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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz
 

Woman wins gigantic $33 million jackpot

14 April 2009

RENO, Nevada -- You may have noticed the advertisements along the bottom of Review-Journal section fronts in recent weeks promoting the latest Megabucks jackpot prize.

The jackpot, more than $33 million, hit on Easter Sunday in Sparks at a casino owned by bankrupt Herbst Gaming. It was the second largest Megabucks jackpot ever.

Herbst, which has filed a prepackage bankruptcy reorganization plan, isn't required to pay out the winnings. That job belongs to International Game Technology, which owns Megabucks. IGT shares in revenues produced by the linked progressive slot machines with casinos.

Rachael Renee Romanick, 38, of Reno won the jackpot while playing the game at Terrible's Rail City.

"I really owe it to my friend," said Romanick, the mother of four daughters. "I wanted to stay home, but he wanted to gamble and convinced me to join him. I said to myself, 'Why not?'"

Romanick had only been playing for about 10 minutes when she hit the jackpot. Initially, she had no idea what she had won and had to ask others around her if the jackpot was real.

"I kind of froze because this was so unexpected," she said.