Record jackpot at Lakeside |

Record jackpot at Lakeside

Sally J. Taylor

A record jackpot rang bells early Friday at the Lakeside Inn and Casino.

Just past midnight, a Las Vegas man hit a jackpot of $1,409,349, a Northern Nevada record for the Wheel of Fortune MegaJackpot quarter machines.

A coupon for a free dinner brought Rich Stevens and his wife Mary to the casino. The couple were vacationing at Lake Tahoe to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary and to tour a time share property. It was on the tour that they received the coupon and $20 in coin from the Lakeside.

Lakeside Inn officials were also excited about the jackpot.

“It’s a huge jackpot for us in this community. It’s such a benefit for the small clubs,” said Todd Majoris, Lakeside’s director of marketing.

The Stevens’ had been vacationing and playing slots at Lake Tahoe for several days without winning much.

“It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around,” said Stevens, 41, the general manager of a Peter Piper Pizza parlor in Las Vegas.

Lake Thursday, the couple stopped to pull a few more handles before leaving the Lakeside.

A few plays later, the Wheel of Fortune symbols lined up and the bells began to ring.

“I looked up to see what I had won,” Stevens said. “I didn’t even realize it was a progressive machine. I thought that I won just a couple hundred, but then I realized I hit the big one.”

Mrs. Stevens had been playing a quarter machine across the room. When the bells started ringing, she left 14 credits on the slot to see what her husband had won.

“I was so excited about what we had won, that it didn’t even bother me that I lost the credits,” she said. “I’d trade a million dollars for 14 credits ($3.50 on a quarter machine) anytime.”

The Stevens’ had been planned to get a second mortgage on their home to pay for repairs and landscaping. With their winnings they now expect to pay off the mortgage and do the landscaping as well.

All IGT primary progressive jackpots are paid in 20 annual installments.

The previous record Wheel of Fortune jackpot in Northern Nevada was $1,095,765 on Aug. 4 at the Reno Hilton. The state record is $1.7 million.

Wheel of Fortune, which has machines in both dollars and quarters, is one of IGT’s most popular games. The last jackpot was hit in Reno Sept. 15 and was reset to its base $200,000. In less than a month, it rose to $1.4 million.

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