Specific Wheel of Fortune-branded slots in New Jersey now pool the progressive jackpots of Atlantic City retail casinos and mobile casino apps available throughout the state. On May 31, slots supplier IGT announced the feature, the first of its kind anywhere in the US.
The feature applies to the online Wheel of Fortune Triple Gold: Gold Spin slot, plus all $1 denomination Wheel of Fortune slots at retail casinos in the state. The jackpot fund starts at $500,000 and increases with each spin, online or in person.
Wheel of Fortune has become one of the most valuable crossover brands in gambling. The game show’s popularity and the design of the eponymous money wheel make it a natural fit for casino games.
There are now 53 products featuring the brand in IGT’s catalog. At least ten online versions are available at New Jersey online casinos. There is now even a Wheel of Fortune Casino dedicated to them, courtesy of BetMGM.
Although it’s new to the US, the omnichannel wide-area progressive feature isn’t a first for IGT. It’s already in use with the Powerbucks line for the Canadian market. Some operators are using other terms of the feature, like “Win Anywhere.”
IGT’s Chief Operating Officer for Global Gaming, Nick Khin, predicts that IGT will replicate that success with Wheel of Fortune in New Jersey:
IGT is thrilled to offer our customers in New Jersey the first omnichannel jackpot in the U.S. as a means to engage players across platforms and offer another play-driving Wheel of Fortune slots jackpot. Based on the continued success of IGT’s pioneering omnichannel WAP solution for Canada, Powerbucks, I anticipate our omnichannel link for New Jersey will drive performance and be readily embraced by operators and players alike.
Bringing Wide-Area Progressives to the Online Space
Progressive jackpots for retail slots have been around since 1986. Slots using the feature take a small portion of the bet for each spin and add it to an ever-growing jackpot pool.
When the first such machines appeared, that pool was for a single device. However, modern technology allows multiple machines to share a single pool, making bigger jackpots.
The most extreme version of that is the “wide-area” progressive. These wide-area jackpots span machines from the same line at multiple retail locations within the same geographical area, sometimes even an entire state.
IGT’s innovation is to make this omnichannel as well. That’s industry-speak for “both online and retail.”
Many other large slots suppliers like Light & Wonder, Aristocrat and Evolution are also omnichannel businesses. If IGT’s idea proves to be the smash hit it expects, we could see omnichannel jackpots start appearing for other popular slots franchises.