Dime-sized side bets paid out over $1.1 million in two days for two lucky DraftKings slots players in West Virginia. One user won over $670,000 on May 20 while playing on 5 Treasures, and another won over $453,000 on Ultra Blazing Fire Link the following day. Both prizes came by way of ten-cent side bets on DraftKings’ unique cross-genre progressive jackpots, which the company recently launched in the Mountain State.
DraftKings Casino launched the cross-genre progressives in New Jersey in October 2022. It’s the first feature of its kind in the US market and is now available in Ontario as well. The biggest jackpot it has produced to date is $1,977,998, won by a New Jersey online casino player in April.
Progressive jackpots have been a popular feature of slots since 1986. That’s when IGT introduced the concept to the retail market with its Megabucks machines.
Online, it’s common for slots providers to link together the progressive jackpots for several slots titles in the same series. However, DraftKings is the first in the US to create a jackpot shared between slots and other types of casino games.
The feature even bridges the gap between games DraftKings develops in-house and those it licenses from third-party suppliers. Exactly which games are eligible depends on the state. There are over 90 games on the list in West Virginia and more than 100 in New Jersey.
These include all sorts of games, from blackjack and roulette to video poker and keno, and of course, a selection of slots.
DraftKings Jackpots are a Ten-Cent Side Bet
To be eligible to win a portion of the jackpot, players need to opt in and pay a 10-cent premium on each wager they make (20 cents in Ontario). This is separate from whatever wagers players make on the main game, and the odds of winning don’t depend on the overall stakes the user is playing for.
Each contribution offers a one-in-a-million chance of triggering the jackpot. DraftKings divides up the money it collects as follows:
- 50% to the current jackpot
- 35% to fund future jackpots
- 15% to DraftKings
That means the progressive jackpot wagers have an 85% return-to-player. That’s very poor compared to most online casino games – 94% to 96% is typical for online slots – but it’s a tradeoff jackpot-chasers make for the size of the potential payout.
Slots-only progressive jackpots can produce large prizes, but DraftKings is unique in letting table game players chase the same dream. Sports bettors make up a large portion of DraftKings’ customer base and tend to gravitate toward the blackjack tables when visiting a casino. Including them is therefore important to the company’s business strategy.
The world record for online slots is €18,915,872 (roughly USD 20.3 million), which one European player won playing Mega Moolah in 2018. US markets are smaller due to state-by-state regulation, so jackpots over $1 million are comparatively rare.