If you’re looking to win a jackpot that could change your life, then progressive slots are the game to play. Let’s face it—you’ll never win several hundred thousand playing blackjack or roulette. The payouts just aren’t high enough.
The purpose of this page is to provide an explanation of what progressive slots are, how they work, and why you might be interested in playing them. We’ve also included descriptions of some of the more popular progressive jackpots available both online and in traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.
WHAT IS A PROGRESSIVE SLOT, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
On most slot machines, the jackpot is a fixed amount, but on a progressive game, the jackpot rises as players put coins in the machine and spin the wheels. A tiny percentage of each coin played is used to “feed” the jackpot. There are three types of progressive slot machine games.
A standalone progressive slot machine has a jackpot ticker on the game, but only bets placed on that specific machine feed the jackpot. This was, at one time, the only kind of progressive slot machine game available, but most progressives feature multiple machines that are linked together. Still, so many standalone machines were manufactured that these games are still easily found in casinos throughout the world. Usually the jackpot on the games will be under $10,000.
Local progressives were the next step in the evolution of this type of game, and they’re still commonly found. These games feature jackpots within a specific casino that are linked. This network can include as few as a dozen or so machines, or it can include a hundred machines—it just depends on the casino. Usually the jackpots available on these games are under $1,000,000, and often they’re under $100,000.
Wide Area Network Progressives
These are some of the most popular casino games on the market today. A wide area network jackpot links slot machines from multiple casinos in the same state. This allows the jackpot to accumulate into astronomical sums of money, often over $1 million and sometimes even over $10 million. The most well-known brand of wide area network progressives is the Megabucks games from IGT, which is the most successful slot machine design company in the world.
HOW DO YOU WIN A PROGRESSIVE JACKPOT?
No strategy or system can increase your chances of winning a progressive jackpot on a slot machine game. The odds of winning are similar to the odds of winning the lottery, although you get many more chances of winning per hour with a slot machine game than you would get playing a lottery game.
An important thing to keep in mind about progressive jackpots is that they don’t become “due”. The chances of winning are astronomically small no matter how large the jackpot has gotten. It’s possible for a jackpot to grow large enough that a bet on a particular slots game will be a positive expectation bet, but it’s not a practical opportunity to win. A 1 in a million shot is still a 1 in a million shot, even if the jackpot is up to $2 million.
ONLINE PROGRESSIVE JACKPOTS
With the rise of online casinos, progressive jackpots on the Internet have become just as popular as the games in actual land-based casinos. Microgaming is one Internet casino provider which has established its fame and reputation based largely on its large assortment of fun, colorful, and relatively loose progressive jackpot games.
Online progressives work just like their land-based cousins. Every wager you make on your computer feeds a tiny amount into the progressive jackpot for that game. Since lots of players are now gambling from the comfort of their homes, these jackpots can become just as large and life-changing as the progressives in Vegas or Atlantic City.
MOST POPULAR PROGRESSIVE GAMES
Megabucks is one of the most popular progressive networks available. The probability of winning this jackpot has been estimated at 1 in 50 million. The amounts won on this machine vary from $10 million into the hundreds of millions. Like many lottery games, Megabucks is paid out as an annuity over 25 years.
Wheel of Fortune is a popular brand of slot machine, and it’s available in multiple denominations. One of the most common versions is the quarter version, which has a starting jackpot of $200,000. The jackpot on this game has gotten close to $2 million in the past, but it’s usually won when it’s still under $1 million.
The dollar version of Wheel of Fortune progressives starts with a $1 million jackpot. It’s not unusual for the game to reach $5 million or more, and it almost reaches $10 million on occasion. Like Megabucks, this jackpot is paid out as an annuity over time.
Elvis isn’t just the king of rock and roll. He’s also a symbol of classic Vegas, so it’s entirely appropriate that he has a progressive slot machine network named after him. The game starts with a $100,000 jackpot, and it costs 25 cents per spin. Keep in mind that to be eligible for the jackpot, you have to make the max bet, which is 3 coins, or 75 cents. We don’t recommend playing progressive slots without making the max bet, because you usually won’t be eligible for the top prize unless you do.
Mega Moolah is an online-only progressive jackpot available at Internet casinos powered by Microgaming software. Multiple games feature the brand name, and the jackpots and betting limits vary. This progressive network features some of the largest jackpots online, often reaching $1 million or more.