Why Do Some Casinos Cap Progressives?

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Visit enough casinos, and you’ll notice some casinos will put a lid on what progressives can be worth, while others let them grow and grow. Today’s question explores this:

Why do some casinos have maxed out majors and grands on multiple slot machines that stay maxed out all the time instead of a progressive increase with play?

Jami D.

There’s usually a couple of reasons for this, and as you can expect it largely comes down to money.

More Money for the Casino

When casinos don’t include a contribution to the progressives when wagering on machines that by design are supposed to do just that, it ultimately works out to be a bit more money to the casino. The base game pays don’t change, so players lose out on that incremental amount that the progressives would accumulate.

In reality, those progressives are often hard to hit, so only that one player loses out on that extra money. But for the casino, it’s money they keep instead, so it works out to basically raise the house advantage.

Paradoxically, we’ve seen examples where progressives are frozen on one bank, and the same game elsewhere on the casino floor is not frozen. So it also doesn’t hurt to look around.

Reduced Liability

One thing players may not realize is regulations dictate what sort of preparations casinos need to have in case of an unusually lucky run with players. This can include how much cash they need to have on hand to pay out the various progressive jackpots they have on their various games.

If the progressives aren’t growing, that reduces the liability, even though ultimately the casinos should be making more than enough money as the games are being played to pay those progressives off. But when you figure hundreds of progressive machines across a casino floor, the delta between a frozen jackpot and a growing one can be significant.


Ultimately, it comes down to money, and it’s not surprising given that it’s often the larger corporate casinos who will make the decision to set machines up that way, where as the smaller properties and more locally-owned ones tend to avoid those sorts of things. In bigger markets, you can vote with your wallet, if you feel a particular operator is tilting things too far in their direction.

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