POSTED: 11:41 p.m. HST, Feb 25, 2012
LAS VEGAS >> Marine Cpl. Alexander Degenhardt is crediting karma for landing a $2.9 million progressive slot jackpot in Las Vegas.
Degenhardt was accepted as a bone marrow donor to an anonymous patient only a couple of days before hitting the jackpot Sunday at the Bellagio, the Las Vegas Sun reported (http://bit.ly/ABQ02J).
"They asked me if I was sure I wanted to go through with it because it's kind of painful, but what's a little pain if it will save someone's life?" Degenhardt said. "I look at this jackpot as kind of good karma for that."
Degenhardt, 26, said he plans to continue his career with the Marines and go through with the bone marrow donation, which is expected to occur in the next six months after extensive testing.
He and several fellow Marines had flown to Las Vegas from Washington, D.C., where he's stationed, for a week of training at Nellis Air Force Base. He said he decided to kill a couple of hours before the return flight by playing the penny slot, which takes bets from 40 cents to $2, at the Bellagio. He landed the jackpot about 10 minutes later.
"I figured I'd just go lose $100 real quick," he said. "I was overwhelmed and in shock. It's something you always want to happen, but when it does happen you don't believe it."
Degenhardt, who will receive about $100,000 a year over 20 years, said he plans to first help his pregnant sister and his mother catch up on bills.
He decided to buy some clothes after the jackpot — at a thrift store, where he buys all of his clothes. He said he won't part with his car that has rolled up some 250,000 miles, either.
"I plan to keep driving it until I can't anymore," he told the Sun. "No sense in wasting money. I'm really pretty thrifty."
The Bally Technologies' Money Vault slot machine at the Bellagio is linked with casinos across Nevada. It was the second largest jackpot ever for Bally, which makes the machines and pays out the jackpots.