Player Snags $1.3 Million Jackpot at The Cal

A player from Hawaii hit a $1.3 million ($1,316,722.94, to be exact) jackpot at downtown’s California casino on March 28, 2022.

The dream lives!

The winner, Michelle M., was playing a $5 Wheel of Fortune machine. We told you to occasionally try an uncomfortable denomination!

The win was first reported by an incredibly popular, yet modest, Twitter account.

That’s a lot of poi.

The Cal is owned by Boyd Gaming, and Hawaiian visitors make up a large percentage of guests at the company’s downtown casinos.

This is the third time a guest from Hawaii has won a Wheel of Fortune progressive in 2022, which doesn’t even take into account a $1 million win at Main Street Station on Nov. 16, 2021.

On Jan. 21, 2022, Wheel of Fortune hit for $1.1 million at Fremont casino.

Then, on Feb. 2, 2022, another Hawaii resident hit for $275,000 at the Fremont.

You know you’ve seen a lot of big jackpots when your first thought after reading that sentence is, “Only $275,000?”

Whenever somebody wins a bigass jackpot, we get questions about the process of getting paid that bigass jackpot.

Big progressive jackpots are paid by the slot maker, not the casino. In this case, Wheel of Fortune is made by IGT, so they pay the jackpot.

The industry term for such progressives is WAP, or “wide area progressive.”

If you know, you know.

When a big jackpot is hit, the IRS takes out 27% off the top.

A player is given the option of a lump sum or yearly payments over time (an annuity). The lump sum is less than the payment over time, but math folks tend to say take the lump sum and invest it, you’ll ultimately have more than if you take the annual payments.

If your payments stretch over 30 years, about half of the value of what you’ll get is received in the final 10 years of the annuity. (Bluntly, don’t take the annuity option if you’re old.)

The process of paying a million-dollar jackpot can take hours. Which, presumably, is the reason many big winners “forget” to tip casino staff. By the time the  paperwork has been completed, slot attendants and cocktail servers may be long gone. We recently shared a story where out of three million-dollar winners, only one tipped. They tipped $40. Seriously. Don’t get us started.

Reminder: There’s no time limit on tipping staff after your big win. If you don’t have cash, hit an ATM or come back the next day. Tipping is good karma.

Congrats to The Cal’s lucky winner and we look forward to hearing she spread some aloha around to the staff.