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Can casinos avoid paying large progressive jackpots?

23 February 2009

John,

I go to Atlantic City on a regular basis. I was following the outcome of one particular $0.05 progressive machine. I know the various other casinos participate in the progressive jackpot and any of the participating machines have the opportunity to win. I would follow this machine each visit and it approached $10,000,000. Suddenly, on one of my visits the machine was gone. Other machines were in its place and there was no report on a payout of over $10,000,000 in the local news. The particular machine in question was Frank Sinatra. I realize other participating progressive slots may have been identified under a different name. Is that a technique used by casinos to avoid large potential payouts?

Thank you,
Jim

Dear Jim,

The casino can't avoid paying progressive jackpots. If a casino wants to remove a progressive slot machine or wide-area (multi-machine) link, New Jersey regulations require that it wait until someone hits the progressive before shutting down the machine(s). Alternatively, the casino can shut the machine or machines down before someone hits the jackpot, but it must move the progressive jackpot to another machine or link.

I couldn't find any report about someone hitting the Frank Sinatra machine either. If, as you mention, other slot games participated in the same progressive, the casino could remove the Sinatra machine at will because it was still possible to win the progressive on other machines. If the Sinatra machines had their own progressive, then the progressive jackpot must have been moved to another link.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots