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Las Vegas Casino Opens with $4.6 Million Winner

The Mirage Hotel-Casino opened in 1989 on the Las Vegas strip, bringing with it a new age of mega-resorts. A few days after the opening, on November 24, 1989, the Associated Press covered the story of Elmer Sherwin, who won the largest jackpot in Vegas history at the Mirage.

Las Vegas Casino Opens with $4.6 Million Winner
Las Vegas -- A new casino had barely opened its doors when a 76-year-old retiree broke the bank for $4.6 million after borrowing $20 from his ex-wife to feed the $1 slot machine.

Elmer Sherwin hit the jackpot Wednesday night only nine hours after The Mirage, a Las Vegas strip hotel-casino opened for business. He played a slot machine 90 minutes before coming up the big winner.

Sherwin spent $80 of his own money, then borrowed $20 more from former wife, Florence, to continue playing, a Mirage spokesman said.

The Las Vegas man hedged during a news conference yesterday when asked whether he would remarry his former wife.

"She won't have me," Sherwin said.

"He said that, not me," she piped up. She said the two were "still buddies" after divorcing 13 years ago after 25 years of marriage.

The $4.6 million Megabucks jackpot -- which links slot machines in dozens of casinos across the state to accumulate big jackpots -- was the largest payoff in Las Vegas history but did not surpass the Nevada record of $6.8 million won in Reno.

The $630 million Mirage Hotel opened Wednesday at noon.

The 3,049-room hotel is the first new resort on the Strip in 15 years and has sparked a $2.5 billion building boom in the gaming and entertainment capital.

Associated Press

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