Progressive Jackpots Overview

You may have noticed that most online casinos in Ireland differentiate between classic and jackpot slots. But since all slots have a “jackpot prize”, what's the difference?

The answer is a progressive jackpot. A progressive jackpot is a prize that increases every time somebody plays a slot game. It will keep on rising until a lucky player wins it.

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In progressive slot games, a small percentage of every qualifying bet goes toward the jackpot. It can be won at random or by navigating a special bonus game. And the prizes that can be won easily rival those found in your state lottery.

The odds of winning a progressive jackpot over a lottery jackpot are also in your favour. The odds of winning the lottery stand at 1 in 300 million, while your chances of hitting the jackpot in a progressive slot game is around 50 million to one.

Win a progressive jackpot, and you may be in for some astronomical sums of money. Just to give you a bit of an idea, one lucky person won a whopping €39.7 million at the Excalibur in Las Vegas…on a €3 spin!

How Do Progressive Jackpot Games Work?

We’ve already alluded to how progressive jackpot games work, but let’s go into some more detail. The main difference between a progressive jackpot and your run-of-the-mill jackpot is that there is no fixed prize in the former. This is what gives you the chance to win big while spending little.

In a progressive jackpot, a percentage of every bet wagered is put towards the jackpot, which keeps growing until one very lucky player wins it. When this happens, the jackpot resets to a seed amount and the process starts all over. The sum, sometimes also called the meter, can climb to huge amounts because it can have thousands of players from multiple slots from all over the world contributing to it.

Let’s take Age of the Gods by Playtech as an example. All the people playing it at the same time will be both contributing to and playing for the same jackpot. Many progressive jackpots are linked across several online casinos, making the pool of players adding to the jackpot even bigger. The longer the jackpot goes unclaimed, the higher it climbs, making it possible to win millions of Euros.

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Progressive Jackpot Win Mechanics

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how progressive jackpots work. After a spin, a set of random numbers is chosen. If the right algorithm is picked, the jackpot will be triggered.

However, there is a number of ways you can win a progressive jackpot.

Play the Maximum Stake

Some online progressive slots will only let you win a jackpot if you bet the top stakes possible. However, don’t stress too much if your bankroll doesn’t reach that high. There are plenty of progressive games that offers a few levels of jackpots that cater for lower-stakes players.

High-stakes progressive slots work by awarding you with a ticket when you spin the reels. The more you bet, the more “tickets” you earn. If one of those tickets matches the algorithm after a spin, you win the big jackpot.

Winning a Jackpot at Random

These jackpots may be awarded after any spin. You won’t have to play a special bonus game or hit certain symbols. However, you may have to bet the maximum possible stake in order to qualify.

Hitting Symbol Combinations

To hit this progressive jackpot, you must line up certain symbols on a designated payline. For example, the jackpot may trigger if you line up five special symbols on the 15th payline. Get the winning combination and collect the biggest jackpot.

Playing a Bonus Game

Many online progressive slots at the best slots sites include a special bonus round that can be triggered during the base game. You may have to spin a prize wheel to determine your jackpot size or pick cards from a selection available on your screen. You will usually have to match three or four cards to win the corresponding jackpot prize.

Must-Drop Jackpots

Several online progressive slots feature must-drop jackpots. These are programmed to trigger by a strict deadline. Therefore, they usually attract more money as the deadline approaches and more people will be playing the game at the same time.

Random Number Generators

It’s important to understand random number generators (RNGs) when you play a progressive jackpot slot. All online slots are governed by RNGs that ensure fair slot play every time.

Progressive slots also work on RNGs. They determine when a jackpot or bonus game is going to be triggered. So even if a jackpot unclaimed for weeks, there’s no reason it will suddenly be ready to drop if there isn’t a must-drop jackpot deadline.

How Big Can Progressive Jackpots Get?

Progressive jackpots can reach eye-watering levels if a top prize goes unclaimed. Not to mention, the more accessible a slot is, the bigger the potential for large jackpots.

A progressive jackpot that hasn’t been won in a long time will usually attract the attention of lots of players. This means that the jackpots will increase very quickly towards the end.

The biggest progressive jackpot was won by an anonymous Android device player. He or she bet 75 cents on Mega Moolah and less than 50 spins later, landed the €22.3 million jackpot in September 2018. Mega Moolah is also responsible for the previous record, when in October 2015, Jon Heywood from Cheshire turned 33 cents into €21.1 million after only having been playing for 25 minutes. This earned the progressive jackpot game a Guinness World Record title for “Largest jackpot payout in an online slot machine game”.

Previously the record payout was owned by an anonymous Finn, who netted an astonishing €20.5 million on Mega Fortune.

But online progressive jackpot payouts still fall way below those seen in land-based casinos. In 2003, a young software engineer won a staggering €39.7 million playing IGT’s Megabucks slot at the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Incredibly, the game’s jackpot seeds at €10 million. Even more astounding, however, was that the lucky slots player only spent €3 on his spin.

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Finding a Progressive Jackpot

Most online casinos organise their slots by type. For example, a casino might feature a separate “Jackpot Slots” tab where you'll find all progressive jackpot slots in one place. If there isn’t a dedicated section for progressive slots, a good tip is to look for the jackpot section and then look for the biggest jackpots. The chances are that if the jackpots are over €100,000, they are progressive.

Virtually all casinos will display the current jackpot meter for eligible games in their lobby. It’s easy to view what games have the biggest jackpots at any time. You can also view a list of big winners on the casino that day.

You will find more information on progressive slots with our exclusive guide, where you’ll discover reviews and information on the best casinos offering jackpot slots. We’ll even show you some of the best promo codes so you can make a deposit and claim a bonus when you sign up.

Types of Progressive Jackpots

In a casino, you will typically find three types of progressive jackpots. The jackpot sizes can vary depending on how many players contribute to it and how many different machines are linked up.

Standalone Jackpots

A standalone jackpot is reserved to just one machine in the casino. This means that it is not linked to other slot machines and doesn’t form part of a wider network.

Local Jackpots

Local jackpots, also known as “in-house” jackpots, are grouped together between multiple machines in one land-based casino setting. The machines might be connected in one bank or spread across the casino floor. At an online casino, a local jackpot might be linked across four or five different games. Some local jackpots are also spread across multiple machines in casinos that are owned by the same operator.

Network Progressive Slots

Network progressive slots offer the largest jackpots. They are also called “wide-area” progressives and are linked across multiple casinos. In fact, the same wide-area jackpot may be offered across different brands of slot. However, qualifying bets all feed into the same big jackpot. The chances of winning a network jackpot are small, but the prizes can be huge.

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400 18
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Chances of Winning a Progressive Jackpot

The good news is that with a progressive jackpot, you have the chance of turning a small stake into a five-, six-, or even seven-figure prize.

The flip side is that the odds of winning the top jackpot can be in the millions to one. For example, the chances of winning the Mega Moolah slot by Microgaming is nearly 50 million to one. Although as we’ve mentioned, this is still a much better probability that winning the national lottery.

However, some Vegas progressive jackpot slots have even worse odds. Some games offer odds of 1 in 150 million to 1 in 300 million.

Just like the lottery, players will always try to defy the odds to take down a progressive jackpot, and that’s part of the thrill. So set your bank roll and get playing, and who knows? Your name might just be on the next multimillion-Euro payout!

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