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Arkansas Casinos to Link Progressive Slots to Other States

Posted: September 23, 2022, 1:11 a.m.

Last update on: September 23, 2022, 02:07 a.m.

Arkansas casinos have been allowed to link progressive slots to networks that span other gambling states.

Arkansas Saracen Casino Progressive Slot
A guest at Saracen Casino Resort shows a free play voucher next to a slot machine. Arkansas casinos can place progressive slot machines on their gaming floors that link prize pools with machines in other states. (Image: Saracen Casino Resort)

Progressive slot machines are the terminals that are usually responsible for the headlines of jackpots. With a progressive, a small portion of every bet played is set aside for a large jackpot, consistently delivering life-changing wins.

The Arkansas Racing Commission this week approved an application by Saracen Casino of Pine Bluff to link its slot machines manufactured by IGT to the company’s slot machine operations in Nevada, New Jersey, Louisiana and the South Dakota.

Our machines will literally be connected to the Las Vegas Strip,” Carlton Saffa, Saracen’s market director, told the gaming commission this week.

The biggest progressive game jackpot can usually only be won by playing near-maximum bets on the terminal. The game manufacturer or distributor manages the progressive jackpot funds and distributes the winnings when the jackpot is hit.

Jumping Jackpots

Arkansans allowed four commercial casinos through a referendum in the November 2018 election. The issue amended the Arkansas Constitution to allow one casino in Jefferson, Crittenden, Garland, and Pope counties.

The biggest slot machine jackpot in Arkansas history to date was a $131,000 win on Saracen. While this is a considerable amount of money, it pales in comparison to the amounts granted by progressives.

IGT currently has 11 progressive jackpots of $1 million or more operating in the United States. Most significant is a Megabucks prize of over $12.9 million.

Saracen first plans to introduce IGT Wheel of Fortune progressives to its casino. “Wheel” slot machines remain one of the most popular titles in the gaming industry in the United States. Saffa says three different “Wheel” progressives will feature minimum jackpots of $200,000, $500,000 and $1 million. The minimum bet to qualify for the $1 million progressive jackpot will be $5 per spin.

Casino rules that the Arkansas Racing Commission finalized after the constitutional amendment allowed casinos to tie progressives with other commercial gambling states. But casinos must first request and receive authorization from the State before placing shared electronic terminals in their gaming rooms.

Pope Casino Latest

Three of Arkansas’ four casinos are operational: Saracen, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, and Southland Casino in West Memphis. The fourth and only remaining casino opportunity is reserved for Pope County.

After years of legal dispute, Cherokee Nation Businesses, the economic arm of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, have been named as the rightful beneficiaries of the Pope Gaming License. The Cherokees have partnered with Legends Hospitality, a sports-focused hospitality and concessions business partially controlled by billionaire Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Their goal is to build a $225 million property called Legends Resort & Casino in Russellville.

Due to open before the end of the year, Legends Resort & Casino is to have approximately 50,000 square feet of gaming space, with around 1,200 slot machines and 32 table games. A sports betting facility, a 200-room hotel, a meeting and conference center and a spa are also under construction.