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Ask the Slot Expert: Types of slot progressives17 June 2015
There are three types of progressives. The types are differentiated by where the machines that feed the progressive are located. The smallest progressive is the Stand-Alone Progressive. This is a machine that has one or more progressive jackpots and it is the only machine on which play increases the progressive(s).
The next step up in progressives is the In-House Progressive. In an In-House Progressive, multiple machines participate in the progressive network. The machines might be in one bank. They might be spread throughout the casino. They might even be in other casinos owned by the same company. The key point about the In-House Progressive is that all of the machines in the progressive link are located in casinos owned by one company.
The most expansive progressive is the Wide-Area Progressive. A Wide-Area Progressive has machines in multiple casinos owned by different companies. The most famous Wide-Area Progressives are Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune. Machines in a Wide-Area Progressive are usually limited to one gaming jurisdiction, but many Native American casinos have machines that participate in a link and there are now Wide-Area Progressives linking machines in Nevada, New Jersey and South Dakota.
A progressive machine is not necessarily a tight machine. The long-term payback on a stand-alone progressive can be just as high as that on the non-progressive machine right next to it. Similarly, the long-term payback on an In-House Progressive can be as high as on a non-progressive.
Wide-Area Progressives, however, are a different story. It takes money to operate the progressive controller and the communication lines that send data from the machines to the controller and jackpot amounts from the controller back to the machines. The company operating the link usually provides the machines at no cost to the casino in exchange for a portion of the win on the machines. As a result, Wide-Area Progressive machines have low long-term paybacks.
You can tell if the Wheel of Fortune machines you play are progressives by looking at them. A progressive machine has an LED or video display to show the amount of the progressive jackpot, which increases as the machine is played.
What will probably happen is that a slot floorperson will come and congratulate you on your big win. She might then remove your card and insert her own and enter a secret code to let the slot accounting system know that she is handling the jackpot. She will ask you for some identification so the accounting department can prepare your W-2G (I hope you've been keeping records so you can deduct your losses). She might even turn off the annoying jackpot music. It's probably going to take some time to validate a half-million dollar jackpot.
Eventually she'll return with your W-2G, a check and most likely a security guard and the on-duty slot manager or slot host, who'll refer to you by the name on the card and offer you a comped meal at the steakhouse or an upgraded room. At this point they'll discover that the card wasn't yours. All you have to say is that you don't have a card at the casino (I assume you don't have one because otherwise you would have pulled out the other card to insert yours), so you never noticed there was a card in the reader. The casino personnel will be more than happy to enroll you in the slot club. They'll use the identification you gave for the W-2G to enroll you. You won't even have to leave the machine; they'll bring the cards to you.
You'll still get the money. The players card cannot be used for identification and playing with another players card cannot be used to deny you a jackpot. The only things the casino can do if you violate a players club policy is suspend your account and revoke any benefits you may have earned.
I've noticed more slappers too. It seems that the faster a person is playing, the slappier they are.
Perhaps they're trying to bully the machine into paying them.
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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