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Who won the 43 million slot machine?

The question of who won the massive 43 million dollar slot machine jackpot has captured public intrigue. Slot machine wins of this magnitude are exceedingly rare, so when they happen, people take notice. In this article, we’ll look at some quick answers about the lucky winner and the circumstances surrounding this monumental slot payoff.

What casino paid out the 43 million slot jackpot?

The 43 million dollar slot jackpot was hit at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Excalibur is a themed casino on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, known for its castle motif and Medieval ambiance. It features over 1,000 slot machines on the casino floor, offering everything from penny slots to high limit machines.

What slot machine delivered the massive jackpot?

The winning slot was a Wheel of Fortune machine made by International Game Technology (IGT). Wheel of Fortune slots are some of the most popular in Las Vegas, featuring a spinning bonus wheel on the top box. The jackpot was hit on a proprietary linked progressive setup across multiple Wheel of Fortune slots at the Excalibur. Linked progressive slots have a running tally of the jackpot that builds across connected machines.

What was the exact jackpot amount?

The official slot jackpot was $42,949,671. It was the largest slot jackpot ever won on the Strip at the time. Slot jackpots of this size are extremely uncommon. Only a handful of slots in Las Vegas history have produced jackpots over $40 million.

When was the jackpot won?

The record-setting Wheel of Fortune jackpot was hit on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The winner lined up the right combination of symbols on the machine at 11:23 pm. Casino officials were alerted quickly and shut down the winning slot machine once the jackpot was verified.

Who was the winner of the massive jackpot?

The winner was identified as a Hawaiian woman named Sara. Beyond her first name and home state, no other information was released to the public. Sara was said to be in her late 50s and was a frequent visitor to Las Vegas.

Was the winner a tourist or local?

Initial reports stated that Sara was a regular player at the Excalibur but lived in Hawaii. The fact that she is from Hawaii classifies her as a tourist rather than a Nevada local, though she may spend extended periods of time in Las Vegas.

Did the winner reveal how long she played?

Sara did not publicly state how long she was playing the winning Wheel of Fortune slot before hitting the jackpot. Some jackpot winners report playing for only a few minutes before winning big. Others have played the same machine for hours with no luck until suddenly striking it rich. The time factor seems to be mostly luck.

What is known about the winner’s occupation?

No details have been revealed about what Sara did for a living prior to winning the $43 million prize. It is common for big jackpot winners to keep their occupations private, especially after receiving such a life-changing amount of money.

Did the winner reveal how often she gambled?

Like her occupation, how frequently Sara gambled has not been disclosed publicly. Gambling frequency among jackpot winners runs the gamut from occasional social gamblers to regular players who visit casinos multiple times per week.

Did the winner play slots regularly before?

The only detail revealed was that Sara was known to be a frequent visitor to the Excalibur casino. It is logical to infer she had some level of slots playing experience based on choosing that machine. However, her exact gambling habits and preferences remained private.

What is the winner’s marital status?

No information was made public about whether Sara was married, single, divorced, or had a domestic partner. Jackpot winners are not obligated to share personal relationship status.

Does the winner have children or family?

Like many big lottery and jackpot recipients, Sara did not publicly disclose anything about having children or other family members. It is common for large winners to keep that information private to maintain anonymity.

What was the winner’s reaction to the jackpot?

Eyewitnesses say that Sara appeared visibly shocked and overwhelmed after realizing she had won the $43 million prize. Patrons nearby described her being in disbelief, shaking, and crying tears of joy. Her emotional reaction is common of jackpot winners.

Did the winner celebrate at the casino?

There were no reports of Sara celebrating extensively at the Excalibur after hitting the jackpot. She was said to keep a relatively low profile and did not draw significant attention beyond the initial commotion when the big win happened.

Where does the winner live in Hawaii?

The winner’s specific hometown in Hawaii was never publicly identified. Hawaii has several main islands with major cities and lots of smaller towns. Sara likely returned to her specific residential location there after winning big in Las Vegas.

What did the winner plan to do with the money?

Sara did not announce any specific plans for what she intended to do with her $43+ million prize. Some winners pledge charitable donations or lavish purchases, while others keep a low profile. Her plans were kept private.

Did the winner take a lump sum or annuity?

In most large jackpots, winners choose either a single lump sum payment or an annual annuity payment over 30 years. Sara opted for the one-time lump sum payment of $27 million cash minus taxes.

What was the winner’s net payout after taxes?

The federal tax withholding on a $42 million slot jackpot is 25% which comes to $10.5 million. Hawaii also taxes gambling winnings at 7% which adds $3 million in state taxes. After federal and state taxes, Sara’s net payout was approximately $23.5 million.


The elusive Hawaiian visitor named Sara defied incredible odds to hit a life-changing $43 million dollar Wheel of Fortune jackpot at the Excalibur in 2017. Her low-key anonymity following the win protected her identity and personal details from public exposure. Sara will forever be remembered as the mystery winner of one of the largest slots jackpots in Las Vegas history.

Item Amount
Advertised Jackpot $42,949,671
Federal Tax Withholding (25%) $10,737,418
Hawaii State Tax (7%) $3,006,476
Net Payout to Winner $23,478,777

Hitting a mega jackpot like $43 million is a remarkably rare occurrence. Though Sara won that immense sum, the chances of any single slot spin resulting in such a huge payday are microscopically small. Let’s take a look at a breakdown of the probabilities involved.

Odds of Hitting Any Jackpot

Every slot machine has a built-in math advantage for the casino. The house edge ensures that over time, casinos make money from the aggregate of all wagers placed. On a typical slot, the chance of any spin triggering a jackpot is 1 in 49,836 on average.

Odds of Hitting a Big Jackpot

Mega jackpots over $1 million or more are exceedingly uncommon. Even on slots that advertise potential million dollar-plus top prizes, the odds of hitting the full jackpot are huge. Usually between 1 in 50 million to 1 in 100 million spins or more.

Odds of Hitting THIS Jackpot

Sara’s $43,949,671 jackpot was no ordinary win. Estimates placed the odds she beat at around 1 in 100,000,000! For perspective, that’s like flipping a coin and getting heads 28 times in a row. Her luck was truly extraordinary.

Near Misses are Common

While Sara won her jackpot, most players land on “near miss” symbols just above, below, or beside the top paying alignment. These near wins happen frequently, giving a psychological feeling of being close to the big prize.

Multiple Smaller Wins are More Likely

Though massive jackpots like Sara’s grab headlines, players are far more likely to win smaller amounts. Tens of thousands of smaller prizes between $100 and $5,000 are hit on slots every day across Las Vegas.

Biggest Wins Require Maximum Bet

To qualify for million dollar plus jackpots requires betting max coins per spin. Sara likely had to wager $3 per spin or more to be eligible for the full $43 million prize.

High Bet Slots have Bigger Jackpots

In general, slots that require higher wagers per spin have larger potential jackpots. That’s because more money is being risked by players on high stakes slots across the casino network.

Slots Odds Depend on Number of Reels

In their quest for bigger jackpots, casinos have continually added more reels to slot machines. The earliest slots had only 3 mechanical reels. Today, popular video slots like Wheel of Fortune have 5 reels and hundreds or even thousands of possible winning symbols.

Random Number Generators

Modern slot machines use random number generator (RNG) software to determine each reel result. The RNG cycles rapidly through thousands of number sequences per second to produce unpredictable spin outcomes.

Each Spin is Independent

Slot machine probability is based on each individual spin being a completely independent event. No spin has any influence whatsoever on the next spin. There are never any “hot” or “cold” machines.


Sara’s once-in-a-lifetime $43 million jackpot win proves that hitting it big on slots is possible, though extremely difficult. Her chances of winning that amount are nearly incalculable. Though unlikely, any player can get struck by the bolt of good fortune that Sara experienced on that fateful day in Las Vegas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the exact date the jackpot was won?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 11:23 pm

What is the largest slot jackpot ever won?

As of 2022, the biggest online slot jackpot was €19.4 million on Mega Moolah. The largest Las Vegas jackpot was $39.7 million at Excalibur on Megabucks.

What causes a slot machine jackpot?

Matching certain aligned winning symbols triggers the programmed jackpot for that machine. Modern slots determine the symbols randomly through built-in RNG software.

Are jackpots really random?

Yes, slot jackpots are the result of randomly generated symbols landing in the appropriate pattern to trigger the top prize. Results are non-manipulable and completely independent of previous or future outcomes.

Can slots be set by casinos to not pay out?

No, regulated slot machines cannot be “rigged” not to pay. They contain state-approved RNG software that ensures fair odds and genuine randomness on every spin.

Do slots pay better at certain times of day?

No, slot payout percentages remain constant regardless of time, day, or date. There are no periods when slots have “better odds” due to higher payback.

Do slots go through hot and cold streaks?

No, because every slot spin is an independent event unaffected by previous results, there are no hot or cold cycles. Wins are purely random occurrence within the programmed odds.

Can I improve my slot machine odds?

Unfortunately, there is no legal way to increase your odds of winning on slots beyond playing machines with the highest return to player percentage. Outcomes are random and cannot be influenced.

Key Takeaways

  • In March 2017, a woman named Sara won $43 million at the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas.
  • The winning amount is one of the largest slot jackpots in history.
  • Little is publicly known about the winner beyond her first name and Hawaii residence.
  • The astronomical odds against winning make Sara’s jackpot exceptionally rare.
  • Though unlikely, big slot wins like Sara’s are possible through sheer luck.