2 win millions on same slot loop in minutes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 8, 2000

Louis White, left, holds a check for more than $2 million presented by the Isle of Capri Casino after he hit the jackpot on the progressive slot. At right, Robert Baldwin holds his check for more than $200,000 after winning in the same progressive slot betting loop. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

Two gamblers at Vicksburg’s Isle of Capri Casino really beat the odds Wednesday night, hitting back-to-back jackpots on progressive slot machines for a total of more than $2.7 million.

Louis White of Carroll, Ohio, was the first big winner when he hit for $2.5 million. About a half an hour later Robert Baldwin of Chicago Ridge, Ill., hit a $204,000 jackpot on another progressive slot machine hooked into the same betting loop.

“This is the first time this has ever happened,” said Kim Tullos, general manager of the Isle.

After the two players won, they were invited to stay overnight in the hotel adjacent to the Isle so they could meet with officials of International Game Technology, the operators of the Wheel of Fortune MegaJackpot slot machine loop in Mississippi.

Terrie Kerner, MegaJackpots representative for Mississippi, said the loop includes slot machines in all Mississippi casinos except Silver Star near Philadelphia.

White, a retired Greyhound bus driver, said he had put $20 in the machine and still had 31 quarters to his credit when he hit the big jackpot just after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A regular customer of casinos, White said he regularly visits Vicksburg on the way to and from visits to a daughter who lives in Lilburn, Ga., and while on his way to Tucson, Ariz.

“During the year, I normally spend four or five months in Arizona, but not all at one time,” he said.

White said he likes to gamble and indulges frequently, mostly at Laughlin, Nev.

He said this is not his first big win.

“Last June, I won $1,000 on a $5 bet,” he said.

White said he’s thinking about building himself a house with his winnings.

Baldwin had put $20 in a different slot machine that is hooked into the same progressive betting loop and still had 55 quarters to his credit when he hit his $204,000 win.

Kerner said the difference in the size of the jackpots is because the loop resets to $200,000 whenever someone wins, and the amount had not had time to build up very high when Baldwin hit the right combination on his machine.

The winner said he also has plans for some of his winnings.

“I’m going to pay some bills. You know those credit cards can get to you,” he said.

Baldwin said he was in Vicksburg on a side trip to do a little gambling while he was in Mississippi visiting brothers and sisters who live in Canton and Jackson.

Kerner said each of the winners left Vicksburg with a bank draft for one-twentieth of his winnings.

“Within five days a representative of IGT will contact them and see how they want the balance paid,” she said.

The winners have the option of taking a lump sum for the remainder of their jackpots or taking 1/20th of it each year for 19 more years.

The largest payout at a Vicksburg casino was at Rainbow in June when a Texas man hit for $9.8 million.