Must Win Jackpots: A Gambling Renaissance Or Smoke And Mirrors?
They are the football World Cup equivalent of casino jackpots. There just has to be a winner. Must win jackpots have started to revolutionise the online casino industry among players and they are beginning to be a selling point for most.
The majority of online casinos now offer must win jackpots and it is evident to see why these are so in-demand. Having the opportunity to win copious amounts of money at no extra cost is like having a golden ticket to the chocolate factory, except the rewards are a hundred to a thousand, to a hundred thousand times sweeter.
There are a number of ‘must win’ or daily jackpots, all of which amount to different values and appropriate to certain games. PaddyPower, for example, has a ‘Monster Jackpot’ which is often in the six figure range and can be won on any spin for as little as the smallest possible stake. The Daily Jackpot, which generally hovers between four and five figures has to be won by a certain time every day, while the cash booster jackpot needs to be won before it reaches a particular amount in the region of the lower four figures.
Though, is it really as simple as it sounds? How random are the payouts? And, ultimately, how is the RTP calculated?
Must win or nothing to lose?
The beauty of the must win jackpots, is just that; they must be won within either a certain daily time frame or before the prize fund hits a certain limit.
It is one, almost guaranteed way that online casinos ensure that they keep their most committed players hooked to their slots, which are the gateway to winning the ‘must win’ jackpots.
Working in a similar fashion to progressive jackpots, these must win or daily jackpots are based on players being able to play in a dedicated online room that features slots which all contribute towards a daily jackpot.
What this means, is that a percentage of every player’s stake for these particular slots all feed into one big jackpot, which keeps increasing as more wagers are made.
Essentially, because there are often hundreds or thousands of players wagering on these slots at any given time, the jackpot increases considerably in a small amount of time and the suspense of knowing that it can be won at any point entices players to keep on wagering.
Even when they are won though, these are reset and the process is repeated, which begs the question, at what point is the jackpot triggered?
Determining the jackpot slots
Can we assume a correlation between jackpots and slot popularity? Would jackpots exist if the slots weren’t enticing, or interactive enough to play?
The fact that jackpots account for being one of the USPs of an online casino, it naturally follows that there needs to be a strong enough hook to ensure that players keep on wagering and subsequently topping up the jackpot.
So, how do online casinos decide which slots will be popular enough in order to feature them as jackpot slots? Because, the assumption is that while the jackpot is tempting, in order to create a jackpot you need to have interest in the slot.
You can’t have a buyer without a seller or a seller without a buyer; this is the same scenario. Factors which likely come into consideration include which software developers actually made the slot in the first place, how popular they are and how much marketing is behind it.
Slots which are engineered by the likes of Playtech or NetEnt, will invariably attract more players, though striking a balance between the amount of slots from one supplier which are offered in the jackpot rooms and as a normal casino game is a methodical process.
RTP (return to player) is another factor that will weigh into any decision-making process. The majority of slots which feature in daily jackpots average a 95% RTP which is respectable and keeps players hooked for long enough.
When players know that they will win regularly, it is enough to keep them wagering and, if the slot is associated with a daily jackpot, a portion of these regular wagers tops up the jackpot amounts. While the psychology behind it makes sense, it is easy to wonder how much a player must wager before they even have a chance of winning one of the jackpots, or is it completely random?
What triggers the jackpot payout?
Is It Random?
Despite many suggestions that payouts for online casinos aren’t random, this in theory is utterly ludicrous when it is thought about and considered logically.
Firstly, every online casino is regulated and authorised by a relevant governing body such as the UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) who work in conjunction with specialist, elite testing agencies, which are self-financed and not susceptible in any way to any bribes.
These testing agencies, such as eCOGRA act as independent auditors who scrutinise the mechanics of every game and apply highly sophisticated technology to ensure fairness tests for payouts, frequency and legitimacy.
It means that when it comes to payout triggers for jackpots, they really are as random as they claim to be. While there are variables involved such as, some must be won on a daily basis, or before they reach a certain limit, there is no definitive answer as to when these occur.
Any foul play and the gambling authorities would come down heavily on any online casino seen to be rigging must win jackpots and brands simply cannot risk ruining their reputation in such a competitive market and an industry where customer loyalty is fickle.
Do You Have More Chance If You Play More?
Life tends to work on according to a number of laws, one of them more commonly known as the law of averages, gambling is no different. But, delving deeper into this, the simple implication suggests that the longer you play or more that you wager, the more chance you have of winning.
Perhaps there is an element of truth to that, especially if you are competing against the house and hoping to get blackjack.
This though, is a number of selected slots where you are competing against any number of other players to win a jackpot, which increases incrementally based on the number of wagers being made within a time period.
While machine learning and artificial intelligence is slowly becoming a part of how online casinos operate, it may not be too radical to suggest that more progress has been made than many would guess, especially if understanding how triggers work.
Programming an algorithm to understand and then think for itself as to how and when a must win jackpot is paid out isn’t necessarily impossible. If hedge fund technology can advise quantitative analysts when to buy and sell stocks, it all of a sudden becomes very possible.
It perhaps wouldn’t be impossible to engineer the mechanics of jackpots in a way that analyses everything from how long players have been playing a particular slot, the amount that each player has wagered, how many historical payouts they have had and to what value.
Therefore, it would follow, that this can be done for every other player and cross-referenced with the times that the jackpot has paid out on a daily basis to understand or even reach an estimate on what time a payout would occur and to whom.
Even an algorithmic trader would have a hard time figuring out the odds for that, never mind your average bookmaker. So, is it necessarily a bad thing if all of these variables were programmed into an algorithm to determine fairness for must win payouts?
If every must win jackpot at every online casino applied the same technology in the interests of fairness, does this mean that triggers are rigged, or simply backed up with enough intelligence to do a fair job?
The upshot is that, just like in football where it only a takes a second to score a goal, you can apply the same logic to winning a ‘must win’ jackpot.