In the past I wrote up some posts talking about some of the differences between standard, Class III/Vegas-style slot machines and some of the slot-like machines that nevertheless work and function differently (primarily in the fact that their outcomes are determined outside the machine).
One of the variations is what you’ll find in casinos connected in New York to the New York Lottery, such as Empire City Casino, Resorts World and Jake’s 58 on Long Island. The games you play in those casinos are not slots, but what are effectively a digital approximation of a scratch card.
In those cases, each spin is effectively the purchase of a digital scratch card out of a pool of possible cards. The outcome of the scratch card value is then rendered in the form of a slot machine.
One quirk out of this is there’s only so many outcomes. While on slot machines those outcomes can get into the millions easily, with scratch cards the pool can be smaller. That’s because prizes can often repeat, and there may be only so many visual outcomes that are rendered for a prize.
Now, if you’re visualizing this through, say, a three reel slot machine, the number of distinct prizes and reel stops are such that it maps out pretty easily. But on more complicated games, it can be harder to get into the nuances of how these games works. The outcome can be a very weird scenario where you get repeated bonuses of the exact same type.
My fellow casinogoer and friend Natasha shared these images awhile ago, and she gave me permission to share them here. All three wins on Ultimate Fire Link took place on the same night, and as you can see by the credit balances came from three different bonuses. But if you look closely, the wager was the same, the final prize was the same, and the balls and ball values were in identical places on the board.
Now, because of the digital scratch-off nature of the machines, the prizes of these bonuses were determined the moment the game was bought. The prize was the same. And the game either only had one way to render this particular prize, or had very few choices and so rendered them the exact same way.
The reality is in this sort of format, it can be difficult to make a complicated game like Fire Link render with the same level of game design complexity as it would in its original, Vegas-style slot glory. The volatility, prize distribution and so on can be identical, but the game can have weird quirks like this to fit into the box of what New York Lottery game products can handle or work within.
While not to the same extreme, I’ve seen scenarios where I get the exact same reel layouts multiple times in relatively close succession. It doesn’t change my enjoyment of the game, but I do notice the differences, and I’m sure other players do too.
Of course, there’s benefits to New York Lottery games, such as the requirement to have all games designed to pay at least 90 percent, higher than many casinos pay at penny denomination, so it can be a better bet.
So if you visit these sorts of facilities, notice these unusual win layouts, and wonder why, it’s a pretty simple explanation. Don’t let it ruin your fun!