Many gamblers dream of winning a huge slots jackpot. Such a prize can help one pay off their mortgage, invest in the future, and help loved ones.
Assuming the jackpot is big enough, it can pay for luxuries like sports cars, tropical vacations, the finest clothes, and a mansion.
Unfortunately, many big slots winners aren’t able to stretch their winnings out over a lifetime. Some players blow their millions in a few years or less.
The reasons why these “lucky” individuals lose everything are many. Below, you can see 9 of the biggest reasons behind slots jackpot winners’ inability to hang onto their money.
1 – Buying Depreciating Assets
Most slots players don’t have enough money to buy Rolexes, diamonds, Louis Vuitton handbags, and Ferraris.
Instead, they use most of their money on rent, utilities, food, and other necessary expenses. They put what little disposable income they have into slot machines after the fact.
A massive slots jackpot can quickly change one’s fortunes. Suddenly, a winner can afford the new Mercedes or boat that they’ve always been eyeing.
These toys might bring short-term happiness. Unfortunately, they depreciate quickly and don’t bring back much money on the resale market.
Slots winners who begin experiencing financial difficulties may pawn off their once-prized possessions. However, they don’t get back anywhere near what they’re hoping for.
2 – Giving Money to Friends & Family
Luckily, winners can anonymously claim prizes in many cases. Nevertheless, some people still blow the cover on their newfound wealth through one or more means.
Certain gamblers are happy to announce their wins. They’re proud to let everybody know that they’re now wealthy.
Others gradually out themselves by slowly accumulating expensive cars, jewelry, fancy clothes, and a bigger home.
When family and friends find out, they’ll want a piece of the money. Some request nicely, while others demand a share of the jackpot.
It’s difficult to resist giving money to lifelong friends and family. But too much generosity only serves to quickly melt away one’s wealth.
3 – Investment “Opportunities” Come Calling
Some people who ask slots jackpot recipients for money don’t always want handouts. Instead, they may seek to use the winners’ money to launch their dream business.
Even strangers will badger jackpot winners about investment funds for car lots, fast-food joints, restaurants, and tech companies.
The average slots winner isn’t an experienced angel investor. Instead, they’re just an everyday person who’s suddenly earned a big windfall.
These investment opportunities will be just as random as slots spins—some will be successful, but the majority will fail.
4 – Taxes Take Away a Big Chunk
Taxes paid on slots jackpots vary based on the state and country. The United States’ IRS takes a flat 25% out of big gambling wins, while the relevant state also partakes in the winnings.
Assuming somebody wins a $5 million slots payout, they may only collect $2.5 million of this. The taxes don’t end here either.
If the winner upgrades their home, they’ll be paying extra property taxes. They also must cover a gift tax whenever giving friends or family $15,000 or more in cash/assets per year.
Smart winners also hire an accountant, lawyer, and/or financial planner to help them manage money. These professionals can help a jackpot recipient avoid mistakes, but they also cost plenty too.
5 – Terms and Conditions Reduce Winnings
A huge progressive jackpot usually isn’t paid at its face value. Instead, software providers attach terms and conditions that reduce the payout.
IGT’s Megabucks, for example, gives winners the following choices:
- Take a lumpsum payment worth half the jackpot amount.
- Monthly payouts stretched out over 25 years.
The first option features an obvious downside by only delivering half the prize.
The second option offers the full amount of the prize. However, the funds will be worth far less due to inflation over the years.
6 – Playing More Slot Machines
In 2005, Elmer Sherwin became the posterchild for continuing to play slots after winning a jackpot. He hit a $4.6 million prize on Megabucks in 1989 and won a $21.2 million payout in 2005.
Sherwin, however, is a rare exception to what normally happens to those who keep playing slot machines after the fact.
Sheila King is a more-common story. In 1991, the widow began playing high-stakes slot machines at Caesars Palace.
She initially won $300,000 during a high-stakes slots session. King never stopped playing and continued to both win and lose money at a high rate.
Sheila built a multimillion-dollar fortune. However, she eventually lost everything and later tried suing Caesars Palace.
The odds of winning a huge slots jackpot are slim. The odds of pulling off what Elmer Sherwin did are astronomically low.
7 – Wined & Dined by Casinos
Aside from proving that playing slots after a jackpot can be costly, Sheila King also shows how winners can fall into casinos’ traps.
Caesars Palace took note of King’s big wins on high-stakes slot machines and offered her many perks. They gifted her a Mercedes Benz convertible and roped off her favorite games when she took breaks.
Caesars and other Las Vegas casinos kept treating King like a queen until her last dollar had been spent. The bitter woman unsuccessfully sued the casino for tampering with her slot machines when she was on breaks.
Some jackpot winners are savvy enough to stay away from casinos after winning big. However, others find themselves wooed when casinos roll out the red-carpet treatment.
8 – Losing Sight of the Value of Money
Anybody who wins an enormous windfall will view their lifestyle differently. They’ll especially feel this way if they hit a jackpot worth $10 million or more.
Of course, the money can and does run out—especially when it’s going towards depreciating assets and unnecessary luxuries.
Unfortunately, the big spender doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late. They may get down to their last $500,000, or so, and realize they have another $2.5 million in debt to cover.
9 – Bad With Money to Begin With
Not every slots player is bad with money. Some strictly use disposable income on slot machines and treat these games as pure entertainment.
But the typical gambler isn’t a financial wizard, hence why they’re gambling in the first place. They may view slots spins as magical tickets that can bring them a windfall with the right amount of luck.
The same free-spinning mentality that leads to a jackpot can also lead to blowing lots of money. Winners commonly treat their wealth like its extra money they have to gamble with each week.
A big slots payout helps solve many financial problems. However, it can also bring short-term relief followed by long-term misery.
Most slots winners who hit huge jackpots aren’t equipped to handle their newfound riches. They may waste their money on boats, cars, diamonds, mansions, and other poor investments.
Unless they remain anonymous, they’ll also deal with friends and family who seek money. The latter may expect a portion of the winnings as either a handout or investment opportunity.
Additionally, the amount won isn’t the amount received. Taxes and annuity/lumpsum payments significantly reduce the actual payout.
Some people even let their winnings ride by continuing to play real money slots long after their windfall. They may be motivated by lavish comps given out by casinos.
Matters only become worse when the winner is bad with money to begin with. Most gamblers aren’t known for financial wizardry, especially when they suddenly receive a massive amount of money.
Of course, none of this is to say that chasing slots jackpots is a terrible idea. Jackpot slot machines can provide hours of entertainment and even deliver massive payouts.
However, gamblers should quickly formulate a plan if they do win big. Accountants, financial planners, and lawyers can help one hang onto their jackpot longer.
As for friends and family, a winner can always direct them to the financial team. The latter serves as a buffer between the jackpot holder and those begging for money.