If you have ever walked into one of the casino floors of Las Vegas, or played at a major online casino, you will have undoubtedly noticed the big banners touting the jackpot prizes of some of the games.
You will have also noticed that these prizes are constantly counting upwards, but have you ever thought of the mechanics behind these prizes?
How do they create such large jackpots? How do they determine who wins them? The answers are quite intriguing; not just for the technology, but the economics and methodology behind them.
The Methods and Technology Behind Progressive Jackpot Networks:
A good place to start is by asking the question: What is a progressive jackpot? If you look at a site like Mansion Casino, which is known for featuring progressive slots from the biggest games developers, you will see lots of titles in its jackpot section.
Some prizes will have banners touting jackpots of £1 million+, others £500K, and so on. While Mansion hosts these games, and it will pay you should you win on the main game, it does not manage the progressive jackpot. That falls to the developers of the games – Playtech, Microgaming, NetEnt, etc.
Economies of Scale:
The fact that individual casinos do not manage the jackpot prize is important to understand the mechanics of the prizes. Developers will license their games to multiple casinos, across the world in some cases.
Every spin on a jackpot game will pay a small amount into the prize fund. Normally, it’s about 1% of the wager, so it is not enough for the player to notice or to impact the other prizes on the slot.
If the average bet were, say, £1, it would mean that 100 million spins would be needed to grow the jackpot to £1 million.
That’s a lot of spins, so the only way it’s possible to make huge jackpots is to use economies of scale, i.e. spread out those spins across many casinos. This is referred to as a jackpot network.
So, how is it determined that you can win a jackpot? The developers use random number generators (RNGs) to determine the outcome.
In short, the RNG will decide that the jackpot will pay when it reaches a specific figure, say £3,732,127.89. This figure remains unknown to everyone, including the casino.
So, if it is your spin that tips the jackpot figure over the threshold, it will be you who walks away with the fortune.
RNGs Decide the Outcome:
As such, the reward is deemed to be random. However, the mathematics involved means that your chances increase when you play for a higher stake.
Why? Because if you are playing for 10p per spin, you will be adding a 10th of a penny to the fund, and thus you are less likely to tip the threshold than if you were playing for £100 per spin and adding a £1 to the prize.
If you are reading this, you’ll probably be a little skeptical about your chances of winning a progressive jackpot. Indeed, players tend to think of them in the same sense of buying a lottery ticket; the size of the prizes make that comparison an apt one.
However, there are some important factors to point out. First, the jackpot games will have plenty of other ways to win, so it’s not as if you are only playing just to win the top prize.
Secondly, a lot of new jackpot concepts have arrived recently. For instance, some casinos will host daily progressive jackpots, where the award must be won before a certain time of the day.
Others will have countdowns where the jackpot must be triggered before it hits, for example, £10K. This is a little more targeted, and it should, in theory, give players a better chance of triggering the top award.