When the first slot machines started to appear around the start of the 20th century, the premise behind them – in terms of a business model – was quite simple: Have enough combinations of symbols on the reels to ensure that the money going in would exceed the money going out. If, for example, a slot machine had 10 symbols on each reel, and consisted of three reels, then the number of different combinations would be 10x10x10 = 1000. So, if you charged your players $1 per spin, you would have to have your jackpot significantly lower than $1,000 to ensure that you would turn a profit.

Of course, with modern slot machines the results are predetermined, and software developers use random number generators to ensure that ‘the house’ wins over time. Yet, the same theory basically applies that the amount that goes into the game must exceed the amount that is paid out. Typically, a casino slot will return around 95% over time. For an individual player, that concept of time and that return rate are very flexible. This number will be based on millions of hours of play and tens of millions of spins. 

Progressive jackpots can exceed eight figures
But if you go to an online casino today, even the small operators, you will see jackpots worth huge sums. These are usually progressive jackpots, which grow over time. For example, you can register to see the Age of the Gods: Fate Sisters jackpot, and see that it usually stands at over $1 million CAD. Some of these jackpots can grow to eight-figure sums, paying out mind-boggling sums to an individual player.

The question, however, is how does it all work? As you might guess, casino games with jackpots rely on connectivity to offer bigger prizes. Jackpot games are linked together across different casinos and even across different countries. The prizes are grown by taking a small percentage – usually 1% or less – of each bet, and then paying it into the pot. The idea is that the developers use economies of scale to grow these jackpots into huge sums. If you were paying in 1% of each $1 spin, it would take a thousand spins just to grow the jackpot by just $10. Even if you had 1,000 players playing 1,000 spins a month, it would take ages to grow these jackpots. We are talking about huge scales here – thousands of players making millions of spins.

Jackpot is awarded randomly
The key is that nobody knows when the jackpot will be awarded – not even the casinos. The idea is that the awarding of the prize is not dependent upon getting a particular set of results, but that the jackpot reaches a particular level. So, if the jackpot is set to pay out at $3,736,837.96, it is the player that plays the spin that adds the final cent or two to the jackpot to the predetermined pay out level that ends up the winner. Indeed, because these prizes are so big, it’s not the casinos to pay the prizes – it’s the software developers who manage the jackpots.

The intriguing part is that these jackpots are getting bigger and bigger. Fate Sisters, which we mentioned above, is part of a wider series of games – Age of the Gods. There are around 12 games in the range, but they all share the same jackpot game. The potential is huge when you consider the AOTG games are popular all over the world, including Canada, the UK, South Africa, Italy and New Zealand. That’s a lot of players putting that proverbial one cent into the pot.

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