A grandmother playing a penny slot machine wins her second major jackpot in less than a year

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 09, 2005 08:00 AM

Lightning of the best kind has struck twice for Jo Ann Argyris, a self-employed single mother of two and a grandmother of three from Boulder City, Nevada, who hit the jackpot in Las Vegas – incredibly winning $1 million for the second time in less than a year … on a penny slot machine.

“I saw the symbols, but it just didn’t seem possible,” said Argyris, who has astounded gambling experts.

“You’re looking at odds in either the billions or trillions,” Anthony Curtis, president of lasvegasadvisor.com, a consumer newsletter that tracks casino promotions and gambling trends, tells the Associated Press.

In June, Argyris won her first $1 million jackpot on a slot machine at Sunset Station casino in Henderson. The second win came Thursday night at the Railroad Pass casino, where she had been playing for 10 minutes. Her investment: about $35.

“My daughter looked over at the machine, and said, ‘Mom, you did it again,'” Argyris said. “When I realized it, I just put my head on her shoulder and cried.”

Though there’s plenty of money, the wins didn’t quite catapult Argyris into Donald Trump status. Nevada gaming regulations allow the prize to be awarded in installments – $50,000 annually for 20 years. However, as she did last year, Argyris accepted a lump sum discounted payment for the jackpot: slightly more than $400,000 after taxes and fees.

Last year, she used the winnings to pay off her mortgage, remodel her house and take 10 family members on a cruise to Mexico.

By Friday, Argyris said her grandson was already planning this year’s trip. “He immediately wanted to know where we going,” she said. “I’m thinking Hawaii.”