Progressive Jackpots: What They Are and How They Work (Guide)

Content Team 2 years ago
Progressive Jackpots: What They Are and How They Work (Guide)

If you’ve just started dabbling with the world of online casino, there’s a good chance this progressive jackpot guide will come in handy as you explore further.

You’ve probably already come across this term before, but if you’re looking to find out how do progressive jackpots work then you’ve landed in the right place. 

With hundreds of casino slots readily available on line, picking the ones that are right for you can prove a daunting task at times. The good news here is that we’re planning on covering all things jackpot slots related in this handy guide. Ready to find out all there is to know about progressive jackpot slots? Make yourself comfortable and join us in exploring this topic further by means of this handy guide. 

What is a Progressive Jackpot?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of this progressive jackpot guide, the first thing you’re going to want to learn is the difference between progressive and non-progressive jackpots. For starters, with non-progressive jackpots, the prize pool is fixed at the beginning of the game, and will continue to be the same any time you choose to load this game up. 

With progressive jackpots, on the other hand, any time a player chooses to spin the reels for real money across the player network, a small percentage of that wager is added to the final jackpot win, which incrementally increases the final jackpot prize, which sometimes rises to multi-million life changing figures, just in case you were wondering. Once someone eventually hits the jackpot on a progressive jackpot game, the jackpot prize resets back to default. 

How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?

In the section above of this Progressive jackpot guide, we’ve already alluded as to how these games actually work, but of course there’s no harm into getting into some finer details – so what is a progressive jackpot exactly? As we’ve already mentioned, the biggest difference between a progressive and a non-progressive jackpot is the fact that despite there being no fixed jackpot win, there’s always the chance of winning an insanely huge prize while spending very little. 

Let’s take Microgaming’s Mega Moolah as an example of how this actually works for instance. In this case, any player spinning Mega Moolah at any casino across the Microgaming network will actively contribute to the final jackpot prize during their gameplay. The network will often span across a number of casinos in your territory, which means that you have an equal shot at hitting the jackpot in Casino A as you would at Casino B. The longer the jackpot takes to hit, the higher it climbs making it possible to win millions on a single spin. It’s also important to keep in mind that certain jackpot games have a minimum wagering limit in order to qualify for the jackpot prize, so you’re always going to want to double check the paytable before committing to play for real money, just to ensure that you’d potentially qualify in the first place. 

You’re also going to want to keep in mind that just like regular slots, progressive jackpot slots are also governed by a random number generator (RNG), which means that its absolutely impossible to predict the nature of outcome of the nature of these reels, as well as basing any past performance on future predictions. 

The Biggest Progressive Jackpot Polls and Biggest Wins

In this section of today’s progressive jackpot guide, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest jackpot wins in online casino history. The top ten to make it to the progressive jackpot wins hall of fame include:

Rank Game Name Win Info Jackpot Win
1 Mega Moolah  Won in April ‘21 by an anonymous Belgian player at Napoleon Casino €19,429,358
2 Mega Moolah  Won in September ‘18 by an anonymous player at Grand Mondial Casino €18,915,721
3 Sisters of Oz WowPot  Won in April ‘21 by a British Player that identified himself as ‘Mr M’ at 32 Red Casino  £15,183,085
4 Mega Fortune  Won in January ‘13 by an anonymous Finnish player at Paf Casino  €17,860,868
5 Mega Moolah Won in January ‘19 by an anonymous Canadian player at Zodiac Casino  $20,057,734
6 Mega Moolah  Won in October ‘15 by UK based player Jon Heywood at Betway Casino £13,212,882
7 Mega Moolah  Won in August ‘20 by an anonymous Swedish player at Lucky Casino €14,679,069
8 Mega Moolah Won in April ’20 by an anonymous Canadian player at Jackpot City Casino  $16,495,060
9 Mega Moolah  Won in May ’20 by an anonymous player in New Zealand  $13,617,374
10 Mega Fortune  Won in September ’11 by an anonymous Norwegian player at Betsson Casino €11,735,446

What Are the Odds of Hitting a Progressive Jackpot?

At this point you must be probably wondering what are the progressive jackpot odds of hitting a multi-million win, and without going into too much detail the answer here is probably not the one you’d hoped for. Statistically speaking, the chances of hitting a really big progressive jackpot start at around 50 million to one and progress from there. 

Now with regards to the finer technicalities, the first thing you’re going to want to look up before choosing to play any slot game is the RTP and the variance. The RTP refers to the theoretical return to player any casino game is able to pay back to its players over the course of time, while the variance, or volatility, refers to how often the slot machine is able to do so. 

Let’s take NetEnt’s Mega Fortune for instance that’s generally considered a low volatility slot with an RTP of 96%. This implies that for every €100 real money wagered on the game, it will eventually pay back €96. Nevertheless, it’s really hard to gauge the way that particular jackpot would perform, mostly because slot games are completely random by nature, which means that even though statistically things may make perfect sense, what actually happens on the reels is a completely other story most of the time. 

How Do Casinos Pay Out Progressive Jackpot Wins?

Now as we’ve mentioned earlier on in this progressive jackpot guide, the biggest progressive jackpots are run across the developer network, which is where the big money is. As a general rule, smaller payouts are generally paid out directly by the casino, while multi-million wins are where the software developer would get involved. 

So how do progressive jackpots work in terms of massive payouts? This is where the promotion’s terms and conditions will be relevant, mostly because you’re going to want to know where and how the money would come from if you happened to hit the jackpot. As a general rule, if the software company is paying there’s a good chance that the lucky winner will receive a single, massive payout. If the funding is coming via an online casino however, there’s a chance this payment will be split up into several smaller payments that could span across the year. 

Tips For Progressive Jackpots 

In this progressive jackpot guide, we’ve also thought of including a section to guide you with regards to playing to your full potential. In this case, you’re going to want to follow a couple of guidelines to ensure your game time is backed by the best possible odds. These include: 

  1. Create a budget and stick with it 
  2. Keep an eye out for huge jackpots
  3. Claim bonuses and promotions 
  4. Play overdue jackpots
  5. Consider max bets 

Create a Budget and Stick to It 

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again in this progressive jackpot guide; it’s always really important to set a budget before starting to play any casino game, and essentially sticking with it. This will allow you to stay on top of your gameplay without losing control, which is always highly recommended whenever gambling. 

Keep an Eye Out for Huge Jackpots 

The very best progressive jackpots are generally made up of a combination of time and volume, both of which could eventually contribute to a pretty massive progressive jackpot. The reality here is that the longer a progressive jackpot takes to drop, the higher the chance of someone claiming it when they least expect it. Generally speaking, progressive jackpots that are long overdue are always the most lucrative ones. 

Claim Bonuses and Promotions 

Rather than simply focusing on how do progressive jackpots work, sometimes you’re going to want to look at the online casino landscape as a whole. Many online casinos will generally offer a series of casino bonuses and promotions, many of which you’ll be able to claim as both a new player as well as recurring one. Nevertheless, it’s always a really good idea to always check the bonus terms and conditions in order to make sure you’re actually able to use that particular bonus on progressive jackpot slots. 

Play Overdue Jackpots

If you’ve ever wondered what is a progressive jackpot and how it works, the simplest answer here is random number generator (RNG). This game mechanic ensures full casino to player fairness and transparency, while also potentially allowing for every spin to have the exact same chance of winning as the one before or after it. As mentioned earlier on however, jackpots that are long overdue statistically stand a better chance at being claimed. 

Consider Max Bets 

Some of the best progressive jackpot slots out there won’t allow you to qualify for a potential win without placing a certain wager, which is usually close to max bet. For this reason, if you’re looking to learn progressive jackpots work, you’re also going to want to know the correct betting structure to go with them – full details on your favourite slot’s paytable of course. 

The Most Famous Progressive Jackpot Games

When it comes to progressive jackpot slots sometimes the sheer amount of games available on the market may come across as slightly daunting, especially if you’re still new to the game. Thankfully, this progressive jackpot guide is here to help – here are some of the best progressive jackpot slots of all times in no particular order: 

  1. Mega Moolah by Microgaming 
  2. Mega Fortune by NetEnt 
  3. Sisters of Oz WowPot by Microgaming 
  4. Arabian Nights by NetEnt 
  5. Juicy Joker Mega Moolah by Just for the Win 

Mega Moolah by Microgaming 

Considered the progressive jackpot slot OG by many, Mega Moolah is one of the biggest, and most popular progressive jackpot slots out there. Apart from record-breaking multi-million jackpots, the game is actually ridiculously simple to play and offers four potential progressive jackpot prizes. 

Arranged across five reels with three rows and 25 paylines, Mega Moolah slides right in with an RTP of 88.12% and a max win worth 1,800x excluding the progressive jackpots. The Lion symbol is your Wild and will replace for all others whenever there’s the chance of substitution, while landing at least three Scatters on the reels will trigger the Free Spins feature that comes with a 3x Win Multiplier for the duration of the round. 

Mega Fortune by NetEnt 

With a luxurious theme and a potential max win worth 2,162x your bet excluding jackpots, Mega Fortune is a NetEnt progressive jackpot slot that registers an RTP of 96.6% which is incredibly high for a game of this type. 

In this case, the luxury yacht is your Wild symbol and will substitute for all other regular symbols on the reels, while the Bonus Wheel is your Bonus symbol and landing three or more matching symbols on the reels will trigger the Bonus Game which could potentially lead to one of the progressive jackpots. There’s also a Scatter symbol that’s represented by a bottle of Champagne and landing at least three on the reels will trigger the Free Spins feature. 

Sisters of Oz WowPot by Microgaming 

Now here’s another Microgaming progressive jackpot slot that’s also recently made online casino history with a legendary massive jackpot win back in 2021. With five reels, four rows and 20 paylines this medium volatility slot comes with an RTP of 95.83%. 

In this case, you’ll be required to collect a number of Progressive Trigger symbols which could randomly appear over the Potion symbols during the game. There are also Jumbo Blocks that are 3×4 in sze and are able to appear on the central reels, while your Wild symbol will replace for all other regular symbols on the reels whenever there’s the opportunity of creating a new win. This Wild also doubles as a Scatter symbol, and three or more on the reels will activate the Free Spins feature within the game. 

Arabian Nights by NetEnt 

Another slot definitely worth a mention in this progressive jackpot guide is Arabian Nights by NetEnt that’s got five reels, three rows and ten paylines, along with an RTP of 95.62%. In terms of gameplay, your Genie icon is your Wild symbol and will substitute for all other regular symbols on the reels, while your Scatter is the Magic Lamp symbol and landing three or more on the reels will trigger the Free Spins feature and award 15 free spins. 

In this case, the jackpot feature is totally triggered at random, which could lead to some pretty massive wins – and that’s not even taking the 1,503x potential max win into consideration. 

Juicy Joker Mega Moolah by Just for the Win 

And finally, we’ve got Juicy Joker Mega Moolah by Just for the Win in collaboration with Microgaming that’s arranged across five reels, with three rows and 20 paylines and an RTP of 92.03%. 

In this case we’ve got four progressive jackpot prizes once again, which could be potentially triggered by landing three Jackpot symbols and spinning the Mega Moolah Progressive Jackpot Wheel. In this case, the wheel could either award a random cash prize or one of the epic progressive jackpots on offer. 

This progressive jackpot slot also comes with a series of Wild symbols including a regular Wild, a Re-Spin Wild as well as a Juicy Wild and a Returning Wild at later stages of the game. 

Progressive Jackpot FAQs

Who pays out progressive jackpot winnings?

As mentioned earlier on in this progressive jackpot guide, it majorly depends on who is going to dish out the final wins. In most times, non-progressive jackpots are paid out directly by the casino, while in some cases progressive jackpots are paid out via the software developer. 

How do I get my progressive jackpots paid out at once?

Always refer to the terms and conditions of every particular game in order to ensure you’ve received the correct information before committing to play any casino game for real money. 

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