Progressive Jackpots Overview


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.

How Do They Work?

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.

Win Mechanics

The way in which progressive jackpots are awarded varies, but can include:

  • Random Awards - these can happen after any spin, no matter what the outcome is
  • Landing Certain Symbol Combinations - just like a regular jackpot, these progressives are awarded when a predefined number/order of symbols land. For example, in Geisha Wonders, when a player lines up star symbols; or in progressive video poker, when a player gets a Royal Flush
  • Bonus Games - these pay when a player wins the bonus feature; for example, if a player reaches the middle of the wheel in the Mega Fortune Bonus Game

As well as staying on top of the win mechanics, jackpot chasers must also be mindful of basic entry criteria, for example:

  • Minimum Qualifying Bets - players must bet over a set amount to in with a chance of the progressive
  • Play Meters - these give regular players more chances to win; so always check the rules before you spin.

How Big Can Progressive Jackpots Get?

The biggest progressive jackpot was won 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.

Finding a Progressive Jackpots

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.

Chances of Winning 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.

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