Casino Entertainment: Progressive Jackpot Slot Machines Explained

More and more online and land-based casinos feature progressive jackpot slot machines in their game lobbies. But what are they, and how do you win them?.

John Bingril

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What Is a Progressive Jackpot Slot?

Although the game-play of progressive jackpot slot machines is the same as other online slots, the main payouts are much larger – usually in the millions.

Much like playing regular slots, you can win cash for landing symbol combinations on winning paylines. However, when you spin the reels of progressive jackpot casino games like Mega Moolah, you can trigger a bonus round that gives you a chance to win a huge jackpot.

These bonus rounds come in various forms. For example, you may have to spin a prize wheel or pick cards from a selection available on your screen to try and take home the main prize.

So what determines the size of the progressive jackpot?

Various casinos give their players access to progressive titles that belong to a network such as Mega Millions. Every time a gamer plays these games, a percentage of their wager contributes towards the jackpot, which keeps growing until a lucky player lands it.

After someone has won the main payout, the jackpot resets to a seed amount, and the process starts over again.

As thousands of people play these games, the sum of their jackpots can be astronomical. In fact, a UK slots player managed to break the world record for the biggest online slots payout on October 6, 2015, when playing the iconic game “Mega Moolah”..

With a bet of just £0.25 (€.030), Jon Heywood won a staggering £13,213,838.68 ($20,324,865.25).  Just recently the same Mega Moolah progressive jackpot hit for a staggering €7M.

The Jackpot Size

An on-screen meter of the jackpot shows you how much the prize is growing in real-time. The longer gamers play without landing the main payout, the bigger it gets. As a result, the jackpot can be huge. When someone strikes lucky, the jackpot resets to a set value to ensure you still have a chance of winning a substantial amount of money.

How Can You Win a Progressive Jackpot Slot Game?

Just like other online slot games, RNG (Random Number Generator) software determines the outcome of each spin. So if you want to win a progressive jackpot slot game, you need lady luck to be shining on you. Unfortunately, there are no insider tips that can help you take home the main prizes. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of when playing progressive slots.

  • Minimum bets – keep in mind that you might need to place a minimum bet on your spin for a chance to win, so check the terms and conditions before wagering.
  • Try Must-Drop jackpot games – these slots have to pay out within a set timeframe. This means the size of the prize increases dramatically just before the deadline. For this reason, many players wait just until the deadline before playing these online casino games. Yet, judging when they’ll drop is still extremely tricky.
  • Bonus games – as mentioned above, some of the best progressive jackpot games include a bonus round that you must win to take home the main payout. These include anything from a card game when you have to beat the dealer’s hand to a casino prize wheel. However, there is no skill involved to trigger these rounds – they are activated entirely at random.

How to Find  Progressive Jackpots

Firstly, you’ll need to sign up with an online gambling platform that offers these types of games. To ensure you register with one that gives you what you’re looking for and suits your gaming style, read independent reviews on casino bonus comparison sites such as

Doing this lets you compare a wide range of casinos and provides you with the latest sign-up offers that can reward you with bonus cash when opening your new account.

Once registered, you’ll find that top online casinos list all their progressive jackpot games in a specific section, such as “Jackpot Slots”, for example. All providers will display the current jackpot meter for eligible games in their lobby to show you which have the biggest jackpots at any time. What’s more, they usually list big winners and how much they’ve won playing certain games on that day.

Read also: Gallery: Fernando Alonso and the Other Drivers with More than 100 Podiums in Formula 1

Types of Progressive Jackpots

There are usually three types of progressive jackpots available at top online casinos.

Standalone Jackpots

A standalone progressive jackpot means that only wagers collected by that casino contribute towards the main prize. Unlike other progressive games, they don’t form part of a wider network.

In-House Jackpot Slots

Also known as local jackpots, the main prizes of in-house slots are formed from a percentage of wagers spent on a group of games on the same site or across multiple platforms owned by the same operator.

Network Progressive Slots

Network progressives are the most famous because they offer the largest jackpots. Some operators refer to them as “wide-area” progressives. The top payouts of these games are formed from bets collected by multiple casinos that all belong to the same network (such as Mega Millions). Although this means that the chances of you winning a network jackpot are small, they are gigantic.

Chances of Winning a Progressive Jackpot

When playing a  progressive jackpot slot, a small stake can secure you a six-figure prize. However, the odds of winning the top jackpot are stacked against you.

For example, the chances of taking home the main jackpot of the Mega Moolah slot by Microgaming is around 50 million to 1 (source: Therefore, the chances of you winning a life-changing amount of money are similar to those of lottery games. Yet, keep in mind that you can still win smaller sums playing these games.

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