The dream of instant riches, nothing is more alluring than the thought of suddenly becoming rich. That desire has made the Wheel of Fortune, Megabucks, and other high jackpot slot machines so popular. Year after year the Wheel of Fortune and Megabucks slot machines continue to be a favorite of casino goers. Even people that don’t really like to play slots will throw $20 in a machine to see if they can hit a life changing jackpot. My personal favorite is when the casino “comps” (free) a certain number of max credit plays on Megabucks, which is currently at 15 million. That allows me to play without any guilt because they’re FREE!
Most of the real high value jackpots are progressive jackpots. Progressive means the jackpot continues to increase as the machine is played; until someone hits it then it goes back to the reset value. Progressive jackpots can be several jackpots put together into one. They link together many different slot machines and as people play any of the machines that are linked, the jackpot rises. The machines can be all in the same casino, or sometimes they are in several different casinos. Those are the machines that offer the Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune jackpots for millions of dollars.
As gamblers, we must ask ourselves what is the cost of playing these life altering machines. Well, let’s think this out logically. How in the world can a casino afford to payout a couple million dollars on a 25 cent or $1 denomination slot machine where the jackpot is usually a few thousand dollars?
There are two answers:
1. The first answer consists of the payback percentage. Payback percentage is the amount of money that the casino pays out to the players. For all the money that is put into the machine the percentage that the casino pays back to the customers as winnings is known as the payback percentage. In other words, if a casino takes in $100,000 on a specific slot machine, and during that same time period the machine pays out $90,000, the payback percentage would be 90%
Don’t get confused by payback percentage. It doesn’t mean if you sit down at a machine that has a 95% payback and put $100 in that you will play and get $95 back. That would be kind of pointless. What it means is over millions of spins 95% of the money will be returned to the players and the casino will profit 5%.
The problem with all of the high jackpot slot machines is they are set with very low payback percentages. They are usually set in the 80-88% percentile which is terrible. Again, looking at it logically the casino has to keep more money to help pay for that large progressive payout because it sure isn’t coming out of their profit.
2. The other reason the jackpot can rise so high has to do with the odds of hitting the jackpot. The odds on some high progressive slots are as bad as 1 in 35 million. You have a better chance of hitting the regular lottery. You probably have a better chance of finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The odds are so high it often takes years until someone hits the jackpot. In fact, the last time the $1 Megabucks was hit was in June of 2011 for 15 million dollars.
The Wheel-of-Fortune and Megabucks slot machines are a guilty pleasure and I must confess, even as an advantage gambler, I have fallen victim to the allure of instant riches. I don’t do it often and I never put in a lot of money, but every once in a while I’ll put $20 or $40 in and play. I’ll fantasize about what I would do with the money as I hit the spin button, but my fantasy is always ruined by losing all my credits. That’s why I like free comp plays because I can tell myself it’s not my money (in reality it is but that’s for another discussion).
We can all enjoy the fantasy of winning the jackpot on the large progressive slot machines like the Wheel of Fortune and Megabucks, but don’t let this fantasy turn into an obsession because these machines will take your money FAST!
What’s your favorite slot machine to play? Do you like Wheel of Fortune and Megabucks? Let me know your thoughts.