What are Progressive Jackpot Slots?


What are Progressive Jackpot Slots?


The allure of winning a huge sum from a small stake has captivated gamblers for generations – witness the immense popularity of the National Lottery and the Football Pools before that. Fully attuned to what makes punters tick, slot game designers sought to provide a product offering a life-changing prize for an outlay of relative pennies. Enter the Progressive Jackpot Slot.

Progressive Jackpot Slot Definition

A progressive jackpot slot is simply a slot which offers a top prize that, rather than being a set amount, continues to grow over time – often to truly eye-watering levels.

How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?

The major appeal of a Progressive Jackpot Slot is the huge prize on offer – regularly running into the millions or tens of millions on the most popular titles. But how do these prizes reach such astronomical sums?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Every time a player clicks spin on a Progressive Jackpot Slot, a small percentage of their stake (usually 2.3%-3%) contributes to the Progressive Jackpot Prize pool. Only a small percentage, but millions of players making millions of spins leads to a rapidly escalating jackpot.

With Progressive Jackpots, the top prize grows until one lucky player triggers a jackpot-winning spin. Some Progressive Jackpots are capped at a specific amount, but most can grow to a theoretically unlimited level.

When a Progressive Jackpot is won, the whole process starts again. Rather than resetting to zero (a £0 Jackpot isn't very appealing, after all), the new Jackpot begins at a set amount guaranteed by the games provider. This starting value is known as the seed value.

How are Progressive Jackpots Won?

If all of the above has whet your appetite to give a progressive Jackpot a spin, you will be happy to learn that zero skill is required to land the star prize. Much like all other slot types, the result of any given spin on a Progressive Jackpot Slot is random – and is required to be so under the terms and conditions of licences issued by bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission.

When you press spin on a slot game, your senses are assailed by the whir of the reels, as a series of bells, fruits, playing card values and, increasingly, fishermen spin into view. However, under the bonnet, each spin activates a Random Number Generator, which, as the name implies, randomly produces a number.

Each number links to a specific sequence of symbols on the reels – some will produce a small payout, others will trigger a bonus round, and others will display a losing spin. And then, lying somewhere in the vast swathe of numbers within the Random Number Generator is the Holy Grail that is the jackpot-triggering number. Your chances of selecting it are slim (usually around 50million to 1 for an online Progressive Jackpot Slot), but they are as good as anyone else – and only marginally less than winning the UK lottery, which is around a 45million to 1 shot.

Having triggered the Jackpot, the astronomical sum will generally hurtle towards your balance in one of three ways:

  • Random Drop - In this scenario, any combination of symbols may spin into view, but they will be accompanied by explosions, spinning $ signs, or some other fanfare as the game announces that you have suddenly become rather rich
  • Symbol Combinations - This can be more exciting, as the game rules will usually list the exact symbol combination you need to land the jackpot, meaning you know what to look for, e.g. five golden prize pots on payline number 7
  • Bonus Game - Other Progressive Jackpots are reached via a game's bonus round, e.g. a Free Spins Round, Hold and Spins Feature etc.

Types of Progressive Jackpot Slots

The multimillion prizes understandably grab all the headlines, but Progressive Jackpots come in all shapes and sizes, with the following amongst the most common varieties:

  • Single Game - This Progressive Jackpot builds from stakes placed on one specific game – Ozwin’s Jackpots being a popular example
  • Network - In the case of a Network Jackpot (also known as a Linked Jackpot), the Progressive Jackpot feature is attached to up to 30 different slot titles. Stakes placed on any of these titles contribute to the same Jackpot fund, which may be won by a player on any of the games in the Network. Mega Moolah and WowPot! are two leading examples of the Network system
  • Tiered - Tiered Jackpots offer a selection of Jackpot prizes – ranging from prizes in the hundreds of pounds, which pay out regularly, to much larger star sums, which may only trigger once every few weeks or months on average
  • Must Drop - This hugely popular variety states that a Jackpot "must be won" by a designated date and time. Often coming with an accompanying countdown meter, these games benefit from a stampede of traffic as the Jackpot hour approaches

Progressive Jackpots vs Fixed Jackpots?

Unlike Progressive Jackpots, Fixed Jackpots are not funded by a percentage stake allocation. As such, they do not grow - instead remaining fixed at the specified amount. Fixed Jackpot games tend to pay out more regularly than progressive titles, but the prizes are considerably smaller.

Biggest Progressive Jackpot Wins

50million to 1 may not represent the most appealing odds, but Progressive Jackpots are won with regularity – as evidenced by these slots heroes, who spun their way to a fortune:

  • 2018 - A player who chose to remain anonymous bagged the £22.3M Mega Moolah Jackpot from a 0.75 cents spin
  • 2015 - Cheshire’s own John Heywood hauls in the £21.1M Mega Moolah top prize following a 25-minute session at 0.33 cents per spin
  • 2003 - An anonymous player in Finland adds £20.5M to his account courtesy of the MegaBucks Jackpot

Where to Find Progressive Jackpot Games

As one of the most popular slot types in the industry, most online casinos will group such games in a dedicated area. Head to the casino lobby and look for the “Jackpots” or “Progressive Jackpots” tab. Games in Network Jackpot series often feature an overlay of the respective jackpot logo, e.g. Mega Moolah, MegaBucks, WowPot! – usually accompanied by a prize meter, allowing you to watch the Jackpot grow ever larger by the second.


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