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Elko gold miner hits $12.5M Megabucks jackpot

A 64-year-old gold miner from Northern Nevada said he plans to continue working after he won Nevada’s latest Megabucks jackpot for more than $12 million.

Efren Aguirre of Elko recently hit the jackpot at Gold Dust West Casino in Elko, the Elko Daily Free Press reported.

The jackpot was for $12,515,708.83.

“He had $100 in the machine and it hit on the seventh spin,” Gold Dust West Marketing Manager Stacey Yurmanovic Sawyer told the newspaper.

His wife, Maria, was at another machine when he told her he won. She cashed out to see how much her husband received.

“I didn’t believe it, and then my tears come out and I ask him if he’s OK,” she told the newspaper.

Efren Aguirre said he came to the United States for “more money” but never expected this much.

He immigrated from Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, in 1968. He began working in the mining industry in 1973 and has worked for Newmont for 16 years.

He is a rock breaker operator in the underground.

Aguirre said he wants to keep working to “stay busy.”

Maria said the first thing friends asked was if Efren was going to quit his job.

“He said ‘No, I’m going back to work,’ ” Maria Aguirre said.

The couple told the Free Press they are going to save most of the money. However, he and his wife of 44 years plan to buy their “dream house” on Beverly Circle in Elko.

“Oh my god, it’s beautiful, the house,” Maria Aguirre said.

Megabucks is a progress slot system operated by International Game Technology. The jackpot begins at $10 million and is reset to that amount after a jackpot.

According to a website that tracks Megabucks, it is the first time the big jackpot was hit in Elko. IGT said it is largest jackpot payout for Gold Dust West.

The newspaper reported that the Aguirres said they took a one-time payment, after taxes, on the winnings.

The last previous Megabucks jackpot in Nevada was hit at Westgate Las Vegas in March 2015 for $10.7 million. The all-time high record Megabucks jackpot in Nevada was $39.7 million hit at Excalibur in 2003.

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