.
While it’s rare to win a huge jackpot, Elmer Sherwin is one of the lucky ones. He won the $4.6 million Megabucks jackpot twice in the span of 90 minutes. Elmer Sherwin shared the money with his family, and later donated his winnings to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. This remarkable achievement has captivated the gaming community. It’s a wonderful story that deserves a wider audience.
Cynthia Jay Brennan’s $35 million jackpot
In 2001, cocktail waitress Cynthia Jay Brennan won a $35 million casino jackpot, the largest in history. She and her fiancé had traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate her mother-in-law’s birthday. While the couple was not wealthy, they worked hard and made enough money to get by. However, their fortune was not to last long. Just a few weeks after winning the jackpot, they were in a car accident. The driver had crashed into the Brennans’ car and the teen passenger had to be rushed to the hospital. The driver was unhurt, but Cynthia Jay Brennan, whose sister was killed, was paralyzed from the waist down. The couple had no idea that their life would change forever.
In 2000, Jay-Brennan was working as a cocktail waitress at a Vegas casino. She had saved money for her wedding and visited the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino to play slots. The next day, she decided to play for her future mother-in-law. She was playing for a few hours, but eventually felt the urge to try her luck. She pulled the lever nine times, and a row of Mega-Bucks appeared.
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After the huge win, the couple married and spent the honeymoon in Fiji. However, just weeks later, a drunken driver crashed into Jay-Brennan’s car, injuring her and killing her sister Lela Jay. Afterwards, she became paralyzed below the upper chest and had to learn how to operate an electric wheelchair with a joystick. Now, she uses a computer to navigate her wheelchair.