More than ever, Casino gamblers in Las Vegas and beyond are chasing big jackpots

Jan 9, 2018 |
More than ever, Casino gamblers in Las Vegas and beyond are chasing big jackpots
Not all slot machine players realize that jackpot hunting is actually a smart approach to slot machines.
Not all slot machine players realize that jackpot hunting is actually a smart approach to slot machines.

Covers readers are more into gambling than most people. Specifically, we see things in sports betting that the general public probably doesn’t see. Covers has updates every day from sportsbook operators with the latest in specific sports betting news. If you’re living right, you know how and why lines and odds are moving every day. When you step back, the information available today is quite impressive.

Part of what makes the information from Covers so useful is that much of the staff focus only on sports betting. I'm a little different since I cover Las Vegas as a whole. I generally look at sports betting from a macro point of view. The sportsbook is just one part of casino gambling along with craps, blackjack and slot machines. Most casino games don’t have much in common with sports betting. There may be a strategy to extract positive expected value from poker and sports betting. However, when you’re in a casino you will typically play games with a negative expected value.

In the past year or two, there has been one trend that crosses all casino gambling. More than ever before, gamblers are looking for a big jackpot with minimal investment. Not only are gamblers looking for a big score with a small bet on slot machines and table games, but they’re doing the same in the sportsbook with parlays and teasers.

Slot Machine Jackpots

Slot machine players have always been hunting for jackpot wins. The hottest trend in the past few years for slot machines have been progressive jackpots. Players want the big bucks and the casinos want players. The jackpots might be accumulated at one machine or a pod of machines or machines throughout the casino. Similarly, there are statewide and intra-state progressive jackpots.

Not all slot machine players realize that jackpot hunting is actually a smart approach to slot machines. These random games almost always have a negative expected value, but jackpots actually help reduce the house edge for the casino. When playing a slot machine with a jackpot or bonus game the player should be wagering enough to qualify for the big money. That jackpot helps offset the lower return to player and decrease the house edge. Playing a game for less than the minimum wager for a bonus or progressive increases the house edge.

Table Game Jackpots

Table game players are playing side bets, progressives, and long shots more than ever. These bets aren’t new, but they’re being offered and played more often in recent years. I've even been pressured by other players to join them in the side bets. I tend to avoid side bets at tables unless I'm playing Pai Gow Poker or drinking too much.

Gaming manufacturers discussed side bets during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) late last year. The easiest way for a casino operator to expand gaming revenue it to add a side bet or progressive. Each bet typically comes with a much larger house edge than the game already being played. The majority of casino gamblers see the large jackpots and simply want to win a lot for a little.

Last October on an investor call, a Caesars Entertainment representative said that new side bets were showing an 11% increase in gaming revenue. Progressive jackpots added 8% to gaming revenue at the time. This is a large increase for table games.

Sports Betting Jackpots

Sports bettors are mixing up their wagers with parlays and teasers more than ever. We see this on twitter often when sportsbook operators share winning parlay tickets. I saw this first hand during my winter mini-vacation recently.

I have a group of friends that visit every year. They save their sports betting bankroll for Las Vegas. In previous years they would play both sides and parlays. This year they moved exclusively to parlays and teasers. In addition to the action, they wanted to see bigger wins for their money

Throughout the football season, I've been hearing sportsbook operators discussing how they're becoming more concerned with parlays than ever before. Large favorite moneyline parlays are becoming as popular as small underdog parlays that can offer huge payouts. We see lines that are moving so the casinos are protected from teasers.

Jackpots Are Fun

I don't subscribe to jackpot chasing, but I enjoy jackpots in my gambling mix. The side bet in Pai Gow Poker adds a little intrigue to a relatively boring game. I like to add a parlay or teaser to the mix once or twice a week for fun. The big wins seem to wipe out the losses.

I understand why gamblers are looking to jackpots more often. The rush of a jackpot can be fun, so I find a way to work them in my gambling. I may be smarter than the average gambler, but I also want to have fun. No matter the game a big jackpot win every now and again is fun.

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