Progressive Jackpot Slots Explained

  By – Last updated 6 Apr 2022

Huge cash payouts are one of the main reasons we enjoy playing online slots. Of course, they don’t always occur, but when they do the elation that we experience is a fantastic feeling. The thing is though if you’re aiming to land the largest possible wins you could be inadvertently handicapping yourself by choosing to play the wrong games.

That’s why we’ve decided to create the complete guide to progressive jackpot slots. We cover everything you’ll need to know about what these particular slots are all about, where you can play them and how you can potentially improve your chances of winning a life-changing amount of money.

So, if you’ve been asking yourself “how do jackpots work?”, continue reading to find the answers!

Progressive Jackpot Slots Explained

We’re sure that you’ve heard of players scooping prizes in the millions, but perhaps you’ve simply thought that it’s a pipe dream and the likelihood of it happening to you is too small to bother trying. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s certainly possible and the information you need is right below, along with a few tips to improve your chances of winning.

What Are Progressive Jackpot Slots?

All online slots list a maximum win potential; it’s the most you can win from a regular spin. However, progressive jackpot slots slightly differ from the norm insofar that in addition to the game’s top payout, they also offer you the chance to win a huge prize that increases each time you, and anyone else playing, places a real money bet on a participating game.

As such, these progressive jackpots can grow to extraordinary values. Yes, some are designed to pay before they reach a certain amount, but others will continue to increase until one lucky player wins.

Not all slots feature progressive jackpots though, so you have to be careful in picking the right games. Thankfully, most online casinos have dedicated tabs within their main lobby that house these thrilling titles so you won’t have to scroll through the entire library to find an eligible slot.

How Do Progressive Jackpot Slots Work?

Now that we’ve outlined what these particular games are, it’s time to take a look under the hood and find out precisely how progressive jackpot slots work. The short version is that each time you place a real money bet on one of these slots, a percentage of your wager funds the jackpot pool. This continues until it’s won.

However, there’s slightly more to it than that. Several major factors work in harmony behind the scenes to deliver these staggering prizes. We’ve outlined them below.

  • Bet contribution: As we mentioned earlier, with every bet you make, a small percentage is siphoned off into a separate pot that’s used to fund the progressive jackpot. You needn’t worry though as this in no way increases your stake, nor does it reduce your payout potential. It’s simply a way for operators and providers to get players to increase the jackpot’s value above the initial seed.
  • The seed: If you’ve ever seen a progressive jackpot won online in real-time, you may have noticed that the value doesn’t reset to zero. That’s because the prize has to start somewhere as players are hardly likely to play a slot with a jackpot worth nothing. This is referred to as the seed, which is a set amount guaranteed by the casino or game supplier.
  • Jackpot triggers: Obviously, a prize potentially worth millions isn’t going to be handed to you on a plate. Most progressive slots set specific criteria that you must meet before you earn a chance to win the jackpot. This could be by way of random features or specifically designed jackpot bonus games. Remember, each slot differs though so be sure to brush up on the rules before playing.

How Can You Win A Progressive Jackpot?

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If you already know how to play online slots, you’ve got all of the tools to win a progressive jackpot.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of selecting your stake, hitting spin and hoping your lucky stars align. However, if you were to delve into the technical side of things you’d find that it’s not as straightforward as that.

Progressive slots often have win conditions built into their overall math model, whether it be a case of a fixed probability event, a randomly selected time, the total value staked across qualifying slots or the jackpot’s size itself. Irrespective of the win condition though, the random number generator that powers the game’s software is what ultimately decides when the jackpot is won.

Let’s get back to more familiar footing though. In the early days of progressives, you’d traditionally need to land special symbols on a payline. More recently, however, casino game developers have introduced a diverse range of jackpot bonus games that you’ll need to trigger first, and you’re not always guaranteed to win the top prize. We’ve outlined some of the most popular examples below so you can see what needs to happen for you to be in with a chance of winning.

  • Red Tiger Daily Jackpots: You need to land 3 special jackpot symbols during a single base game spin. This then triggers a jackpot wheel, which features several prizes. When the wheel comes to rest, whichever segment it lands on is your prize.
  • Blueprint Gaming Jackpot King: These are somewhat more difficult to come by because the jackpot prizes lie behind a two-part bonus game. First, you need to trigger the Jackpot King Deluxe feature, which randomly occurs on any base game spin. Then, you need to land 15 or more Kings during the first part of the bonus to trigger the Wheel King jackpot game. Even then you’re not guaranteed a life-changing win, as you could receive a cash multiplier as opposed to one of the 3 jackpots.
  • IGT Megajackpot: Thankfully, this is as straightforward as it gets – land 5 jackpot symbols on the central payline.  

How Big Can Progressive Jackpots Get?

When we talk about progressive jackpots offering life-changing payouts, we’re not even remotely exaggerating. If the top prize goes unclaimed for an extended period it can reach eye-watering levels, and the larger it grows, the more attractive it becomes. Therefore, you will likely notice a drastic increase in its value once it reaches certain levels.

To put this into perspective, the largest progressive jackpot ever won was worth £22.3 million, scooped by a lucky Android device player on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah in September 2018. The very same game was responsible for the previous record payout, when a player in England turned 33 cents into £21.1 million back in October 2015 – it only took 25 minutes of play, too!

So, as you can see, the potential prizes on offer are phenomenal. Not only that, but the fact that they can and have been won using small stakes further fuels the dreams and hopes of players around the world. If playing, though, always remember to do so responsibly.

Finding Progressive Jackpot Slots

Nowadays, finding progressive jackpot slots isn’t a difficult task. The majority of well-established online casinos have dedicated sections where you can play a variety of different games with immense prizes. That being said, it’s worth bearing in mind that newer sites may not be able to host these games due to the potential payouts they’d have to deal with, so it’s always best to do a bit of research beforehand.

To do so, we recommend that you check out our list of top-rated online casinos and take a look at our in-depth reviews. We cover all the major details, including game selection, so you can quickly narrow down your search. Plus, there are likely plenty of fantastic welcome bonuses and offers available that you can take advantage of to boost your bankroll – be sure not to miss out!

Types Of Progressive Jackpots

The term progressive jackpot relates to a jackpot that increases whenever players place a real money bet on an eligible game. There are other types of jackpots available, but in the same vein, there are also various types of progressive jackpots. To prevent any confusion on the matter, we’ve outlined the most common types below.

A standalone jackpot relates to a prize that’s only available on one specific game. This means it is not linked to other slots, nor is it available at other casinos or part of a wider network. Only you and other players who are currently playing that game at your chosen casino are in with a chance of winning, thus giving you a much more realistic chance of scooping the prize.
A local jackpot is a cash prize that’s available across multiple slots and/or games but only remains available at one casino. Certain game providers, such as Red Tiger, link these jackpots across specific titles, whilst operators may choose to offer a jackpot on a list of eligible games created by multiple developers.
Network progressive jackpots are where you’ll find the largest prizes. That’s because they’re linked across numerous casinos and multiple slots, with thousands of players all vying for a shot at winning the top prize. Whilst you’ll likely see some sort of notification that a network progressive jackpot has been won whilst you’re playing, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has been awarded to someone playing at the same online casino as you.

Odds Of Winning

It should come as no surprise that your chances of scooping a progressive jackpot are often slim, especially when you enter the territory of prizes worth millions of pounds. However, they’re there to be won and one lucky spin may be all that it takes.

We’re not going to sugarcoat things though. The odds are always stacked against you and they’re also likely to vary depending on the type of jackpot on offer. Standalone and local jackpots are typically won with relative frequency, as you have to remember that millions of spins are played each day.

Whereas, network progressive jackpots continue to increase in value, despite millions of spins being played each day, because the odds of the necessary jackpot bonus games triggering combined with the likelihood of the top prize being awarded is infinitesimally small. For example, reports suggest the chance of winning the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot sits at almost 50 million to 1.

Tips For Playing Progressive Jackpot Slots

Whilst the basic premise of playing jackpot slots is the same as regular slots, there are certain factors you’ll want to consider before jumping into the action. Below, we’ve listed several tips that should help you to navigate the lucrative world of progressive jackpots.

Tip #1: Weigh risk versus reward

Although converting a low-stakes bet into a dream jackpot win is a possibility, you shouldn’t play with that as your primary goal. As many of these progressive slots tend to have a reduced RTP rate to compensate for potentially massive payouts, it’s important to decide on a particular playstyle suited to your bankroll.

Sometimes, larger bets give you a better chance of winning progressive jackpots, so if you’re specifically hunting for those payouts it may be better to raise your stakes and play in short bursts. However, prolonging your session by using smaller stakes allows you to spin for longer, thus giving you greater opportunity to trigger in-game features and keep your balance ticking over. There isn’t a perfect strategy, unfortunately. It’s probably just best to play as normal and hope that the big win rolls in.

Tip #2: Make use of bonuses when possible

Boosting your bankroll via the use of casino bonuses and offers is a great way to increase your potential chances. At the end of the day, more cash means more spins, which gives you extra chances to either land a sizeable payout or trigger a jackpot feature. Moreover, progressive jackpots have been won from free spins in the past, so don’t sleep on certain offers just because they may seem unrewarding.

However, it is important to thoroughly read through the terms and conditions of these offers. Whilst, it’s usually the case that you can win jackpots this way, you don’t want to be hit by a maximum win cap after landing the top payout.

Tip #3: Check for potential payment/withdrawal restrictions

Going about withdrawing your winnings might be an afterthought now, but if you land a progressive jackpot it will quickly become vitally important. Due to the potential value of these prizes, you should always check whether the online casino you use pays out jackpots in a lump sum or splits the total amount into several smaller payments – you don’t want any clauses getting in the way of your dream withdrawal.