We’re still months away from states beginning to share their online poker player pools, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t innovative things already happening in the world of interstate gambling. International Game Technology (IGT) has announced the launch of their first-ever multi-state progressive jackpot game in the United States, a move that has linked slot machines in different states for the very first time.
The move has connected games at casino properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Deadwood, South Dakota. It involves a feature known as Powerbucks – an additional option on popular slots like MegaJackpots that links together progressive pools in the two jurisdictions.
“Linking the Deadwood, South Dakota properties and New Jersey properties with Powerbucks is an exciting occasion for IGT,” said IGT vice president of product management and global product development Joe Sigrist. “The company looks forward to the expansion of Powerbucks and creating jackpot mania like never before.
Caesars, Boyd Gaming in on the Action
The move comes after New Jersey officials made the decision in February to allow Atlantic City casinos to link their slot machines with those in other participating jurisdictions. While Atlantic City’s casinos had linked their own jackpots since 1989, this was the first time regulators allowed them to reach outside of the state.
In Atlantic City, properties owned by Caesars Entertainment and Boyd Gaming will be able to benefit from the move. Both companies have also said they will add their Nevada properties to the Powerbucks network if they can get the proper regulatory approvals.
“Boyd Gaming is excited to join forces with our long-time partners at IGT in delivering a new and compelling gaming entertainment experience to our guests,” said Boyd Gaming COO Paul Chakmak.
Melissa Price, senior vice president of gaming at Caesars Entertainment, echoed those sentiments.
“Together, IGT and Caesars Entertainment own the legacy of creating the most millionaires in the industry,” Price said. “Now with Powerbucks, we’re creating a whole new level of excitement around winning.”
This is not the first time that IGT has linked jackpots across jurisdictions. The company has done so for lottery markets through their MegaHits system, and has connected jackpots for tribal properties through the Native American Progressive System.
Combined Slots Jackpots Differ from Interstate Poker
In some ways, these interstate jackpots offer similar benefits to the compacts that would combine online poker player pools, such as the one signed between Delaware and Nevada not long ago. In both cases, having more players feeding into the system will allow for larger prizes: bigger jackpots in the case of Powerbucks, or more money in tournament purses for poker players. In both cases, there’s added excitement that could attract even more players to the games.
But there are differences as well. While a slot machine just needs one player to work, poker games need plenty of players to keep going, especially when sites want to add more games at different stakes.
“[A multistate slots jackpot] is dissimilar to online poker liquidity in that players are not actively playing against each other in one game,” Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said to pokerfuse. Burnett added that in slots jackpots, game data isn’t actually transmitted over state boarders – only the jackpot amount is shared to all players.