What Happens if a Slot is Removed Before a Progressive is Hit?

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Multiple progressives on a slot machine

Sometimes progressives stubbornly refuse to hit. What happens if a machine is taken out before they do?

If a grand doesn’t go off in 8 months, is it fair to remove the machine and put a new machine in?

Michael T.

And here’s another take on the question, but looking at some additional aspects of progressives:

Are there any rules in place when a casino decides to “retire” or move a machine off the floor regarding any progressive jackpot(s) not yet won? Could the casino book the money as a profit? Maybe allocate the funds across other active machines? I assume the answer differs between local-only and wide-area progressive machines.


The fairness/rules question can be addressed through regulation, and it is. Casinos don’t get to pocket the progressives when a machine is decommissioned. Here’s an example of one of those, from the state of Nevada:

Except as otherwise provided by this section, the incremental amount of a progressive payoff schedule is an obligation to the licensee’s patrons, and it shall be the responsibility of the licensee if the licensee ceases operation of the progressive game or slot machine for any reason, including a transfer of ownership of the licensed gaming establishment, to arrange for satisfaction of that obligation in a manner approved by the Chair.

Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation 5.110

So, on locally banked progressives (the ones the casino is liable to pay when won), the casinos have to take the money that accrued on a progressive and do something with it that ensures that players somehow get paid.

How this happens can vary. We shared previously on the site an example of a casino that had a giant progressive on a slot that was taken out due to no longer being able to have it on the floor, and they did two months worth of giveaways.

When a casino closes, like the recent case of the Tropicana Las Vegas shutting down, a casino operator could choose to move those funds to games at other casinos they operate.

Casinos don’t have to keep a machine operating until the progressive is paid; with an open-ended scenario, extreme cases can occur where a progressive simply takes a long time to hit, and if a game is not getting played as much by players or the machine is no longer able to be maintained easily, regulations give casinos options to handle it without taking away players’ ability to win the money accrued.

Now, when it comes to a wide area progressive, it’s different in that it’s offered by a slot manufacturer to multiple casinos, and often across multiple games as well. So usually it doesn’t have to be reassigned because it’s still active on other machines.

Think about Megabucks – while different Megabucks variations have come out over the years, and machines come and go, the basic Megabucks jackpot structure remains the same. So there it’s less of an issue, but the same regulations still apply if it’s taken out of commission altogether.

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