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Flat Jackpots and Their Impact on Slot Machines

Lightning Link progressives
Written by Joshua

Over time, as progressives have proliferated on the gaming floor, a trend has emerged where games have shown four or five jackpots on the screen, but some percentage of them aren’t progressives at all, but are instead flat jackpots.

In my opinion, flat jackpots are designed to get players excited about winning a prize, when there’s no progressive attached to it, which in some cases makes the prize quasi-meaningless. In other scenarios, the prize is a part of the structure of hte game. Which is which? Let’s discuss.

Games Where Flat Prizes Change by Denomination

A portion of the games that have this sort of structure are ones where the flat prizes change based on denomination. A great example of this is the Lightning Link/Dragon Link/Dollar Storm series.

In games like this, where the prizes are on the same cash on reels as other prizes, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The lower your bet on a given denomination, the lower your chances of getting those prizes, as the size of that prize relative to your bet is higher.
  • I personally believe they’re simply swapping the number with the word on prize balls of the same amount, and they have no real value.

What do I mean by this? If you’re betting $5 a spin on penny denomination, getting a 2x prize on a reel space is pretty good. What’s the difference between it saying $10 and saying Mini? Nothing at all. They’re not progressives, so the prize is simply the same.

So when players say “Bet $5 on dimes because the mini and minor are bigger,” that’s a bit of a fallacy because it’s not going to be the same odds of winning that $100 mini at dime denomination as it would be the $10 mini at penny denomination. It’ll be about 10 times harder, in fact, because now it’s got to swap out a $100 prize instead of a $10 one, and those won’t be dropping as often on that $5 bet.

A different take is a game like Lock It Link, where the progressives appear in different places, such as on the initial hearts when it lands on the original Diamonds/Night Life versions, or on the upgraded spaces on Hold On To Your Hat and Huff N’ Puff.

In those cases the chances of winning increase proportional to your bet, so in those scenarios those specific prizes are worked into the overall odds of the game, so there’s a bit more of a purpose to them.

Games Where Flat Prizes Change by Wager Amount

Similarly, games where the flat jackpot prizes change based on your wager, such as Fu Dai Lian Lian and All Aboard, those prizes remain at a specific proportion to your wager, so the chances of winning them are the same at any wager.

Changing denominations doesn’t matter in those cases because it’s about the overall wager – how you get them and when you get them are consistent across the board.

So they do serve a bit more of a purpose as they’re awards within the overall prize structure, and because they’re always a certain multiple of your bet, the prize is a bit more chase-worthy at times.

But in any event, the flat jackpots are a way for the manufacturers to add more “notable events” in the game by having non-progressives masquerading as them. Meanwhile, some games have five, six or even seven (in the case of Smokin’ Hot Stuff Wicked Wheel Fire & Ice) progressives available to players, so it can be done!

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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