It’s a given that anybody who plays casino games will have designs on winning a big prize. Cardsharps will hone their skills with a view to beating the house; poker players will look to psychology to beat the other players; even roulette players will believe in their strategy, despite the random nature of the game.
But when it comes to jackpots, and by jackpots, we mean the big, big prizes – sirens going off, life-changing sums of money – it’s probably something most of us only dream about. But have you ever wondered about the mechanics of the games? How does the game determine that this is the moment to bequeath the grand prize?
To appreciate how it works, we first need to look at what a jackpot is in casino games. Every game has a jackpot, i.e. a top prize, but what we are talking about here is progressive jackpots – those that grow bigger and bigger until they pop. SlotsHeaven has a large selection of jackpot casino games available for Canadian players, and you can see how the value ticks up every few seconds. That’s a progressive jackpot – ever-growing.
Jackpots funded by players’ wagers
The jackpot, or jackpots as some games will have more than one, are essentially funded by players. The casino will provide a base amount called a seed, which is typically something like $100K. After that, every bet on the game will provide a small amount to the jackpot fund. The player contribution is usually something in the region of 1%. So, for instance, each bet of $1 would add a cent to the jackpot fund. You don’t need to be a maths whizz to appreciate that it takes a huge number of spins to reach the multi-million-dollar levels that these games often award.
So, now that we know how the games are funded, how is the winner determined? The short answer is – randomly. The casino game uses RNG (random number generator) software to decide that the jackpot will pay when it reaches a specific amount. For example, the RNG might decide that the jackpot will pay as soon as it reaches $5,873,329.17. Importantly, the casino won’t know what that figure is, nor will anyone else.
Player who tips the balance will be awarded the prize
To understand how the winner is determined, we have to go back to that idea of player contribution. As we mentioned, each bet adds to the jackpot. So it is the player whose wager finally tips the counter to the RNG’s predetermined figure that will be awarded the prize. In this sense, it doesn’t even have to be a winning spin. It might just be a cent added to the pot, but it could be the all-important one that breaks the threshold.
Perhaps it is more pertinent to ask how likely (or unlikely) it is to win a progressive jackpot? Well, as you can see, we are dealing with huge numbers here. Jackpots act on economies of scale principles. In fact, they are often run by software developers, meaning the same prize is offered in different casinos and different countries. In essence, hundreds of thousands of players could be aiming for the same prize.
But casinos will also have in-house progressive jackpots, which are designed for a smaller pool of players. In addition, some progressive jackpots can be time-limited, so you will know that they will pay before, say midnight. These prizes might be a bit smaller, but they will still be huge sums of money and, in theory, your chances of winning one will be increased.