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I Was Today Years Old When I Learned: Gambling Facts and Statistics

When you work in a certain field long enough, your head inevitably becomes full of miscellaneous facts and figures. It’s like a junk drawer which you keep adding things to until it won’t close properly. These interesting and fun facts about (online) gambling are as random as the winning numbers in the roulette game.

Image: shutterstock_45144787 

17. How Much of the $1.34B Mega Millions Jackpot Did the Winner Actually Take Home?

On July 29th, 2022 the whopping $1.34 billion jackpot was won by a single ticket that had been sold at a gas station in suburban Chicago, Illinois. It is the third largest jackpot in the US history.

The prize was split between two people who have bought the winning ticket in a partnership and wished to remain anonymous.  It took them several weeks of legal and financial consulting before they came forward to claim the prize.

Since the Mega Millions winners have opted to cash in their winnings right away (as opposed to the annuity), they settled for the lump sum payment of $780.5 million. Furthermore, IRS also has a 37% stake in every winning lottery ticket a.k.a. federal income tax. The state of Illinois will have its 4.95%. Thus, Mega Millions payout after taxes comes to about $450 million.

5. Kahnawake Phenomenon

Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton passionately advocated for opening a casino in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake (with pop. around 7,500 people).  Three times the Mohawk Council have organized a referendum (1994, 2003 and 2012) and each time the proposal didn’t get enough support from the local community.

Nevertheless, Joseph Norton did manage to turn Kahnawake into a popular destination for gamblers.

At the turn of the millennium, online gambling was getting quite popular but the cumbersome legislative systems of large markets such as the USA, Canada and the UK didn’t react to the fact at that time. It was smaller jurisdictions like Kahnawake that saw the opportunity and were more than happy to accommodate the new fast-growing market.

The history of online gambling in Kahnawake began with a development of a regulatory framework for the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and CA$2.5 million investment in a data center which they called Mohawk Internet Technologies, or MIT for short (we see what you did there!).

And sure enough, Kahnawake did become an online gambling hub for a while. Great many best payout online casinos with the latest online slots from top-notch software providers used to have a Kahnawake gambling license back in the day.

Image: Google Street View of the MIT building in Kahnawake; Joseph Tokwiro Norton (1949-2020)

32. Is Online Gambling Legal in Australia?

Unfortunately, online gambling providers are prohibited from offering or advertising any services to Aussie players.

While the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake saw a great business opportunity in spreading of Internet casinos, other governments deemed online gambling to pose a significant threat to their citizens. Thus, in 2001 Aussie MPs proposed a bill that would “prohibit Australia-based interactive gambling operators from providing services to customers in Australia and restrict the access for Australian players to offshore Internet gambling sites”.

However, there was some kind of a loophole that made it possible for the overseas fastest payout online casino Australia or any other gambling sites outside the Land Down Under to offer interactive gambling services to Australian punters unpunished.

It took another 16 years for the government to react and come up with the 2017 Amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which completely outlawed offshore online gambling operators offering services to Aussies which resulted in over 150 companies leaving the Australian online gambling market.  

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) regularly goes on witch-hunts and requests domestic internet service providers to block access to more and more offshore online casino sites.

00. The First Web Online Casino Ever

Speaking of online gambling, first web casino software was created by Microgaming in 1994. To be fair, the wording leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Since I was an elementary school kid in the mid-90’s, all I can do is to dig into the Internet archives, from which I can tell that there are two contestants for the title of the first web online casino ever with real-money payments:

  • Gaming Club

  • Inter Casino

According to the service who.is, the Gaming Club Casino website was registered in April, 1997. The gambling site, powered by Microgaming, has been in operation for 25 years now and claims to be the very first Internet casino.

However, it seems that there is a more eligible contender for the title. The InterCasino website was registered on the world wide web a year earlier – in March, 1996. The gaming software for the online casino was created by the Dublin-based company CryptoLogic.

24. Covid-19 in Las Vegas

It is hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and dramatically impacted our lives.  Paraphrasing one quote, “adversity of one man is tragic, adversity of a million is only statistics”. So, let’s look at some statistics.

Image: The number of visitors to Las Vegas plummeted in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions

Since 2012, the annual number of visitors to Las Vegas has been pretty stable – around or above 40 million people. However, when the pandemic with its endless lockdowns and travel restrictions hit in the spring of 2020, that number was cut in half.

As Vegas is recuperating from downturn and returning to the pre-pandemic levels of tourism activity, people are actively searching information on Las Vegas, Nevada Covid-19 restrictions.

Currently, all restrictions like mask mandates and capacity limits have been lifted. If you are planning on visiting the gambling capital of the world, we recommend that you check https://www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas-smart/ for updates.

8. Megaways™ Paylines

What is the highest number of paylines do you think a slot machine can have? Nine, twenty-five, up to a hundred maybe? How about 117,649 ways to win?

Image: 5 Lions Megaways slot by Pragmatic Play can have up to 117,649 winning lines

Megaways™ is a unique slot mechanic developed by Australian software studio Big Time Gaming in 2015. The key feature of the Megaways slots is a random reel modifier. While the number of reels is fixed, the number of symbols that can land in each reel varies with every new spin, thus changing the number of active paying lines.

Most Megaways slot games have 7 reels fixed with the number of symbols to land in each reel varying from 1 to 7 which can result in appearance of 117,649 ways to win. However, there are also Megaways slots with up to 1,000,000 active paylines and even such titles as Tiki Infinity Reels Megaways™ that in theory have infinite number of winning combinations.

These were some interesting facts about gambling that we retrieved from our drawer. Thanks for sticking around and helping tidy up this mess. See you next time and good luck!