Most casinos have sets of slot machines that are grouped by denomination called carousels. They usually have a theme that is designed to attract a certain kind of player. In Nevada, casinos advertise carousels with a higher payout, by using a slogan such as “Up to 97 per cent payout”. The disclaimer is the “up to” phrase, which means that only a few machines in the carousel may pay back as high as 97 per cent.
Carousels are sometimes linked together to calculate a progressive jackpot. These types of machines differ because the top jackpot is not a set amount, but increases as players deposit more money. For example, the top jackpot may increase by 20p for every pound played in the carousel. Every machine contributes to the jackpot, and the first machine to hit the jackpot symbols wins the award.
When the jackpot is won, the top award reverts to the minimum amount that is determined by the casino.
The Megabucks, Quartermania-style and Megalackpot slots are machines linked together between different casinos. The jackpots on these machines can reach the multi-million dollar level, much higher than individual casinos would be able to offer.
The machines are linked to a central computer by phone lines, cable, DSL or other communication systems, allowing the machines to communicate a running tab to the central jackpot controller of the portion of coins deposited in each machine which is predetermined to increment the jackpot. The jackpot is hit in the same method as a stand-alone game – when the random number generator of any machine on the network selects the top jackpot combination. Once verified, the jackpot message is sent to the central computer, which resets the jackpot to the predetermined minimum amount.
If you want to play progressive machines, deposit the maximum number of coins because you are not eligible for the top jackpot unless you do. Imagine how painful it would be to hit the winning combination and only have one coin in. Instead of winning, say, £3 million, you’d only win £3,000. It’s one of the few instances where winning would hurt.