Two people hit slot machine jackpots, each worth nearly $2 million, within a week of one another, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced Tuesday in a new initiative intended to publicize the high jackpots being won in Atlantic City.

The latest one came Aug. 2 at Bally’s Atlantic City when a patron playing the $1 Million Dollar Rewards slot machine hit a $1.6 million jackpot. Six days earlier, a patron playing on a penny Millionaire Sevens machine at Trump Plaza hit for $1.9 million.

More than $500,000 was won in slot machines offering jackpots of $75,000 or more within the past 30 days. More than $7 million has been awarded since June, the DGE said.

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“The publication of these jackpots is seen as the next step for increasing public awareness of our regulations and to share statistics that have been compiled as a result of those regulations,” DGE Director David Rebuck said in a statement.

The odds of hitting the jackpot in the penny slots was more than 25 million to one, according to Laura Olson-Reyes, a spokeswoman for Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies, which manufactured the Millionaire Sevens machine.

Wide-area progressive slot machines that sit in two or more casinos but are linked together by computer are generally the only slots that offer high-dollar jackpots. The jackpot grows as more people play the machines, with a percentage of each bet used to fund the prize pool until the jackpot is hit.

“If you’re jackpot hunting, progressives are an option,” said John Grochowski, who writes a Gaming Guru column for The Press of Atlantic City.

Over the long run, the casino and slot machine manufacturer make money because of the many people who play the slot machine. However, the odds of hitting the jackpot remain the same.

“Any possible result can happen on any pull,” Grochowski said.

Progressive slot machines also are expected to take another leap forward later this year with the introduction of machines that are linked together across state lines. A bill authorizing mobile device gambling that was signed into law earlier this year also authorized multistate progressive slots.

Temporary regulations were introduced and will become effective later this month, according to the DGE. The first such machines will be operational before the end of the year, officials said.

The timetable depends on slot machine manufacturers receiving approval in New Jersey as well as in other states where they would be installed. The DGE also would have to iron out an agreement with the regulatory authority in the participating state.

Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania would not be able to offer similar machines, according to the DGE.

Grochowski said he has seen multistate progressive slot machines only in Native American casinos. New Jersey would be among the first to offer such machines outside those casinos, he said.

“That would be pioneering,” Grochowski said.

Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun recently became part owner of Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and would be among those eligible to offer such machines. A spokeswoman for the company could not be reached for comment.

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