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Ask the Slot Expert: Outcome of 88 Fortunes bonus predetermined?1 June 2016
Answer: A common misconception is that you leave behind state and federal laws and are subject to tribal regulations only once you step onto the reservation.
A Native American casino executive once told me that his casino was subject to stricter regulations than the non-Native American casinos near him. According to the Indian Gaming website, "tribal gaming is regulated by tribal governments, Congress, the Interior Department and the National Indian Gaming Commission, as well as by states under the terms of negotiated tribal-state gaming compacts" [so the casino can offer Class III games].
Games like bingo, pull-tabs and other non-banked games are defined as Class II games by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Tribes can self-regulate Class II games, but they must adopt "a gaming ordinance approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission" and they regulate with Commission oversight.
IGRA defines Class III gaming as anything that is not Class I (social games) or Class II. Class III includes the traditional casino table games and slot machines.
A Class III slot machine has an internal random number generator and determines the results of its spins independently of any other system. A Class II slot machine, on the other hand, is a bingo drawing under the hood and it depends on a bingo drawing conducted on a central server to determine its results.
The different way a Class II slot machine operates sometimes gives players the impression that bonus rounds are rigged and their choices don't matter. On old Class II machines, that was true. The outcome of the bonus round was determined by the bingo pattern covered in the base game. Players could associate patterns with bonus round outcomes.
To make the playing experience of Class II machines more like that on a Class III machines, some Class II machines use a separate bingo drawing to determine the outcome of the bonus round, so the outcome is no longer determined by the pattern covered in the base game. Your choices still don't matter — the outcome is still determined by a bingo drawing — but at least it's a separate drawing from the one that triggered the bonus round.
It's important to keep in mind the regulations under which a slot machine must operate. You can't assume that just because a particular slot game operates a certain way in your local casino, the slot game operates the same way in all other casinos.
Which brings us to the next question.
Answer: The original article was about how an 88 Fortunes machine does not reveal the "babies" under the coins at the conclusion of the bonus round. I feel that every machine that has a pick-em bonus should reveal the values under the items not picked at the conclusion of the bonus. Despite that, I surmised that the chances really are 1 in 4 for each progressive.
The writer of this question did not specify where his casino is. It's possible that he's playing a Class II machine that must use a bingo drawing to determine the progressive won instead of the player's choices. Even if this is the case, if the chances of hitting each progressive are 1 in 4, then the chances are the same as the Class III version and the machine is just as fair.
And now for a cliffhanger.
I'll go check out the 88 Fortunes slots at my local casinos to see if the linked machines reset the progressive before a player has completed the round.
You won't have to wait until next season for the answer. Just next week.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
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