How Does the Grand Progressive Jackpot Get Awarded?

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Lightning Link with a fixed Grand jackpot

Players seem to be curious about the concept of banked machines, as our submitted questions have shown lately. Here’s one such example:

My question pertains to a bank of machines that share the same grand jackpot. When the grand pays, does it randomly pick a machine at that moment or does it “know” ahead of time, which machine it will go to. Can it pay to one person playing? (All other machines empty)

Sherrie R.

In this case, neither approach will work within a standard Vegas-style system. That’s because any outcome is supposed to be available at any time on any machine. Machines being linked doesn’t change that requirement.

In that way, it’s not like a sweepstakes, where a prize could be awarded to a random player at a specific time, and it’s not like other gambling systems, where the known winners and losers are established ahead of time.

Instead, each game still works independently. Each game can, on any spin, yield a Grand jackpot. All the machines in a bank contribute to the growth of the progressive, and when one machine awards the Grand, it resets and they start again.

So it’s not impossible, although highly unlikely, two different machines in a bank could award a Grand nearly back to back. The average expectation on a bank of, for instance, Lightning Link machines is that a Grand will be awarded in the bank on average once a month.

And so, given this structure for a bank of slot machines, one person playing in the bank has the same odds of hitting it when the other machines are empty as opposed to when it is full. Your odds are identical in either situation since it still comes down to the chances of hitting it on your specific machine, and the odds are identical on any spin.

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