What Is A Progressive Slot Machine

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Progressive slot machines are a special category of slots that have a jackpot which continually increases as more people play the game without winning it. This creates enormous prize pools that can grow into the millions over time.

Unlike fixed jackpot slots which have a maximum capped payout, progressive slots are open-ended. There is no limit to how high the top prize can climb. This is what makes them so exciting to play.

Below we’ll explain exactly how progressive slots work, the different types available, your odds of hitting a jackpot, plus tips for getting the most enjoyment from these casino games.

How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?

A progressive jackpot starts with the casino or game provider contributing an initial “seed” amount to prime the pot. This functions as the starting value.

From there, every wager made on the progressive slot feeds into the total jackpot. A small percentage of each bet gets siphoned towards the rising bounty. This continues non-stop with the prize pool snowballing over hours, days, weeks, and sometimes even years.

Eventually when the propitious moment arrives and the jackpot is triggered, the lucky winner collects the entire windfall amount. After paying out the jackpot, the progressive slot instantly resets to its original seed value and starts accumulating again from scratch.

The Significance of RNGs

All slot games, including progressives, rely on RNG (random number generator) software to produce their results. An RNG is an algorithm that generates intricate, non-repeating sequences of random numbers continuously.

In slots, these randomly generated numbers determine the final resting positions of the reels with each spin. RNGs are rigorously tested to guarantee fair gameplay.

The manner in which a progressive jackpot is triggered depends on the particular slot. It could be via a special reel alignment, bonus game, or even at random regardless of the spin results. But because everything stems from randomly generated numbers, the timing of hitting a jackpot prize is utterly unpredictable.

What Is A Progressive Slot Machine

Your Chances of Winning a Progressive Jackpot

The odds of landing a life-changing progressive jackpot aren’t easy to pin down due to variables like pot size, number of linked machines, and more. But the bottom line is the probability sits somewhere in the vicinity of 1 in 50 million.

To put this astronomical figure in perspective:

●   You have a 1 in 14 million chance of winning the lottery

●   You have a 1 in 1 million chance of being struck by lightning

So, triggering a progressive jackpot is almost 4 times less likely than winning the lottery and 50 times less likely than getting zapped by lightning. Suffice to say, the odds are firmly stacked against you.

But that doesn’t stop progressive slots from being enormously popular. The lure of winning millions is simply too appealing for many players to resist despite the improbability.

Biggest Online Progressive Jackpot Wins

To inspire you further, here are the 5 largest online progressive slot jackpot wins recorded:




Mega Moolah €19.4 million April 27, 2021
Mega Moolah €18.9 million September 28, 2018
Mega Moolah €20 million January 30, 2019
WowPot £15.1 million April 14, 2021
Mega Fortune €17.8 million January 20, 2013

As you can see, Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot dominates the list with three out of five of the biggest online jackpot wins. Mega Moolah frequently reaches eight-figure sums and has even paid out world record amounts more than once.

Regular vs Progressive Jackpots Compared

To understand progressive jackpots better, it helps to compare them against standard fixed jackpots:

Fixed Jackpot Slots

●   Also called “flat top” slots

●   Maximum payout is a set amount

What Is A Progressive Slot Machine

●   Top prize typically 100x – 10,000x the bet size

●   More consistent payout rate

Progressive Jackpot Slots

●   Also called “wide area progressives”

●   Jackpot continually rises

●   No limit on maximum payout

●   Life-changing prizes possible

●   Lower payout rate

In fixed jackpot slots, the jackpot remains stagnant at all times. If the game states the max payout is 10,000 coins, that amount never fluctuates. You simply have to multiply your bet size by 10,000 to understand the maximum you can possibly win.

Whereas in progressives, the ceiling constantly moves upward. The jackpot display shows the real-time value being offered which can eventually ascend into seven, eight, or even nine-figure territory given enough time.

Ultimately both varieties have pros and cons and appeal to different players. Fixed jackpots provide more reliable gameplay for bankroll management purposes. While progressives tempt you with their glamorous, ever-escalating prizes that introduce a fun element of anticipation.

Types of Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots come in a few different forms:

Local Progressives

Local progressives are restricted to a single casino. A group of the same game is linked together, allowing the jackpot to gradually accumulate. But only players in that casino can contribute to the pot. This limits how high the top prize climbs.

Local progressives may also be called standalone or in-house progressives. Their jackpots tend to max out in the tens of thousands.

Wide Area Progressives

Wide area progressives (WAPs) connect numerous online casinos into one giant jackpot network. Sometimes hundreds of casinos featuring the same progressive slot game feed into the same central pot.

With such an expansive reach, pots easily reach millions. But your chances of hitting the jackpot also take a plunge because loads more players are vying for it concurrently across all those casinos.

Mega Moolah is a classic WAP example with Microgaming linking together 130+ casino sites into their shared progressive network.

WAPs can also link various slots so multiple games feed the same jackpot. When it pays, one lucky player triggering it could be seated at any of the qualified games.

Multi-Tiered Jackpots

Most modern progressive slots feature more than one jackpot tier. This enables awarding multiple jackpot prizes at various levels all within the same game.

The tiers represent a tradeoff – the higher the jackpot value, the lower the probability it will hit. The lowest tier pays out frequently while the grand jackpot can go months or years before landing.

For example, Microgaming slots like Mega Moolah contain four jackpot tiers:


Seed Value

Mini £10
Minor £100
Major £10,000
Mega £1,000,000

Multiple jackpots allow players to win smaller sums regularly to make up for the improbability of the mega jackpot striking.

Limited-Time Jackpots

Also called daily drops, these short-term progressives must pay out their entire jackpot within a predefined timeframe such as 24 hours.

Their pots accumulate rapidly throughout the day with the guarantee it will be won by a set hour. Ensure you get your spins in during the small window that the limited-time jackpot is climbing!

Top Software Providers

Let’s look at progressive jackpot slots from the most renowned casino game developers:

Microgaming Jackpot Slots

Along with record-breaking Mega Moolah, Microgaming is also home to multi-million jackpot games like:

●   WowPot

●   Major Millions

●   Lotsaloot

●   King Cashalot

NetEnt Jackpot Slots

Although their pools don’t reach Mega Moolah proportions, NetEnt provides a superior gaming experience with slots like:

What Is A Progressive Slot Machine

●   Mega Fortune

●   Arabian Nights

●   Hall of Gods

●   Divine Fortune

Novomatic Jackpot Slots

Novomatic specialises in land-based casino games but also develops online progressive slots on occasion. Their jackpot portfolio includes:

●   Book of Ra Mystic Fortunes

●   Pyramid Fortunes

●   Lucky Twist Wheel: Money Ki Neko

And more.

Progressive Slots Myths

Over the years, numerous myths and misconceptions have sprung up around progressive jackpot slots. Let’s debunk some of the most common falsehoods:

Myth: You can win a jackpot using free spins
Truth: Impossible. Jackpots require real wagers that contribute to the pot.

Myth: Slots get “hot” and “cold”
Truth: Games utilize RNGs to guarantee results stay random perpetually.

Progressives pay on a cycle
Truth: Wins occur purely by chance in a random fashion without patterns.

Myth: You must bet max to win the jackpot
Truth: Some slots but not all require max bets. Always check rules first.

Myth: Online jackpots are rigged Truth: UKGC licensing ensures fairness through RNG testing.

Tips for Playing Progressive Slots

Follow this expert slot strategy to maximize your progressive jackpot chasing:

●   Stick to reputable top casinos for guaranteed fair games

●   Try free demo versions first to learn mechanics

●   Set a budget and manage bankroll carefully

●   Temper expectations – pots only occasionally pay out

●   Take advantage of casino bonuses to supplement your bankroll

●   Always check eligibility rules before playing

The glamorous allure of progressive jackpots will continue mesmerizing players for ages to come. While winning a life-altering jackpot requires a healthy dose of luck, following sound slot strategy greatly enhances the experience.

What Is A Progressive Slot Machine

Stay tuned to casino news to hear about the next lucky player that scoops one of those massive pots!

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