You’ve won the Slot’s Jackpot – What Happens Next?

There’s no more exciting experience within the walls of a casino than when a progressive slots jackpot strikes a 9+ digit payout. The delirious winner pinches themselves to see if they’re really dreaming, while the staff and a throng of fellow patrons gather around to offer their congratulations.

slots jackpot

Before long, the winner is often seen posing with an enormous, cardboard check, commemorating the event, while mulling over all the ways they intend to spend their newfound fortune.

These are all the events we expect to happen when a slots jackpot is struck. But what the majority of you reading this probably don’t know is the painstaking process that goes on behind the scenes, starting the very moment a jackpot strikes to the tune of $1 million or more.

E. J. Coyle, a former specialist with slot machine manufacturer Bally Technologies, knows all about it. Up until his retirement earlier this month, Mr. Coyle was the go-to guy for the company – the guy that got the phone call, no matter the hour, when the bells and whistles were activated on a Bally-made progressive slot.

In an exclusive interview with the Las Vegas Sun in 2014, Mr. Coyle offer a close-up look into the world of progressive slots jackpots, and what really happens when one strikes. He said his phone was always turned to max volume because, in a town like Las Vegas, you never knew when another big winner would strike it rich.

Life of a Slots Jackpot Specialist

When a progressive slots jackpot hits for $1 million or more, the very first thing the casino will do is call the manufacturer of the slot machine. These companies have control centers where they use computers to monitor the activity of their machines. Thus they can start by confirming whether the slots jackpot was actually struck.

Once a win is confirmed, the slots maker will call in a specialists, like Mr. Coyle. The responder will usually make a pit-stop at the company headquarters to pick up the oversized cardboard check before heading to the casino. Mr. Coyle said he often carried extra cardboard checks in his vehicle, ready to be filled out on the scene.

After the specialist arrives at the casino, they must track down the winner. Coyle said he’s never had a hard time locating the winner, since they’re generally situated in the middle of a large crowd of excited onlookers.

Next, the responder will look carefully at the slot to ensure there wasn’t a malfunction in the machine. In cases of a malfunction, the casino isn’t required to pay out the jackpot. Instead, the technician will determine what prize, if any, should have been displayed, and confirm payment for that amount.

With that out of the way, assuming the jackpot was indeed valid (and it usually is), the specialist will bestow the winner with that beautifully bulky check (which can’t actually be cashed, in case you were wondering). They will then conduct a brief interview with the lucky slots player, asking basic questions like how it felt to win and what they intend to do with all that wealth.

On a side note, the winner can request anonymity at this point, if they wish, keeping their name out of the press and off social media. Mr. Coyle said, in his experience, most winners prefer to keep it as quiet as possible.

Next on the agenda, the winner will have to provide the specialist with some personal information, verifying their identity and providing their Social Security number and bank account to wire the money to. They can choose whether they want the winnings in one lump sum (minus taxes, of course), or in 5% annual increments.

Either way, the first 5% of the slots jackpot is immediately wired to the player’s account to give them enough cash to enjoy on the spot. From there, the slot manufacturer will file all of the paperwork gathered by the specialist and complete the payout, either by bank wire or hand-delivered check.

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