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Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

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Wide-area progressives

28 September 2011

Hi John,

A three-part question:

1-When there is a progressive slot machine game that is linked to many casinos, are the long-term payout percentages the same across all the casinos or can each casino set their own payout percentage?

2-Over the long-term is it more likely that the progressive indicated in (1) above will be won at casinos that have more play time or is the RNG that selects the winning progressive just as likely to hit at a very small casino as it is in a very large casino, i.e. the same amount of play per slot machine at a large casino that has 10 times as many machines than the very small casino, will, over the long-term have 10 times as many winners in the large casino?

3-Is the progressive amount paid by the casino the responsibility of the casino where the progressive is won or does it come out of some set aside money fund that is the responsibility of all the casinos that participate in the slot game?

I enjoy your columns very much.

You truly are the slot and video poker expert.

All the best,
Steve

Dear Steve,

Thanks for the kind words.

Progressive slot machines that are found in multiple casinos run by different companies are known as wide-area progressives. The machines are owned by the manufacturer and provided to the casinos on a participation basis, which means that the casino and the manufacturer split the money won on the machines. The long-term paybacks on all of the machines are the same because no casino would allow the machines on its slot floor if one of its competitors was able to offer a higher long-term payback.

Each machine on the link is just as likely to hit the big progressive jackpot as any other machine. If a large casino has more machines than a small casino, it's more likely that the jackpot will hit in the large casino, but that's just a result of the number of machines in each casino. A player is just as likely to hit the big progressive on any machine regardless of how many there are in the casino.

The progressive jackpot is paid by the manufacturer, not the casino. There are two components to the jackpot: the reset amount and the progressive rake. The reset amount is the amount the jackpot resets to after being hit. It comes out of the manufacturer's bankroll. The progressive rake is the amount that is added to the jackpot with each play on a machine on the link. This money comes from the players. So the manufacturer only has to pony up the reset amount. The rest of the big jackpot comes from the players.

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