As the New Jersey online casino industry continues to grow, so have the number of overall jackpot winners.
According to figures released Thursday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, there were 611 jackpots — defined as wins of $50,000 or more — at brick-and-mortar Atlantic City casinos and NJ online casinos in 2019. That’s up from 384 such winners in 2018.
The total money won by jackpot winners also soared, from $39.9 million in 2018 to $54.7 million this year.
The one edge for 2018 over 2019 is that there were two new insta-millionaires that year compared to only one last year: a “William from New Jersey” won $1.08 mm playing a Wheel of Fortune $1 slot machine at Golden Nugget in Atlantic City on July 27. That’s not quite half of the nearly $2.5 mm won by a woman playing a Wheel of Fortune Double Sapphire Gold Spin game for $10 in September 2018.
Four other prizes exceeded a half-million in 2019, including a Nov. 18 jackpot for $804.7k at Harrah’s on Wheel of Fortune with just a $1 slot play. A lucky patron at Resorts on Aug. 8 turned $1 into a $753.7k jackpot playing an Elvis slot machine.
Seven of the top 10 jackpot winners cashed in online, with four of them coming on the popular Divine Fortune machines — on four different online sites.
Atlantic City’s biggest jackpots in 2019
- July 27: $1.08 mm, Golden Nugget, Wheel of Fortune
- Nov. 18: $804.7k, Harrah’s, Wheel of Fortune
- Aug. 8: $753.7k, Resorts, Elvis
- March 3: $667.8k, BorgataCasino.com, Lotusland
- Sept. 15: $612.5k, VirginCasino.com, Wonderland
- Jan. 12: $322.6k, BorgataCasino.com, Divine Fortune
- May 8: $306.1k, GoldenNuggetCasino.com, Divine Fortune
- March 3: $300k, BorgataCasino.com, Lotusland
- Feb. 9: $295.2k, PlaySugarHouse.com, Divine Fortune
- April 28: $294.8k, ResortsCasino.com, Divine Fortune
- April 24: $292k, Harrah’s, Wheel of Fortune MegaJackpots
- Sept. 14, $283.3k, Caesars, Willy Wonka
The next tier of winners
Wins of that size, above $280k, are extremely rare — averaging just one a month per nine Atlantic City casinos and their affiliated websites. But the DGE lists more than 50 jackpots of at least $150,000 for the year, and about twice as many more for $100,000.
The denominations for each game vary quite a bit, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional miracle at the lowest levels. On May 29, a Hard Rock casino patron won $226.2k on a 1-cent play on Quartermania Ghostbusters.
Those prizes of $150,000 and up were not spread out evenly, with eight in September and seven in April, but only one in October, one in July (the biggest jackpot of the year, ending a 28-day drought of such big winners at any of the casinos or their websites), and just three in January.
The final “big score” of the calendar year came this week, on New Year’s Eve, as a 10-cent spin on Diamond Eternity at the Borgata in the Marina District paid $154.7k.
December proved rather stingy — no doubt in part due to decreased offseason visitation — with just $3.4 mm of the $54.7 mm in jackpot payouts for 2019 coming in that month.
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