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Progressive jackpots offer players the opportunity to win life-changing sums of money for a small stake. They're occasionally an option in online poker games, but by far the most common place they're found is in online slots.
Online video slots are games of chance that offer players the opportunity to win cash for lining up matching symbols as they spin a wheel. These games pay out fixed amounts fairly regularly. But progressive jackpot games feature an additional potential win, with prize money often reaching five, six or even seven-figure sums.
In an ordinary slot game, when and how much it pays out depends on a single machine. But a progressive jackpot works by having a number of people playing within a network of connected games. Each time a player spins, a small percentage of their stake is added to a collective jackpot, which could be won by any player once the amount reaches a certain threshold. With potentially millions of people contributing to the jackpot with every wager, the prize pot becomes extremely large. Eventually, one random player will win the whole amount and the prize pot will start building up again from a pre-set minimum amount.
Games with progressive jackpots function first and foremost as standard slot machines. But each player who gambles on a progressive game contributes a small amount to the collective jackpot too. Once it has been filled past a certain point, each player not only has the chance to win the individual game they're playing, but also the entire accumulated amount. Some casinos have a meter that rises, indicating to players when the jackpot is eligible to be won. Online progressive jackpot games usually reveal what amount the jackpot is currently worth.
Progressive jackpot games can still be enjoyed for the individual experience, and players have the same chance of winning as they would with any other game of that nature. In order to be in with a chance of scooping the progressive jackpot, there must be a minimum wager placed, which differs depending on the game.
While the thrilling opportunity to win a life-changing fortune with a single wager is what propels many to play the progressive jackpot games, the chance of actually winning the jackpot is extremely slim. These jackpots are never "due" to pay out like other slot jackpots are, so no matter how large the amount is, the chance of winning it is still the same. The odds are comparable to those of winning the lottery, which is around 13,983,816 to one. That said, it has to pay out at some point, and somebody has to win.
The main disadvantage is that players are effectively competing against one another to try and win the prize. Some gamblers form teams to try and strengthen the odds in their favour. While team play is often discouraged and even banned in physical casinos, in an online casino it doesn't make the game any more likely to pay out.
Online progressive slots regularly pay out in excess of £1 million, though some machines tend to pay out in the tens or hundreds of thousands – still potentially life-changing sums.
According to The Guinness World Records, the largest win on record for an online progressive slot was a 47-year-old punter from Finland, who bagged €17,861,813 (£15,143,600) with a €0.25 stake, playing Net Entertainment’s Mega Fortune in January 2013. Players can also win the progressive jackpots by playing on their mobile. The highest mobile win was by a UK player known only as Gabriel L, who scooped £3.7 million on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah while on the go.
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