Is Betting for Bonuses/Features a Rip-Off?

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Some players love the idea of bumping up their bet to get access to more frequent bonuses or bigger progressives Others loathe it. Here’s a question that dives into the topic:

How do you feel about machines that offer a higher bet to qualify for a bigger prize? I’ve seen some machines that max bet at, say, 200 credits, but for another 75 credits, an additional bonus game gets to be in play, or it would qualify me for a big progressive jackpot. A rip-off? Or do you just consider 275 credits as the true max bet of the machine and play that way?

Henry H.

First off, we would never use the term rip-off. It’s a choice – to offer bigger progressives or more bonuses, sometimes the games need a bigger pool of wagers to work with.

For example, those wide area progressives that casinos offer that are hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars often can’t be achieved at the individual game or casino level. Million Dollar Dragon Link is the exception to that rule, and only a certain amount of casinos are willing to take that on.

So instead, the prize is more frequently pooled across multiple casinos, and require a bigger minimum bet. Is that worth it? As a player, we need to decide whether playing a game that offers such a prize is something we’re interested in.

We do like your thinking about the max bet being whatever bet unlocks all of the various prizes and potential. If you’re on a machine betting $2 but the top progressive is only unlocked at $3 (say, Megabucks), that’s a mistake. While your chances of winning that progressive may be small, you want to be eligible in case it’s your time.

It gets a bit dicier on games where you’re betting up for more frequent bonuses. You’re spending more to get more, so that’s more of a trade-off. If you’re willing to bonus less frequently, you can stick with the smaller bets, as the average payout in either case is going to be about the same.

So we would say the dividing line is on making sure you’ve unlocked all of the potential payouts – progressives, line pays, etc. Some games have a certain minimum bet to do so. Quick Hit for years was notoriously one where you had to max bet to unlock all of the progressives. With the newest series of games, this isn’t always the case.

As such, it helps to spend a moment with the pay table, understand what you need to bet to qualify for all pays, and make sure you’re betting at least that. And then, if there’s side bets or add-on bets that unlock either more bonuses or more frequent bonuses, that’s more of a choice. 

And often, on those games where those side bets or add-on bets exist, such as the variety of Konami games that have these add-ons, you can often find another machine in the same casino with the same game but no side bet, if that’s your preference.

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