You may have noticed that most online casinos differentiate between classic and jackpot slots; but since all slots have a jackpot, what's the difference?
The answer is a progressive jackpot, which can reach sky-high figures. A progressive jackpot is a jackpot (maximum win) that increases every time somebody plays a game. In a nutshell, it will keep on rising until a lucky player wins it.
Progressive jackpot slots usually take a proportion of each bet wagered and add it to the jackpot. This sum is sometimes called the 'meter', and it is normally taken from multiple slots at the same time. So if several people are playing Millionaire Genie at the same time, for example, they will all be contributing to and playing for the same jackpot.
Occasionally, the jackpots are linked across multiple titles. For example, Marvel slots are all linked, meaning that players on both The Avengers and Iron Man 3 will be contributing to and competing for the same progressive jackpots. This makes the sums larger, but the chances of winning slightly lower.
The way in which progressive jackpots are awarded varies, but can include:
As well as staying on top of the win mechanics, jackpot chasers must also be mindful of basic entry criteria, for example:
The biggest progressive jackpot was won by an anonymous Android mobile device player, who staked 75c on Mega Moolah and less than 50 spins later had landed the jackpot of €18.9m (£16.7m) in September 2018. Mega Moolah had been responsible for the previous record too, landed by UK-based soldier Jon Heywood, who in October 2015 turned 25p into £13.2m (€17.9m), earning 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 €17.4m (£13.6m) on Mega Fortune. Elsewhere, one lucky Betfred customer won £5.1m on their Beach Life progressive slot, and an Aberdeenshire fisherman landed the UK record jackpot of £5.4m on Hall of Gods back in 2013.
Most online casinos organise their slots by type, for example at Leo Vegas, there is a separate 'Jackpot Slots' tab where you'll find all slots with a progressive jackpot. Many also display the progressive jackpot meter on the main screen of the slots section to advertise the big money on offer. So if you see a rising cash meter, you know it has a progressive jackpot.
The chances of winning the jackpot on the Megabucks slot machine in Vegas was estimated at 1 in 49,836,032. However, because the mechanics vary between slots, it is impossible to give a simple answer that covers every single slot. For some indication of your chances on a specific slot, check the return to player percentages, and search for previous winners to get an idea of how often they pay out.