The classic TV game show Wheel of Fortune has only minted three millionaires in 44 years, but the Wheel of Fortune slot machine recently paid out three seven-figure jackpots in the span of just four weeks.
Designed by slot machine manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT), the Wheel of Fortune slot machine first hit casino floors back in 1997. In the two decades since, the standard three-reel, single-payline gameplay has been supplemented by dozens of offshoots, including slot games offered in online casinos.
But no matter which format slot enthusiasts prefer to play, these games all have two basic elements in common – the prize wheel and a wide area progressive jackpot.
How the Wheel of Fortune Slot Works
In the basic version of the game, landing a “SPIN” symbol on the third reel’s payline triggers a free wheel-spinning bonus round. The show’s famous rainbow-colored wheel – bearing various cash awards ranging from a few bucks to five-figures depending on the stakes – is sent spinning and players are guaranteed to win a prize.
But the feature that has made Wheel of Fortune one of the most popular slot machines on the planet is IGT’s wide area progressive jackpot network. Players who place the maximum coin bet – three coins on $0.25 machines and two coins on $1, $5, and higher machines – become eligible for progressive jackpots that seed at $200,000 at quarter-stakes and $1 million for the bigger games.
To win the progressive, players look to land three of the game’s Wheel Logo symbols along the payline.
And that’s exactly what three lucky winners did over a four-week period between April and May.
Trio of Seven-Figure Paydays in Three States
The jackpot action kicked off on April 26th at the Valley View Casino & Hotel, located in San Diego’s North County.
A regular player identified as Robert S. sat down to play the “penny” slot Wheel of Fortune Ultra-Wheels, a variant which really requires a maximum bet of $4 to play for the progressive jackpot.
When the winning combination lit up onscreen, Robert scored the machine’s topline progressive award to collect $1,664,509.
The winning moment was literally unbelievable for Robert, who shared his immediate reaction in a press release issued by the casino:
“I’m still in shock. I couldn’t sleep for two days.
I was up tossing and turning and thought they would call me and say the machine malfunctioned.”
Valley View Casino congratulated Robert on his life-changing spin via comments delivered by vice president of gaming operations Randy Reedy:
“We’re always so thrilled when our guests win big.
It’s an amazing experience, and when luck strikes, we’re the lucky ones who get to be a part of it without amazing guests.
Robert has been a loyal guest for many years and we’re all so happy for him.”
Robert told local media outlets that he plans to invest his winnings and begin an early retirement.
The next major million-dollar payout was triggered on May 11th at the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip.
The winner, who chose to remain anonymous, parlayed a $2 max-bet spin on the $1 version of Wheel of Fortune Wild Red Sevens into $1,883,896.
And saving the best for last, IGT’s Jackpot Tracker account on Twitter reported a $3,684,483 win on a $1 machine at the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana on May 28th.
In 2014, Margaritaville was one of two Bossier City casinos to pay million-dollar Wheel of Fortune jackpots within a single week.