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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Tribal Casinos Have Edge with Wide-Area Progressives

8 June 2010

One huge advantage that tribal casinos have over state-regulated casinos in the Chicago-area market is the availability of wide-area progressive slot machines that are capable of awarding jackpots in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

When jackpots are funded by banks of machines that are networked in properties state-wide or even around the country, huge progressive awards are made possible by the vast number of people who play the games.

One of the most popular genres of these slot games comes from International Game Technology (IGT) in the form of MegaJackpots. Machines are available in many themes in different denominations, but something they have in common is the ability to make slot players instantly rich.

It happened to Louise L., a retiree from Granger, Indiana, on Mother's Day. She won $1,771,619 playing a quarter Wheel of Fortune Special Edition MegaJackpot machine at Four Winds Casino resort in New Buffalo, Michigan.

The whopping sum was the largest single MegaJackpot payout among the 11 such prizes on a variety of IGT progressive systems totaling over $5 million Four Winds has awarded since it opened its doors in the summer of 2007.

Louise was brought to the casino by her daughter to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, May 9. She said she had played about $60 on the machine when the magical spin occurred.

The Wheel of Fortune Special Edition progressive has a starting jackpot of $500,000. In order to win the MegaJackpot, five Wheel of Fortune symbols must line up across the machine's pay line with a maximum bet wagered.

Four Winds is one of over 300 tribal casinos across the nation that belongs to a 17-state Native American progressive gaming network. Any time a coin is played in a linked machine anywhere along the network, the cumulative Megajackpot continues to grow until it is won.

"I play this type of machine when I come here," Louise said. "I've won money on them before."

Never to the tune of $1.7 million, a portion of which she said she will use to assist a food pantry and homeless shelter located in South Bend, Indiana.

The world record for a MegaJackpot is $39,713,982.25 which was won on March 21, 2003 at the Excalibur Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas by a 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles.

It came on MegaBucks, a three-coin dollar game that was the trailblazer of wide-area progressives.. At the time the world record hit, the progressive had built up over a period of 10 months without a winner. It has been estimated the odds against winning the MegaBucks jackpot are 50 million to one.

Something else has to be taken into account with top-award progressives: The maximum credits per spin must be played in order to become eligible to claim the prize. Some people who make the ill-advised decision to play less than max coins on progressives are just as likely to line up the jackpot symbols as anybody. When that happens, there's a payout but a fraction of what it would have been with the full amount of play.

When a player beats the millions to one odds to be eligible for a MegaJackpot but isn't eligible for the prize, mathematical probability remains consistent but the jackpot carries on.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp