Players love jackpot slots. And why wouldn’t they – they provide the chance to win a life-changing sum of money from a single spin of a slot machine or a prize wheel.
By adding a progressive jackpot to a game, the player can see an ever-increasing potential win that the base game simply can’t provide, and this makes it incredibly thrilling to play.
This keeps players engaged, entertained and captivated by the feeling of anticipation that builds with each spin.
The rates of engagement with jackpot slots make them an absolute must-have for online casino operators, who can also use the massive prize pots as part of their marketing and acquisition campaigns.
For example, Mega Moolah hitting €5m can be a powerful catalyst for player sign-ups and reactivations if pushed in the right way.
For existing players, they can be the deciding factor in sticking with the brand instead of shifting to another which does offer the big jackpot games.
Jackpot slots have been around for a long time, especially on the gaming floors of land-based casinos from Las Vegas to Macau.
In fact, IGT launched its wide-area progressive, Megabucks, back in 1986 before the World Wide Web even existed.
The subsequent rise of the web and the arrival of online gambling has brought these games to desktops and mobiles, but the digitisation of jackpot games has largely only extended their reach rather than resulting in true innovation.
This has changed somewhat in recent years, with a rapid evolution in the mechanics behind jackpot games.
This can be seen in the success of Red Tiger’s Daily Drop and Must Drop Jackpots, with similar formats then quickly being adopted by other studios.
BluePrint Gaming is another standout success, with its Jackpot King sitting across multiple games in its portfolio.
Operators absolutely should stock these games, but they should also see jackpots as a tool they can use to differentiate.
For example, by using the right jackpot server, operators have the power to add a progressive jackpot that covers every game in their lobby from any provider.
This is a compelling point of difference as it means the player has to play at that brand if they want to play for that specific jackpot.
It also means that popular non-jackpot games can be hooked up to a jackpot prize. As well as driving acquisition, it adds yet another layer to retention and loyalty schemes and really does incentivise the player to stay with that brand.
But developing and deploying jackpot innovations is easier said than done. The technical complexity of jackpot servers is staggering, and operators also need to consider such issues as player preferences and regulator compliance.
Different jackpots appeal to different players
In the same way that different slot volatilities appeal to different players, so too does the size and hit rate of the jackpot prize.
Some players are happy spinning for million-pound pots knowing the odds of triggering the top prize are incredibly long, while others prefer to play for smaller pots that trigger regularly. Good games can combine multiple jackpots.
If you look at the success of Must Drop and Daily Drop jackpots, it’s clear that there is a large player base that prefers smaller prizes that hit regularly.
Of course, there are still plenty that want to play for the life-changing progressive pots. For operators, it really comes down to understanding their core audience and then determining the type of jackpot that will best provide the experience they are seeking.
Jackpot servers are complex
Flexible, efficient jackpot servers are technically complex to build and even more difficult to iterate and continuously develop against.
This is why operators generally benefit from working with a third-party tech specialist that handles the software and platform side of things while they focus on promoting games that harness the power of jackpots.
This is what Black Cow’s jackpot software platform offers, but with a transaction server that allows the game to determine its own jackpot rules rather than being limited by the jackpot system.
The jackpot transaction server itself needs to be efficient, resilient and robust, and that’s before you start to consider how flexible it needs to be to facilitate varied and specialist jackpot rules – all while being compliant in different regulated markets.
To date, I don’t think any operator has developed their own jackpot network software and it’s easy to see why.
These challenges can be overcome by working with specialist technology providers who have the understanding, experience and technical skills to develop, manage and finesse such systems – that’s what they do.
By partnering with such technology providers, operators can launch exclusive jackpots that act as a powerful lure to their brands and games.
The base game could be widely available across other casinos in the market, but the jackpot on top of it will be unique to that brand.
Ultimately, this approach gives the operator complete control over the jackpots being run across their casino and the games stocked in the lobby, and with this control comes the opportunity to truly stand out from competitor brands.
You could say it allows operators to hit the jackpot…
Max Francis CEO, CTO and Founder at Black Cow, has worked in interactive gaming software since 1999. He has overseen hundreds of integrations for betting and gaming products and has played a part in the architecture of numerous enterprise solutions. With a passion for well-designed systems and software, Max founded Black Cow in 2013 to build a truly flexible gaming solution.