Progressive can go negative

Sep 18, 2007 2:43 AM

Game progressives increment the progressive meters on one or several wagers by a certain percentage of the write of the game as a whole.

As such, they share the feature of the time progressive that the progressive meter may increase regardless of the volume played on it.

Game progressives are suited for manual games. It not necessary to count each progressive wager. The house percentage of game progressive Keno games is traditionally calculated by figuring the house percentage of the game as a whole, calculating each progressive wager at its reset value as if it were a straight wager, and then deducting the meter increment from this figure.

For instance, if a progressive Keno game puts 2 percent of its write to the meter, and the house percentage is calculated at 28.5 ignoring progressive increments, by deducting 2% from 28.5 results in a theoretical house percentage of 26.5.

It is not unusual for a game progressive meter to "go negative" in house percentage from the player’s point of view, particularly when the dollar volume going to the meter is high, the dollar volume in the progressive wager is low, or both.

For instance, if a progressive $3, 8-spot has an initial reset house percentage of 27, then the player’s expectation is 73 percent of $3, or $2.19.

If the house is putting 3 percent of the write to the meter, then the player’s $3 wager increments the meter by 9 cents, and the player’s expectation rises to $2.28.

If the progressive wager amounts to 10 percent of the dollar volume of the game as a whole, then for every $3 wagered on progressive, $27 is wagered on non-progressives and 81 cents is added to the meter.

Thus the player’s expectation rises to $3.09!

In fact, if anything more than 72 cents is added to the meter for every $3 progressive wager, the player’s expectation is positive. If the dollar volume of the progressive wager is 11.1 percent or less, then the player’s expectation will be positive in the long run.

This figure may be readily determined by dividing 72 cents by .03, which is $24. $3 + $24 = $27.00, and 3-for-27 = 11.1 — the break even percentage for progressive players.

If the initial house percentage on the 8 spot is raised to 30 percent, then the break even volume percentage for the player is lowered to 10. If the initial house percentage on the 8 spot is raised to 40 percent, then the break even volume percentage for the player is lowered to 7.5.

These figures have troubling implications for the Keno games that are booking game increment progressives. If any game falls in the category below the break even volume point for their progressive wagers, then all progressive players are playing positive (for the player) expectation tickets. To put it another way, if the progressive volume falls below the break even point, the progressive ticket will be hit on average at a point when the jackpot has risen to a level provides a positive return for the player.

For instance, on the 27 percent, 8-spot example above, with the progressive getting 10% of the total game volume over average cycles of 230,115 games the progressive player will get these payouts:

Thus the house loses roughly 10 cents per progressive ticket written over the cycle. If the ticket only achieves a 5 percent total volume, then the situation is far more serious:

CHART 1

Catch Pays Frequency Totals
5/8 $27.00 4211.69 $113,715.69
6/8 $300.00 544.62 $163,384.62
7/8 $4,440.00 36.92 $163,938.46
8/8 $63,000.00 1.00 $270,103.15
(Includes progressive)
Total wins              $711,141.92
Total spent            $690,343.82
House wins            ($20,798.09)

 

Thus the house loses almost one dollar per progressive ticket written over the cycle. This implies that a certain percentage of the entire write of the Keno game will be paid to those few players who have the bankroll to play the ticket constantly. And of course one hit will provide that bankroll.

CHART 2

Catch Pays Frequency Totals
5/8 $27 4211.69 $113,715.69
6/8 $300 544.62 $163,384.62
7/8 $4,440 36.92 $163,938.46
8/8 $63,000 1.00 $477,206.29
(Includes progressive)
$3. 8 spot, 26.99% House percentage
Total wins              $918,245.06
Total spent            $690,343.82
House wins           ($227,901.24)

 

 I believe that this situation already exists in the real world, at least at one Keno game. The Keno game that finds itself in this situation is in somewhat of a bind, since the only way to avoid it is to increase the volume on the ticket to a point above the break even point. This implies making the ticket more popular.

To do that would occur by lowering the initial house percentage or raising the meter increment. Either approach serves to raise the volume threshold that must be attained. Alternatively, the game might try lowering the price of the ticket to make it more popular, but this approach might lower the total dollar volume of the ticket instead of raising it.

BREAK EVEN VOLUME PERCENTAGES
for Game Progressives
Meter Increment
Inital % 5%  4% 3% 2% 1%

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