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Progressive Jackpot – How do you win Progressive Jackpot Slots?

Progressive jackpot slots are slot games with a lottery-style grand prize. Each time a player wagers money and loses it, the jackpot gets bigger for everyone. If you want to know how to tell if a slot machine is progressive and find the best online slots, this guide is packed with useful information.

Every once in a while, you’ll read a story about a slot player who managed to hit the jackpot and retires to a life of cocktails sipped on tropical island beaches with a life-altering amount of cash winnings. Sounds like a dream for any player based in the rainy UK, doesn’t it? Even though deep down you know it’s a super rare occurrence, for a second, you probably imagined how much your life might change if it were you on the receiving end of an oversized progressive jackpot cheque. But before we get to the results, we’ll need to rewind a little to discover all the different types of progressive jackpot slots and the strategies and options for playing them.

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What is a Progressive Jackpot?

In the mid-19th century, a Bavarian immigrant called Charles Fey started tinkering around with machines that were later to become the slots machines of today. In 1896, Fey opened the Slot Machine Factory, where he manufactured slot machines commercially, and as they say, the rest is history. Fast forward to 1986, and the games developer company IGT released the first so-called Megabucks slot. For the first time, a slot didn’t have a fixed prize but relied on the total funding coming from a network of all IGT slots. Just one year later, a lucky gambler in Reno, USA, was the first to win a progressive jackpot of $4.9 million (more than $3.7 million).

Today, the vast majority of regular slots are played online and will pay out a fixed amount, regardless of how much a player spends. But progressive jackpot slots are a different animal altogether. This is because the prize money rises every time money is fed in. A small percentage of each wager goes towards the overall jackpot. As you can imagine, over a period of time, this can build up to eye-watering amounts. Once the jackpot has been won, the slot is reset to the minimum prize amount, often referred to as the “seed value.”

Playing your favourite slot, there are several ways to trigger a progressive jackpot win. Some slots pay out randomly in the base game, while others require you to land three scatter symbols to activate the jackpot feature. Depending on the slot setup, you’ll come across different jackpot levels too, including Mini, or Rapid, Major, or Midi, and Mega.

Understanding Progressive Jackpot Values

If you’re going to be playing progressive jackpot slots, then keep in mind that there are two very distinct categories of progressive slots. The first is the “open-ended.” In theory, when playing these, you could be literally waiting years for a payout. Conversely, the second type will feature a payout deadline, either via a specific date or when the pot reaches a certain size. These prizes tend to be smaller and are known as “tiered jackpots.” To attract players, casinos will offer a number of different progressive jackpots, ranging from thousands of pounds that can be won once a week to slot games issuing daily payouts.

One feature that virtually all progressive jackpot slots will display is the “jackpot meter”, otherwise known as the “jackpot ticker.” This shows the current size of the jackpot and is displayed on the main page of the online casino website and inside the respective slot itself to attract hopeful players. As the gameplay is totally random, it’s quite possible for two players to achieve progressive jackpot wins almost directly after each other. In this case, the first payout will be more than the second. If, for example, the minimum seed value is $2,500, then it’s possible that the first payer may win $7,000, whilst the second will win slightly more than the reset amount of $2,500, depending on the time period between the two winners.

Types of Progressive Jackpot Slots

Now that you have a better understanding of what progressive jackpot slots are, it’s important to realise that there are variations within this genre. Essentially, there are three types of progressive jackpot slots available.

Standalone or Autonomous Progressives

Back in the days of land-based gambling, when progressive jackpot slots were first introduced, this was the only type of machine available. Only wagers placed on a singular machine would contribute to the jackpot prize. So, though the grand prize would be steadily rising, it could only increase as fast as that particular machine was being played. Today, most progressive jackpot slots feature multiple games networked together, thus offering the possibility of massive progressive jackpot wins. However, the jackpot isn’t going to buy you a superyacht, as it’s normally capped at around $10,000.

Local or Internal Progressives

Moving up the prize money ladder, we have the next step of progressive jackpot slots, the local progressive. Instead of the jackpot being linked to a single game, all the slots offering progressive jackpots will be linked within the online casino of your choice. Depending on the brand’s size, this may include as few as ten slots or as many as hundreds. The jackpot itself is directly tied to the number of slot games available, so the jackpot prize can vary considerably. The range is normally above $100,000, but below $1 million. Still, nothing to sneeze at!

Network or Global Progressives

Finally, we reach the big daddy of all progressive jackpot slots. This variation is usually known as a network jackpot, also called global progressive jackpot. Because these jackpot winners receive so much national publicity, it’s no surprise that for many gamblers, the wide-area progressive slots represent the pinnacle of the slot jackpot. With slot games being networked across many online casinos, the jackpot can accumulate to astronomical piles of cash. Many of these jackpots will start at $1 million, and the sky’s the limit, with some jackpots being over $10 million. You’ll find titles such as Mega Moolah and Megabucks to be some of the most successful wide-area network progressive jackpot slots in the industry, with the jackpot from Megabucks often moving into the eight-figure territory.

The Best Progressive Jackpot Slots

Thanks to the ever-rising popularity of online progressive jackpot slots, it’s no surprise that many of the largest game developers are jumping on the bandwagon with new slots. Below we’ve listed four of the most well-known and played progressive slots. You’ll be able to find them at any reputable UK online casino.

Mega Moolah

Mega Moolah Wallpaper

Microgaming really hit the ball out of the ballpark with this amazingly popular African-themed progressive jackpot slot. Although the original game, launched in 2009, features five reels and 25 lines, there are a number of Mega Moolah jackpot slots that all play slightly differently. The minimum bet for UK players is as low as $0.01, with the maximum bet being $6.25. Over $50 million went to 18 gamblers over the last 11 years, in spite of the rather underwhelming RTP of 94%. The maximum win is set at a fixed $3,033,563, though smaller jackpot prizes are available, called Mega, Major Minor and Mini, paying out between $1 million to just $10. Although Mega Moolah can claim to have presented the largest jackpots to its winners, Mega Fortune isn’t far behind and has an eye on the biggest jackpot crown.

Mega Fortune

Mega Fortune by NetEnt

Here’s a progressive slot from NetEnt that was launched in 2009 and is happy to display all the finer things in life awaiting the eventual jackpot winner. The theme features sports cars, yachts and a ritzy Hollywood-style night-time skyline. There’s a wonderfully cheesy 70’s funky disco soundtrack to add to the allure. Four betting levels range from a mere 0.1 up to a maximum bet of 50.00, which will allow you a chance of winning three jackpot levels; the Rapid, the Major and the Mega Fortune jackpot, which starts at $150,000. You’ll need to enter the bonus round in order to have a shot at winning a jackpot, which can be achieved by landing three bonus wheels. You can also get your hands on ten free spins, each coming with a 5x multiplier. In 2014, NetEnt produced an enhanced version of this slot, called Mega Fortune Dreams, with the action taking place onboard a luxurious superyacht moored in the Caribbean.

Age of the Gods

This slot is based on ancient Greek mythology and comes from the games’ developer Playtech. The graphics are gorgeous, and you’ll see antique temples with lots of gold decorations. There’s also a melodic and soothing soundtrack. You’ll find Poseidon, Zeus, Athena, and Aphrodite among the famous Greek gods. The slot boasts four progressive jackpots, and they can all be triggered randomly. That means that any spin can start a jackpot game. The slot features the usual layout of a 5 x 3 matrix, and the wagering minimum is $0.01, with the maximum going up to $2.00 per line. Keep in mind that there is a fixed number of paylines, meaning the highest bet could be as high as $40. The RTP is a reasonable 95.02%.

Wheel Of Wishes

Definitely the new kid on the block, Wheel of Wishes from Microgaming was released in 2020. It enjoys a massive $2 million starting seed for its progressive jackpot, which is twice the amount offered by Mega Moolah. The game’s theme is Mesopotamian folklore (think of Aladdin!), and you’ll find a pleasing desert backdrop with Middle Eastern music to add to the atmosphere. The gameplay offers four progressive jackpots, running from the Mini ($10) up to the WowPot ($2 million). The minimum bet is 0.01 and the maximum 25.00. The game developers at Microgaming have been busy tweaking the algorithm of the game to improve the possibility of landing a 30 free spins bonus. Also, it’s noticeable that the “survivability rate” is much higher than many competing slots games, which results in a much longer playing time. They believe that this is a major factor in encouraging players to play for longer periods.

How Do Progressive Jackpot Slots Work?

Simply put, the progressive jackpot will accumulate until it’s won, at which point it’s reset back to the minimum and the whole process restarts. As previously mentioned, a percentage of all the bets goes towards the jackpot. Those bets are split between the casino and the progressive prize. Let’s have a look at a typical local progressive slot to see how it all works.

Of the 10% taken from the players’ wagers, 1% is set aside for the next seed money that will be needed after the next reset. The other 9% goes towards the progressive jackpot itself. Once the $100,000 prize jackpot is reached, the whole 10% is added to the climbing prize amount. Now, if you were betting $2.50 per spin, then $0.25 would go towards the progressive jackpot prize. The other $2.25 acts in precisely the same manner as if the slot was a non-progressive one.

Many players mistakenly believe that the casino takes a percentage of the progressive jackpot wins for itself. The truth is that, more often than not, the game’s developer will pay out the total amount between the seed value and the jackpot prize, especially for large prizes and global progressives across several online casinos. Otherwise, a couple of big wins could easily wipe out a small online casino. Operators also use these jackpots as publicity to bring in players, both for the progressive slots, as well as to play all their other casino games on offer. However, for local jackpots like Divine Fortune, Super Lucky Frog or Cosmic Fortune, it’s actually the operator who collects and eventually pays out the jackpot amount.

On the whole, progressive jackpot slots are a means of encouraging players to try other games in the casino, and that’s where the casino’s profit comes from.

The RTP Rates of Progressive Jackpot Slots

As you may already know, in casino games, the RTP stands for “return to player.” In theory, the percentage of cash taken in through wagers goes back to the player in the form of payouts. This number helps you to determine the volatility of a slot. So a slot with an RTP of 98% will return 98 pennies from each pound spent. Keep in mind that the important words here are “in theory.” There’s no guarantee that you’ll receive back 98 cents on every dollar bet. That’s because this figure is an average, taken into consideration over a long period of time. So don’t expect to see those ratios for every spin or session.

The other side of the RTP coin is the ‘house edge’. This is, to all intents, how a casino makes its profit. A 1% house edge means that the RTP is 99%, with the casino pocketing the 1% for itself. So it follows that a higher RTP means a lower house edge. This means that the slot in question is less volatile, thereby making it more playable. Yet when it comes to progressive jackpot slots, then the RTP becomes almost irrelevant.

That’s because, thanks to the amounts of players’ money being constantly siphoned off, they tend to have low RTPs. As opposed to the 1% – 2% taken for regular slots, these larger progressive jackpots funnel around 10% towards the jackpot prize. This, in turn, gives them high volatility. Keep in mind, you’re not playing these progressive jackpot slots for the frequent smaller payouts that regular slots might offer. No sir, you’re after the mega life-changing payday! With such massive odds attached to every progressive jackpot, you might as well ignore the RTP and just take the plunge and try your luck.

Do I Need to Play Maximum Bets?

All slots are a game of pure chance. As such, no strategy can ensure you progressive jackpot wins. But having said that, in order to establish that you’re eligible for the progressive jackpot, you’ll often need to bet with the maximum bet allowed. To this end, it’s important to read through the game’s terms and conditions before you start playing. You’ll discover whether you need to be playing across all the paylines in order to qualify for the main prize. It’s also a good idea to try the slot first by utilising freeplay. This will allow you to better understand the slot’s playthrough, menus and quirks. By playing a few rounds for free, you’ll gain the confidence to start betting with real cash.

The Odds of Winning a Progressive Jackpot

Unfortunately, the slots developers don’t publish any odds for their progressive jackpot slots, though if they did, you should brace yourself for some big numbers. Especially if their close relatives of lottery ticket sales are anything to go by. Although the odds will depend greatly on the estimated pot value, we can safely say that the higher the initial expected value, the more difficult it will be to win.

Some big brains have developed their own formula for calculating the odds of winning a progressive jackpot. If, for example, a slot features a total of 5 reels, with each having 20 stops/paylines, and assuming that a single payline activates the jackpot, then they calculate the winning probability as being 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20, which comes to 1 in 3,200,000 for a progressive jackpot win online. And by the way: They did also guesstimate that the odds to win the Megabucks slot in a land-based Las Vegas casino would be around 1 in 49,836,032.

You can compare this with a regular low variance casino slot which will have odds between 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000. High variance games will naturally have higher odds. So, for example, San Quintin xWays will present odds of 1 in 150,000. As far as casino table games go, the odds of the dealer going bust in blackjack are 1 in 3. In roulette, the odds of red/black, odd/even or high/low are 1 in 2. To land any number on the roulette wheel, the odds are 1 in 37. To sum up, you’re going to need to be very lucky to land a progressive jackpot.

The Largest Progressive Jackpots

Progressive online jackpot slots have been with us since the late 1990s, and those winning the progressive jackpots have certainly made their share of the headlines. Over the last couple of decades, hundreds of lucky players have become millionaires thanks to progressive jackpot wins.

Progressive Slot Jackpot Amount Year
Absolootly Mad Mega Moolah €19,430,723.60 2021
Book of Atem: WowPot £15,183,085.96 2021
Mega Moolah €14,679,069 2020
Mega Moolah $20,057,734 2019
Mega Moolah £13,212,882 2015
Mega Fortune €17,860,868 2013

If you happen to be a progressive jackpot slots winner, the casino’s customer support will contact you via the phone number you gave at registration. There are a number of different methods by which you can receive your winnings. If they are on the smaller side, they will be deposited into your online casino account. But, if, for example, you manage to win £50,000 or above, then things might follow another path. Although the cash itself may come from the games’ developer, in many cases, the online casino will be tasked with handing out any winnings. With large sums, it’s quite possible for the casino to insist on payment being spread over a number of days/weeks/months, as there may well be daily cashout limits in force. That’s why it’s super important to read the website’s terms and conditions before joining.

Progressive Jackpot Slot Strategy

Let’s be honest; there is no real strategy for playing the slots, let alone progressive jackpot slots. The game’s algorithm has a mathematical “win condition” written into its programming. This is either a “fixed probability event” such as 1 in 5.32 spins, a randomly selected time frame, a total amount across all the linked slots, or even the jackpot size itself can act as the trigger to untold riches. But there are still some simple rules you’ll need to follow. To that end, please make sure you’ve read the rules, along with the online casino’s terms and conditions, to ensure that you are fulfilling all the obligations required from the player’s part. Also, be wary of your spending.

Most large progressive jackpots, especially those with life-altering amounts of cash, will require maximum bets. These can add up alarmingly quickly. We suggest that you approach the slots in the same manner as you would approach all casino games. And that means having a pre-fixed budget before you begin. Though we all know that someone will eventually walk away with millions, we also know that deep down, it may well not be you! Always remember that those huge progressive jackpots don’t fall from the sky but are paid for by players themselves.


What is a progressive jackpot?

These are special slots that increase the prize money each time a player spins the reels. These progressive jackpot wins can reach into the stratosphere, though large prizes are only paid out once in a blue moon.

How do you win a progressive jackpot?

In general, there are three ways to win. The first is by randomly activating the jackpot during the base game. Then some come from a bonus game. Players will normally have to land three scatter symbols in order to enter the jackpot feature. Finally, you can win by landing certain symbol combinations. In truth, these are on their way out and are more difficult to find today.

How much is the progressive jackpot?

A progressive jackpot will always start at the minimum seed value. For example, Mega Moolah offers a starting seed of £1 million for their Mega Jackpot, whereas Major Millions starts its jackpot off with £250,000. At the top end, prizes often can exceed £10 million.

How are progressive jackpots paid?

A small percentage of every wager goes towards the jackpot prize. So the more a progressive slot gets played, the higher the jackpot rises. The initial amount needed to start the jackpot is known as the “seed”, and it’s usually provided by the games developer. For example, Mega Jackpots from IGT Gaming seeds the jackpot with £500,000.

What are the best progressive jackpot slots?

That’s a tough question as much will come down to your individual taste and gameplay experience. Microgaming produces the excellent Mega Moolah and Cash Splash. Then we have NetEnt with their progressive jackpot slots of Mega Fortune and Cosmic Fortune. Finally, we should mention Playtech, who offer the wonderfully immersive Age of the Gods and Beach Life.

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