Texas Woman Hits $302K Jackpot at McCarran International Airport
A Texas woman leaving Las Vegas via McCarran International Airport hit a huge jackpot prior to takeoff last week.
The airport’s Twitter feed posted a picture of a woman named Megan H. of Flower Mound, Texas, celebrating Thursday. She had her suitcase in tow when she decided to play a Wheel of Fortune slot. Her spins didn’t produce a bankrupt. Instead, she took a prize of more than $302,000 to her gate.
Another traveler happened to catch the moment Megan won on their camera.
This lady just hit a $300,000+ jackpot waiting for her flight at McCarran. pic.twitter.com/7mUuIG8TJz
— Las Vegas Locally (@LasVegasLocally) February 25, 2021
The slots at McCarran are a longstanding tradition, a way for travelers to pass the time – or in Megan’s case, strike it rich – before heading back home. Just last July, a traveler from California won more than $873,000 on a Wheel of Fortune slot.
The airport is home to approximately 1,400 slot machines. However, the number in operation now is about a third of that due to COVID-19 guidelines.
Slot Revenue Down at McCarran
Michael Gaughan, who also owns the South Point Hotel and Casino, has the license to operate slots in the airport. The agreement goes back to 1985.
Under the agreement, the Clark County Department of Aviation receives gaming fees from the slots. The money the airport authority gets from the slots goes into the capital improvement account. That fund pays for both future capital projects and outstanding authority debts.
Like other aspects of the Vegas gaming scene, the slots at McCarran are struggling thanks to fewer visitors.
In the most recent quarterly report, for the period ending Sept. 30, the airport reported gaming fees of just $3.6 million. That’s down 61.6 percent from the same period in 2019, when it received $9.6 million in fees.
For the same quarter, passengers at McCarran declined by 61.9 percent.
Name Change on the Way?
One initiative money from slots will not fund is the potential name change for the Las Vegas airport.
While Pat McCarran championed civil aviation while serving as a Democratic Nevada US Senator, critics have pointed to his antisemitic and racist views. Those critics not only include current Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation but the presidents of Nevada’s top two public universities as well. Among them is former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who currently serves as president of the University of Nevada.
The push is now to rename the airport after another Democratic senator, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Like McCarran, Reid has been a longtime public servant in the state. His background includes serving as the lieutenant governor, a congressman, and chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the cost to change the airport’s name could run up to $7 million. That’s more than three times the estimate given when proponents first proposed changing the name a decade ago.
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerbloom has said that any money used to change the name will come from private sources.
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