What Happens to Jackpots When a Machine is Removed?

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Multiple progressives on a slot machine

Casinos replace slot machines regularly. Players are often curious what happens to prizes when a machine is removed:

If a casino replaces a slot machine, what happens to the grand pot money? Do they move that money to another slot machine?

Missy S.

And

Do you know why casinos will put a sign on a machine that says a progressive will be moved and the machine is gone… where does a progressive go?

Sunshine J.

In this case, our second question is in part helping to answer our first question!

Generally, regulations in a given casino market will dictate what happens to progressives that built up over time before a machine is removed. These regulations are to ensure casinos don’t just scrape the progression off the top when a game is removed, pocketing that amount for themselves. If they didn’t want to pay them, they could just set them to be a flat jackpot, as seen on cruise ships and in big markets like Las Vegas all the time.

Some progressives go beyond the casino’s walls, as is the case with wide-area progressives, and those tend to be found in multiple casinos and linked to multiple machine types. So those progressives never really go away.

Banked progressives are linked to multiple machines, and so they would only need to be handled when the entire bank is taken out of service – an adjustment to how many slots are linked wouldn’t require any changes either.

But ultimately if a single machine or bank of machines has progressives and all the machines connected to them are going out of service, that’s when the money needs to go… somewhere.

In some states, casinos have to declare in advance a progressive machine is being removed, the earliest date it will be removed, and sometimes even where it will be moved. So to Sunshine’s question, that’s one aspect of what’s going on.

Casinos have options in some jurisdictions, and sometimes they’re allowed to get creative. Sometimes the regulations simply dictate the money has to be awarded to players in some fashion. 

When Nisqually Red Wind Casino was alerted that a popular game on their floor, Titanic, was being discontinued and could no longer be offered, they announced on social media that if the progressive was not won before it was decommissioned, the prize would be added to their end of year promotions, opening the door for more players to win a share. 

The progressive was not won, and so there was a heck of a promotion throughout the last couple of months of 2019 with more than $800,000 in prizes awarded to cover the amount that the progressive reached before the machine was taken away!

So the most common scenario is the money moves to a new game, but there are other ways casinos can award the money. The most important thing, regulations wise, is that players are the recipients of the decommissioned progressives in some way, shape or form.

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4 Replies to “What Happens to Jackpots When a Machine is Removed?”

  • Sandra Bernier says:

    Do you know where BC pop and play is available on the east coast? Its no longer at Foxwoods, not sure about Mohegan Sun.
    Thank you!

    • FlipTheSwitch.com says:

      Hey Sandra – we update the Pop’N Pays page on Brian’s site as often as we can with updates that we get from the game maker – we believe it’s removed from Mohegan Sun as well, just waiting for the official report confirmation.

  • Judi McIlwain says:

    Do you think the online games pay out better? It would seem to make sense since they don’t have the huge overhead of a building, maintenance, staff, etc. just curious….

    • FlipTheSwitch.com says:

      Hi Judi! Online casinos do tend to have better payback percentages, especially compared to lower denomination slots on the casino floor.

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