Roulette has not traditionally been associated with progressive jackpots, a feature that is more familiar to players of slots and video poker. Progressives are lucrative for casinos and are extremely popular with players. This has led game developers to invent creative ways to insert them into all sorts of other games, including roulette.
The Player's Guide to Progressive Roulette
This guide will cover how progressive jackpots work and how they are implemented at roulette tables. Progressive roulette is a relatively new phenomenon, but we will show you some of the early tables being offered by some of the biggest names in casino game development.
How Progressive Jackpots Work
Unlike a standard jackpot that’s limited to a set amount, a progressive is an ever-growing jackpot that is fed by the wagers of multiple players. It continues to grow until someone meets the conditions required to win it. If it is a “fixed” or “guaranteed” progressive, the next person to meet the wagering requirements for it will automatically win it regardless of the outcome of their wager.
When progressive jackpots hit, they almost never reset to zero. There is usually a base amount, often called the “seed,” which the progressive jackpot returns to after it’s been won. The casino fronts this amount of money as an enticement for players to play games with progressive jackpots. The seed is usually a fairly substantial amount to keep players interested, often $1,000 to $2,000.
How Are Progressive Jackpots Implemented in Roulette?
There are a few different ways in which a roulette table can implement a progressive jackpot.
The most straightforward way is to simply offer an optional side bet to players. Players can opt to wager on the progressive jackpot in addition to their regular bets on each spin of the wheel. The progressive is fed by these wagers. It hits when a certain rare condition occurs, such as the same number landing multiple times in a row (usually three to five).
If the table requires that players feed the progressive with each spin, then all players who are active when it hits will share the jackpot. (This usually costs one extra mandatory credit per spin.) Some games make this side bet optional, however. Only players who have bought in when it hits will reap the rewards. This can make for some exciting betting when the progressive is only one spin from hitting!
Some games add a new slot to the wheel, usually in a distinctive color to stand out from the red and black slots. Winning the progressive is not as simple as landing on it, however. Landing on the progressive slot triggers a bonus game, like a slot machine, which contains the possibility of hitting the progressive jackpot each time it is played.
One other possibility is for the players to place an optional side bet in which a random number is drawn on each spin, in addition to the winning wheel number. If the random number and the number on which the wheel lands are the same, players who opted to take the side bet on that spin get to share in the jackpot.
Does a Progressive Roulette Jackpot Influence the Odds?
Taking an optional side bet will always increase the house edge, unless the progressive jackpot is unusually generous or hits unusually often. However, the odds do not change for all players unless the progressive adds a new slot to the wheel. At a European table (one with the single 0 slot), the house enjoys an edge of 2.7% on nearly every type of bet. Every time a new slot is added to the wheel, the house edge doubles.
An American-style table with an added colored slot for the progressive gives the house a substantial advantage. The progressive will have to be extremely generous by design to compensate for these odds.
Known Online Games with Progressive Jackpots
Triple Bonus Spin Roulette by IGT adds a new yellow slot to the wheel, and players choose three bonus numbers on which to wager. When the ball lands in the yellow slot, the wheel is spun for three numbers. Players who match all three get a 12,000:1 payout.
Roulette Royale by Microgaming automatically deducts an extra $1 from each player's bankroll for each spin in which they participate. This $1 feeds the progressive, which hits when the same number comes up five times in a row. Players also start enjoying bonuses when the same number comes up twice ($15), three times ($200), and four times ($3,000).
Marvel Roulette is a licensed property from Playtech that incorporates famous comic book characters. This game adds a blue slot to the wheel that is an optional side bet. When it hits, players who wagered on it get to spin a three-reel slot machine three times and keep whatever they win, which can include the progressive jackpot. Players can also be randomly selected for the Marvel Bonus Game, a tile-matching game that features prizes ranging from $50 to $100,000.
Progressive Roulette: An Emerging Gaming Trend
As of this writing, there are not very many progressive roulette games available. However, casinos are always in the process of developing new and exciting variants. With the popularity of progressive jackpots in other games, it seems likely that progressive roulette variants will become more common.