How does the “Buy a bonus feature” work and is it smart to buy the bonus?
On an online slot machine it often happens in the bonus game. Such a bonus game usually consists of some free spins. Often with a little extra: extra features, extra high payouts or a multiplier. But before you can play such a bonus game, you first have to clear the bonus. And that can put your patience to the test. The hit frequency of a bonus on a slot machine is often 1 percent or less. That means that you pick up an average of 1 in 100 spins on a NetEnt slot. On slot machines with a higher variance you are more likely to go towards the 1 in 500 spins. Many players do not have the patience for this. The “near wins” – all those times that you have just one symbol shortage for the bonus – also provide the necessary frustration. Developers of online slots have found a solution. The “Buy a bonus feature“. Also known as the Big Bet, the High Roller Bet.
We explain exactly how this feature works, which slot machines have this feature and whether it is all “playing responsibly”.
How exactly does the “buy a bonus feature” work?
The term “buy the bonus” actually says it exactly. You buy the bonus. That costs you an x number of times your bet. We explains the easiest on the basis of concrete examples.
White Rabbit for example, one of the popular Megaways slot machines from Big Time Gaming. You buy the bonus there for 100 times your bet. Suppose you play with € 0.10, then you can buy the bonus for € 10. You don't have to wait until you conjure up three rabbits from the top hat. You click on “buy the bonus”, you count 100 times your bet and the next spin there are at least three rabbits on your screen. With that you push straight ahead towards the bonus.
Another example: Barcrest's Rainbow Riches Reels of Gold. You can buy Big Bet Spins here. These Big Bet Spins are spins with a number of features of this Rainbow Riches slot machine. These spins have a fixed price. A normal spin on Rainbow Riches Reels or Gold will cost you a minimum of € 0.10. A Big Bet Spin will cost you a minimum of € 5 and a maximum of € 25 for five pieces.
Does it benefit me as a player?
Yes. Casinos often lure you with a higher payout percentage. That higher payment percentage is due to the extra features that you get. Or because the price of buying the bonus is lower than the average number of spins you need to clear the bonus.
White Rabbit for example. This slot machine has a payout percentage of 97.24 percent. That is, if you wait patiently until you turn at least three rabbits and therefore release the bonus. Are you buying the bonus? Then you don't have to wait and you also get a higher payout percentage: 97.77%.
Barcrest makes it even more colorful on Rainbow Riches Reels of Gold. Do you play with the minimum bet of € 0.10 per spin? Then you play with a very poor 94 percent. Hardly more than on a slot machine in the state casino Holland Casino. From a bet of € 2 per spin, you play with a 96 percent payout percentage. And it can be even better: with the Big Bets of € 25 per five, you play with a 98 percent payout percentage.
Slots with the “buy a bonus feature”
The “Buy a bonus feature” is a hit among players. And if something catches on in the gambling industry, then the competition will get it. Big Time Gaming and Barcrest kind of started it. Because Big Time Gaming slots in particular are doing extremely well in online casinos, other game providers are taking over many of the elements from these successful slots. Not only the Megaways (with license), but also the “buy a bonus feature”.
Unfortunately, Betsoft does not currently have a Megaways license, but we think this may be different at the end of 2020. If there is something to take over from someone else, Betsoft is at the forefront. Also now. Dragon Kings was the very first Betsoft slot machine with a “Buy feature” on it. It appears that “Buy feature” then became part of the standard arsenal of Betsoft slots. You can buy the bonus game on slots like Chilli Pop, Fruit Bat Crazy and Faerie Spells.
The price of the bonus is currently between 44 times the stake on Dragon Kings and 100 times the stake on Carnival Forever.
Big Time Gaming
Big Time Gaming was the first with a real “Buy a bonus feature”. That was on White Rabbit, where you can buy the bonus game for 100 times your bet. On Book of Gods you buy the bonus game for 80 times your stake and on Extra Chilli Megaways even for 50 times your stake. What is perhaps telling is that Big Time Gaming seems to have said goodbye to “buy the bonus” again.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Final Countdown, two of the larger releases of Big Time Gaming, no longer have the feature.
Blueprint Gaming has a taste for everything. The Megaways have been taken over, neatly with an official license of Big Time Gaming. And nowadays there is almost a standard “Press to buy” button to buy the bonus for 100 times your bet. You will find this feature on Blueprint Gaming slots such as Buffalo Rising Megaways, Valletta Megaways and Legacy of Ra Megaways. Even one of the old Merkur classics had to believe it: Fishin ’Frenzy Megaways.
Buying the bonus gives you a slightly higher payout percentage on Blueprint slots.
Unfortunately, Microgaming does not currently have a Megaways license, but we hope this may be different in the near future. So far, MicroGaming has not ventured into a real “Buy the bonus feature”. MicroGaming does, however, come up with a feature that allows you to respond to one reel against payment.
Every gambler knows it. You just miss one symbol for a beautiful five-of-a-kind. Or again 2 instead of 3 bonus symbols, so you miss that bonus game again.
MicroGaming has found a solution for this. After a spin you can have the reels respond one by one. Which reel (s)? You can know that for yourself. And as long as you pay, you continue to respond. That was already possible at the Dragon Dance and Bikini Party clones. And also on later releases Book of Oz and Bookie of Odds. Kloons from each other and from Book of Ra.
During its first real Piggy Riches Megaways release, Netent has not yet used the buy a bonus feature but the did with different games. Scudamore's Super Stakes has a Side Bet with betting forms. You bet on turning a specific number of times a symbol. In a predetermined number of spins. You play this bet slip next to the normal gameplay,
You can do that from € 0.80 and up to and including € 80. Winnings amount to 1,242 times your bet on the bet slip.
CasinoJager sees “Buy the bonus” coming back in more NetEnt slots in the future. “Buy the bonus” fits in perfectly with the NetEnt policy of accountant Therese Hillman. Instead of innovativeness and originality, she mainly focuses on higher bets and lower payout percentages. It is also a great way to breathe new life into the flopped Max ™ -Bigger Hits.
Dead or Alive 2 gave a stepping stone. You can choose your bonus game yourself. And the variance at High Noon Saloon is very high. CasinoJager does not exclude that in the future you can buy this kind of high variance bonuses at Netent.
During Aztec Gold Megaways, iSoftBet's first megways slot game, decided not to implement the buy a bonus feature yet. iSoftBet has been trying to address the established order for years. Vegas High Roller is the first slot machine where you can buy a bonus. iSoftBet chooses more for the Barcrest style than for the BTG style. Buy the bonus is not called a buy the bonus, but High Roller Bets. And the basic gameplay is made so unattractive that you almost have to play with the High Roller Bet.
That costs you 20 times the normal bet per spin. And then iSoftBet has a build-up crammed in the direction of yet another feature: the Super Respins.
Earlier iSoftBet tried it once with a feature where you – of course, pay a fee – to have individual reels re-spun, as a kind of retake. The more promising, the more expensive. With two bonus symbols on the reels, for example, you can have one of the other reels respond to Super Fast Hot Hot Respin and Million Coins Respin until you have the bonus.
Unfortunately, Push Gaming does not currently have a Megaways license but Push Gaming used the “buy a bonus” for the first time (and last?) On Fat Santa. For 80 times your bet and click on “Buy feature” you go directly to the bonus spins instead of having to spin a Santa and a Christmas cake first.
The payout percentage is and remains 96.45%. But the variance increases enormously, because the bonus game is very erratic. Sometimes you take your bets thousands of times, but it sometimes happens that you are tipped off with a tip.
Also Kalamba, which releases games under the Relax Gaming label, has a number of slots on which you can buy the bonus. Kalamba chooses a combination between what Barcrest does and what Big Time Gaming does.
You can buy bonus spins on Machina Megaways. For 52 times your bet you buy ten and for 337 times your bet you buy 18. On Doctor Electro you pay 42.17 your bet for eight bonus spins and 214 times your bet for 25 bonus spins.
The more you buy, the higher your payout percentage. For example, the payout percentage on Doctor Electro rises from 96.3 to a maximum of 97.55 percent.
Currently Williams Interactive Montezuma Megaways has an buy a bonus feature built but not all online casinos show this option.
Barcrest, which falls under Scientific Games, started it. Although you do not buy a real bonus on Barcrest slots, but with spice up features. They are called Big Bets. You pay a lot for that, but it does result in a higher payout percentage. Or rather: if you don't play with the Big Bets, you play with a lower payout percentage. Sometimes the payout percentage even drops to a very bad 94 percent.
That is the case with many slots from the Rainbow Riches series. You play with 98 percent if you choose the Big Bets. And don't you do that? Then Barcrest and other Scientific Games divisions see that as a nice alibi to empty you with payout percentages of 94 percent. On the other hand, the new Rainbow Riches Megaways has a real buy a bonus feature but this option is not available with many online casinos.
During the first series of Stakelogic Megaways slots, like The Expendables Megaways, there is no buy a bonus feature yet but they do have without megaways. For 60 times your bet you buy your bonus on Neon Cluster Pays from Stakelogic. Stakelogic has added one dimension to it. If you do not buy the bonus and start playing “just”, you save coins. Every coin that you spin means that you can buy the bonus just a little cheaper.
And play that great bonus game from Book of Ra as often as you want (or can)? This is possible on the Book of Ra clone Book of Cleopatra. For 80 times your bet.
Unfortunately, Stakelogic is not clear about what the player will learn about the bonus. Do you play with a better payout percentage? The manuals of Neon Cluster Pays and Book of Cleopatra give no definite answer. And that's pretty bad at Stakelogic.
Buy a bonus feature and responsible gaming
We predict that supervisors will take action in the near future against expensive “Buy a bonus in slots” features. Of course: everyone has their own responsibility. Among other things, to only play with money you can miss and to stick to your gambling budget.
But things like the “Buy a bonus feature” increase the pressure considerably to use a lot more grossly than you had planned in advance.
On some slots you can significantly increase the payout percentage that you play by purchasing the bonus. Some game providers use a different strategy. They reverse the roles. Instead of making it a little more attractive to buy the bonus, they make it unattractive not to buy the bonus. Many Rainbow Riches slot machines will kick you off with payout percentages of 94 percent if you get it in your head not to buy those expensive Big Bets.
In the UK, politics has already made sure that the maximum bet on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (called FOBT-ies) has been reduced to 2 pounds per game. Previously you could run through hundreds of pounds in a matter of seconds.
“Buy a bonus” often costs you a multiple of your normal bet. If game providers also significantly increase the pressure to buy the bonus, it may just be that “Buy a bonus” arrives with super dots on the action lists of regulators.