Maui woman hits
Vegas jackpot

She wins $2.2 million at "Wheel of
Fortune" at Main Street Station

By Mary Vorsino

A Maui woman became the latest Hawaii resident to win big in Las Vegas, hitting a $2.2 million jackpot at Main Street Station Monday night.

The woman, who asked casino personnel not to reveal her name, put $2 into a $1 "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine at about 9:30 p.m. and seconds later was stunned by spinning lights and high-pitched alarms announcing her jackpot.

"When she won, she was shocked" and didn't know what was happening, said Dave Brendmoen, publicity manager for Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns both the casino and the California Hotel, where the woman is staying.

The woman landed in Las Vegas about 8:30 p.m., checked in to her room and dropped $10 into California Hotel slot machines before walking across a connecting bridge to the Main Street casino and winning her millions.

The sum is paid in installments and will average an $80,000 to $90,000 yearly payout for about 20 years, Brendmoen said.

Monday's winner is the third Hawaii resident to win it big in the last eight months at the Main Street Station/California Hotel gambling complex.

In January, 72-year-old Hideko Sakamoto of Aiea won $3.6 million off a quarter "Wheel of Fortune" machine. And in December, Makiki resident David T. Tokunaga won $2.5 million.

On June 15, a Hawaii woman hit a $5 million jackpot on the $1 "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas strip.

"It's not real common," Brendmoen said. "(But) I've never seen that happen so frequently."

The latest winner was traveling on a Vacations Hawaii package, which is also owned by Boyd Gaming Corp. On the same night and in the same hotel, another Hawaii resident won $26,000 after dropping five quarters into a slot machine, said Hal Welch, a hotel slot director.

"People have a chance," Welch said.

The woman is expected to return to Maui on Friday.

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