Would a Bonus/Outcome Happen on a Different Bet?

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We’ve been getting a lot of questions around the topic of would things happen if the bet was different. Here are a couple of examples of the question in different forms:

If I play a lightning link at 50 cents and hit a bonus, would I have hit the same bonus playing 5 dollars? Does the randomness change at lower bets? Or do you still hit the same bonus, just less money won at a lesser $ bet amount?

Jenny P.

And:

As you have said, it’s all about timing. My question is…do all bets and denominations operate using the same algorithm? The reason I ask is that when playing alongside people betting at the 2 cent denomination while I am at the 5 cent, they seem to get bonuses more often. I’ve noticed this many times.

Chris G.

Universal answers on things like these won’t exist, because games are designed in different ways. But in general, especially on older games, where you’d have a set number of lines, set denomination, and just bet multipliers, would generally yield the same outcome, with the bet multiplier basically multiplying the outcome on the reels by the bet multiplier to yield the final win amount.

The problem with that answer is game design has been able to evolve and get more complex with time. There are a lot of scenarios that introduce variables like:

  • More/better bet scenarios that purposefully increase the frequency of bonuses for betting higher
  • Games that increase the chance of certain prizes coming out as you bet higher
  • Multi-denomination games introduce new wrinkles because the game at each denomination isn’t always 100 percent identical
  • Games with uneven bet levels, that purposefully have you bet more than double when you up your bet to add more money into features and bonuses

That last one has been a relatively recent development, but has been showing up on more and more games the past couple of years. This is a more subtle and quiet way to give players more of what they want at higher bets, without having to call out that they’re betting more to get it.

So, if a game isn’t doing more/better bets, doing uneven bets, etc., and you’re talking within the same denomination, the chances are pretty good doing a higher bet multiplier means the same game, and just everything is multiplied. 

Lightning Link does however increase the chances of a Major or Grand with bet level, so there’ll be very small, subtle adjustments to allow for that on the higher bet.

The second question adds the element of denominations – and changing denominations can introduce differences for a couple of reasons:

  • Casinos will often offer higher payback percentages at the denomination increases, and if the paybacks differ between the two denominations, what would hit will shift to account for that as well.
  • Different denominations can have different line counts. On Lightning Link’s standard format, moving from 2 cent to 5 cent reduces the number of lines from 50 to 25, meaning it’s not exactly the same game.

To be completely clear, it’s not so much an algorithm issue as it is an outcome issue. The same random number generator could be used, but the range of outcomes available is what changes. So while the answer could be the RNG is the same (the so-called algorithm), the same RNG number hit at a given millisecond could pull completely different outcomes on different denominations.

Now, your question is about bonuses – even with these differences, game makers want a game to feel like a game. One way they can do this is to maintain bonus frequency across bet levels and denominations. Higher paying paybacks would just sweeten the overall outcomes. 

Others would bump the frequency just a little bit (a percentage point or two isn’t going to bring the bonus out that much more often). It wouldn’t be enough to be noticeable, or players would flock to ones that are clearly bonusing a lot more often.

But for a 2 cent to be bonusing more than a 5 cent, given 2 cent denomination would be expected to pay less, is not what you’d expect out of game design, so that, likely, is “all about timing,” as Brian would say. 

And we tend to notice as players when people around us are bonusing and we’re not, but that’s because of the moment we’re in, and not necessarily anything specifically happening overall.

Have a question? Submit yours here!


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