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Lion's Share: The Numbers Behind The Progressive Jackpot

April 29, 2014 at 5:43 PM | by | ()

The most popular slot machine in Vegas is probably not what youíre thinking.

Lionís Share at MGM Grand is definitely the most famous slot machine and, because of that fame, it's likely the most popular slot machine. We told you about Lionís Share in January 2013 when the jackpot was a measly $2.2 million. A few weeks ago, we popped by Lionís Share and the jackpot was†just†$2.3 million. Even though our April Fool's joke may have had you thinking it hit, it†hasn't. The†$2.3 million is still active and a huge jackpot... but it only increased by†$100,000 in a year. HUMPH!

The Lionís Share jackpot hasnít hit in almost 20 years now. Whatís up with that?! We needed to know why this one machine just won't hit so we decided to see what we could find out about the numbers behind the Lion's Share.†Our go-to site for gambling stats, Wizard of Odds, deconstructed Lionís Share, but couldnít get as detailed as usual since†this is the only Lion's Share machine still in operation. Since the machine is so old, there are few people around with actual historical data to offer much insight on how well and when the jackpot might hit.

So, what are the odds?! Well, the great gaming mathematician, Michael Shackleford, has come up with an approximation of odds by pulling data from a couple of sources. Since he uses his data alongside data from a trusted forum user, we can†assume that the data is not 100% accurate. According to Shackleford, the probability of winning the jackpot in Lionís Share is about 1 in 20.5 million. There are varying probabilities -- between 1 in 18 million and 1 in 24 million -- depending on which set of numbers you use.

The jackpot for Lionís Share increases at 0.75% of the money bet. On average, the Lion's Share jackpot increases $167 a day. Further estimates of the data show returns on Lionís Share are currently between 97% and 98%. This is high for todayís $1 slot machines. (The current rate of return for dollar slots is closer to 95%.) The game will be at a 100% return rate when the jackpot reaches $2,534,494.

Here's a little known Lionís Share fact: before we meet Mr. P. in Vegas Vacation we see Lionís Share with a jackpot for just over $1,000,000. It's possible that this was the around the last time the Lion's Share jackpot hit.

The legend of Lion's Share continues to grow. There have been rumors of people waiting up to eight hours just to spend a few minutes on the chance of winning the $2.3 million jackpot. If you'd like to give it a try, Lion's Share is located on the MGM Grand casino floor across from Grand Wok.

[Photo: VegasChatter]

Archived Comments:

I was hoping

I knew about this jackpot for years. I frequent the MGM alot. I was hoping it was a mystery to many so I can still play it whenever I feel like it. Yes, I am selfish.

My last visit, I did not get to spin it once. I checked it frequently at many different times and someone was always sitting there and had people waiting.

It was not like this before. I guess I have to go on a weekday and play really early in the morning.

Convention visit...

I typically visit during the day (lunch during convention at MGM) and there is never a wait.  

Last time I was there I got on a bit of a roll and turned my $20 into over $200.  Our break was over so time to cash out. Since this machine was never converted to the e-z-pay tickets you need to get a hand pay from a slot attendant.  Ok when it is $200+ but a pain when you want to cash out $20.  Typically play until I am on empty, which also leads to adding singles to play the max (don't want to be THAT GUY who hits three lions with only 2 credits for a measly $50k!!!)


This slot machine is Las Vegas version of a state lottery. Does it pay out the entire amount or is it over years?

Took my chance at 2.3 million LionShare -

On my last Vegas Trip this April, I took my chance at the legendary LionShare.  I was 4th in line at around 1pm on a Sunday. Everyone before me putt in a $100 bill. Of the 4, 3 left with nothing and one hit $300 and stayed to bring it to $250. And had to wait for the cash payout. I was not that traditional, I played $21 and won 3 ,$15 but played it all back in, lasted about 5 mins. And nobody was in line after me. I spent 2 hours waiting, for my 5 mins of chance.  I did notice that every $3 spin, the jackpot went up 3 cents. I'll try again on my next trip, if it's still around, and my same $21


@boulder steve

I believe it pays in one lump sum. Technically Mega-Bucks is a lottery and I believe that can be paid out in installments.

@boulder steve

As long as you provide them with a social security number and other identifications you will get the full amount. You will get a 1099 later and IRS will expect you to pay your share. If you gamble alot, you can write off some of your winning with your losses throughout the year. This is in the federal level. The state level varies depending on where you live.

If you don't provide them with a Social Security # they will withhold some of your winnings - most likely 25%. IRS will still come after you though if you dont pay your share.

Contributing to the dream...

I have also slipped in a hundy with Lion's share but alas was not a winner in any way.

Thanks V.C. for keeping us posted.

Last week...

Wed the 7th, one woman ahead of me.  I got up $33-35 and shoulda cashed out. But after only a 12-15 spins who wants to quit. Spent $120, then after some Jacks or Better at NYNY I was back.  I figured I'd try to hit for $20-30 and cut my losses, but no go. Thur afternoon my sister hit town, no line at all, and she got up $54 quick and I told her to "hit the button" (cash out button).  

It's a fun dream, but a machine that hasn't paid out isn't likely to.  Play, but leave on the high part of the wave.


PS: My last night in town I did hit a 9-K flush at NYNY Jacks or Better. Not a real big hit, but helped me get ahead for the session.