History of Jackpots
Dictionary.com lists the definition of the word ‘jackpot’ as the “the chief prize or
the cumulative stakes in a game or contest, as in bingo, a quiz contest, or a slot machine.”
Jackpots, or prizes, have been around since the beginning of gambling, so to examine the
history of jackpots, one must examine the history of gambling.
Gambling began back in ancient China. It developed from there to more modern types of gambling during
the 14th to 19th centuries in Europe. In the 20th century America began its gambling revolution. As these
changes occurred throughout history, the face of the “jackpot” changed. Each jackpot is calculated
according to the rules of the game being played, however, they are all prizes in games of chance.
Since so many types of jackpots exist, to fully understand the types of jackpots, one must explore the
games which offer them. Many types of games offer jackpots. Bingo, slot machines, certain card games,
roulette, and the lottery are all games that feature jackpots.
As slot machines gained popularity, the jackpots emerged to fit their type of play. Smaller jackpots
are winnable on the less costly penny slots. As the cost of the slot machine increases, so does the prize
for winning combinations.
Bingo got its start in the 1500s. It was a lottery type game that evolved into the game we know today.
Using cards with numbers marked in 5X5 rows and columns, named using numbers and letters. A caller picks
random number/letter combinations ( I-5 for example) and calls them out to the players. Marking the ones
appearing on one’s card to keep track is one of the main parts of the game. When one has five in a row, or
four corners, or a “postage stamp,” they win, depending on which formation the game calls for. Different
formations earn different jackpots.
Poker is a widely played card games. Many versions exist, but the most popular types are draw and Texas
Hold ‘Em Poker. Various combinations of cards are sought throughout play. Bets are made based on what the
player thinks they may get in the end. The winner, with the best combination, takes home the jackpot. Some
poker jackpots can be quite high. Poker has some of the highest stakes of any game of chance.
Lottery is an addictive game that can be traced to ancient Egypt. Keno is a type of lottery game that
dates back over three thousand years. As these games evolved, so did the jackpots associated with them.
Modern lottery consists of two main types. Purchasing tickets with carefully selected number sets or
randomly chosen number sets is one way to play. During the drawing, randomly chosen numbers are selected
and ticket holders who match those numbers win; jackpots of this type can range from a few dollars to
millions of dollars. Another type of lottery is the ever-popular scratch-off ticket. Various rules apply
to different games, but the premise is that one scratches the ticket to reveal whether one is a winner.
Jackpots on these tickets are paid out in amounts of a few dollars to thousands of dollars.
Jackpots are a way to get people involved in the play of these games. Jackpots make the game
worthwhile, while also offering the temptation to play. Millions play the lottery in hopes of a high,
life-changing jackpot. The advent of internet gambling and online casino has led to people winning jackpots
in the comfort of their own homes!