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Table of Contents

  1. Understanding How Slots Work
  2. What are Progressive Jackpot Slots
  3. The Concept of a Progressive Jackpot Game
  4. The Popularity of Progressive Jackpot Slots
  5. How to Play Progressive Jackpot Slots
  6. Winning a Progressive Jackpot
  7. The Impact of Progressive Jackpots on the Casino Industry
  8. Challenges of Progressive Jackpot Slots
  9. Conclusion

Understanding How Slots Work

Before we dive into the specifics of progressive jackpot slots, let us first review the basic mechanics of a slot machine. 
Slots are casino games of luck with spinning reels, symbols, and paylines. The reels are the vertical columns that display the symbols, which can be anything from fruits to numbers and characters, depending on the game’s theme. 

The paylines are the horizontal or diagonal lines connecting the reels’ symbols. How many paylines the slot has differs from one slot to another and can range from one to hundreds. Your goal in the game is to land matching symbols on specific paylines, resulting in a payout according to the paytable.

All games have Random Number Generators (RNG) determining all spin outcomes. That’s a computer program that generates random sequences of numbers. The RNG ensures that each spin you make is independent and fair and that the results are always unpredictable. 

The RNG constantly runs in the background, even when the game is not in play, producing thousands of numbers per second. When you press “Spin,” the Random Number Generator randomly selects a number and uses it to determine the position of the reels and the symbols that will appear on them.

What are Progressive Jackpots, and How do they Differ from Traditional Slots?

So, what are progressive slots? Progressive jackpot slots are unique slots that feature where the jackpot increases in size every time a player bets on the game. 

Unlike traditional slots, where jackpots are fixed and do not change, progressive slots have a jackpot that grows with every wager until a lucky player wins it. The jackpots can be worth millions, depending on the game and the number of players. 

Progressive jackpots are often networked across multiple casinos, which means that every bet placed on the game by any player in any casino contributes to the jackpot pool. That makes the jackpot grow faster and bigger, creating community and excitement among the players.

The Concept of a Progressive Jackpot Game

The main difference between non-progressive slots and progressive jackpot slots online is how the jackpot is calculated and paid. 
In traditional slots, the jackpot is a fixed amount predetermined by the game developer and does not change. The progressive jackpot is a jackpot offering the highest payout you can win by landing the rarest combination of symbols on the reels. 

For example, the jackpot might be 1000 coins for landing three 7s on the payline in a classic three-reel slot. The jackpot is independent of the bet size, meaning the player can win the same amount regardless of how much they wager.

In progressive slots, the jackpot is a variable amount determined by the small percentage of every bet added to the jackpot pool. The jackpot pool is a separate fund reserved for the jackpot winner and is not affected by the regular payouts made to the players. 
The jackpot starts with a seed amount, the minimum amount the jackpot can be. The game developer or the casino usually provides the seed amount, which can vary from game to game. 

For example, the seed amount for Mega Moolah, one of the most popular progressive slots, is $1 million. Every time you bet on the game, a small portion of your bet (usually around 1% to 5%) is added to the jackpot pool. That means the jackpot prize grows with every wager until a lucky player wins. The jackpot resets to the seed amount after someone wins, and the cycle repeats.

Depending on how jackpots are linked and shared among the games and casinos, there are different types of progressive jackpots. The most common types are:

  • Standalone progressives. These progressive slots do not link to other games or casinos. The jackpot feeds only by the bets on that specific game, and only players can win it. Standalone progressives usually have lower jackpots than other types but have higher odds of winning.
  • In-house or proprietary progressives. These are progressive slots linked within a single casino or a group of casinos under the same operator. The jackpot feeds from the bets placed on all the linked games, and any player of any of the games can win it. In-house progressives have higher jackpots than standalone progressives but lower than wide-area network progressives.
  • Wide area network progressives. These progressive slots are linked across multiple casinos, regardless of ownership or location. The jackpot meter grows from the bets placed on all the linked games, and any player of any game can win it. Wide area network progressives have the highest jackpots and the lowest odds of winning.

How Progressive Jackpots Grow

The main factor that determines how progressive jackpots grow is the percentage of bets that contribute to the jackpot pool. Usually, the game developer or the casino sets this percentage, which can vary from game to game. The higher the percentage, the quicker the jackpot grows and the lower the regular payouts. 

For example, if the percentage is 5%, then for every £100 wagered on the game, £5 goes to the jackpot pool, and £95 goes to the regular payouts. That means the jackpot will grow faster, but the players will also win less frequently and smaller jackpots.

Another factor that affects how progressive jackpots grow is the number of players and the frequency of bets. The more players and bets there are, the faster the jackpot rises. That is why progressive jackpot slots are usually networked across multiple casinos to increase the player base and the betting volume. That also creates a positive feedback loop, as the higher the jackpot, the more players are attracted to the game, increasing the jackpot even more.

The role of player contributions is crucial for progressive jackpots, as they are the primary funding source for the jackpot pool. Without player contributions, the jackpot would not grow, and the game would not be attractive. 

However, player contributions also mean that the players are paying for the jackpot and that the jackpot is not a free bonus. That is why progressive jackpots slots have lower RTP (return to player) and higher volatility than traditional slots. RTP is the bet percentage returned to the players over time, and volatility measures how often and how much the game pays out. 

Progressive jackpot slots have lower RTP because a small portion of the jackpot is deducted from the jackpot pool. They also have higher volatility because the jackpot payout in an online slot is less frequent and variable. 

For example, the RTP of the Mega Moolah slot is around 88%, while the RTP of a typical traditional slot is around 96%. That means that for every £100 wagered on the Mega Moolah slot, you can theoretically expect to receive back £88 on average, while for a traditional slot, you may expect to receive around £96 on average. 

However, this does not mean that online progressive jackpot slots are not worth playing, as they offer the chance to win much more than traditional slots, and the RTP is only an average that does not reflect the actual outcomes of each spin.

The Popularity and Chance of Winning a Progressive Jackpot Slot

Progressive jackpot slots are top-rated and one of the most sought-after casino games for several reasons. The main reason is the lure of massive wins, which can change the players’ lives. Progressive jackpot slots offer you a chance of winning millions with a single spin, unmatched by any other casino game. 

Many players are willing to sacrifice the lower RTP and higher volatility of progressive jackpot slots in exchange for the chance to win the jackpot.

Another reason for the high popularity of progressive jackpot slot games is the notability of jackpot wins in history. Progressive jackpot slots have created some of the biggest and most famous winners in the history of gambling, and their stories have been widely publicised and celebrated. Some of the most notable jackpot wins in history are:

  • In 2003, a lucky 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles won $39.7 million playing the Megabucks progressive slot machine at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That is the biggest jackpot ever won on a land-based slot machine, and the winner chose to remain anonymous.
  • In 2015, a British soldier named Jon Heywood won £13.2 million on the Mega Moolah slot machine at Betway Casino. That was the biggest progressive jackpot ever won in an online casino then, and the winner used the money to pay for his father’s medical treatment and buy a luxury car and a house.
  • In 2018, an anonymous player won $21.7 million on the Mega Fortune slot machine at Grand Mondial Casino. That was one of the largest jackpots ever won on an online progressive slot game, and the winner chose to receive the money in monthly instalments for 29 years.

There are many other lucky winners, and this list keeps growing, proving that the progressive jackpot slots can be the most attractive slots to play in any casino.

How to Play a Progressive Slot Game

Playing progressive jackpot slots is similar to any regular slot, with some differences and considerations. Here are some steps and tips for playing progressive jackpot slots:

Choose a game. The first step is to choose a progressive jackpot game that suits your preferences and budget. Hundreds of progressive jackpot slots are available online, each with distinct themes, features, and jackpots. You can browse the games and compare their RTP, volatility, jackpot size, and other factors. You can also read reviews and ratings from other players to get an idea of the quality and popularity of the games. Top progressive jackpot slots include Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune, Hall of Gods, Arabian Nights, and Divine Fortune.

Understand the rules and paytable. The next step is to understand the rules and paytable of your chosen game. They explain how the progressive slots work, what the symbols mean, how paylines form, what the bonus features are, and how the jackpot is triggered and paid out. It would be best to familiarise yourself with the rules and paytable before playing to ensure clarity and satisfaction later. You can usually access the rules and paytable by clicking the info button on the slot screen.

Choose a playing strategy. The final step is to decide on your plan for playing the game. There are different strategies and tips for playing progressive jackpot slots, depending on your goals and expectations. Some of the common strategies and tips are:

  • Set a budget. One of the most essential tips for playing any casino game is establishing and sticking to a gaming budget. Decide how much money you wish to spend on the game and stay within that amount. That will help you avoid overspending and chasing your losses that may lead to problem gambling and financial troubles. You should also set a limit on how much time you are going to play and stop when you reach it.
  • Choose between playing for the jackpot or playing for fun. Another tip for playing is to choose between playing for the jackpot or playing for fun. That means you should decide whether your main goal is to chase the jackpot or enjoy the game and its features. If you are playing for the jackpot, focus on the games with the highest jackpots and bet the maximum amount possible. That can increase your chances of winning a progressive jackpot and reduce your chances of winning smaller payouts. If you are playing for fun, focus on the games with the best features, graphics, and themes and bet the amount that suits your budget. That will boost your chances of winning smaller payouts and reduce your chances of triggering the jackpot.
  • Play with a bonus. Playing with a bonus can also be beneficial. A bonus is a free or extra amount of money the casino gives you to play with, usually as a reward for signing up, depositing, or playing regularly. It can offer you a bankroll boost, extend your playing time, increase your bets, and boost your chances of winning. However, you should also know the bonus terms and conditions, such as wagering requirements, expiration date, and game restrictions. You should read and understand the terms and conditions before you claim and use the bonus to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later.

Winning a Progressive Jackpot

Winning a large progressive jackpot is the ultimate dream of all slot players, but it is also an infrequent and challenging event. The odds of hitting the jackpot depend on several factors, such as the game, the jackpot size, the bet size, and the number of players. 

The jackpot is triggered by a random event, which can vary from game to game. Some of the common ways of triggering the jackpot are:

  • Random triggers. These can occur anytime, regardless of the symbols or the bet size. For example, in Mega Moolah, the jackpot is triggered by a random jackpot wheel of fortune that can appear after any spin. The wheel has four segments, each representing a different jackpot level: Mini, Minor, Major, and Mega. The player has to spin the wheel and hope to land on the Mega segment, which awards the jackpot.
  • Specific combinations. These require the player to land a particular combination of symbols on a precise payline or position. For example, in Mega Fortune, the jackpot triggers when you land 3 jackpot symbols on the first, second, and third reels. The player must then play a bonus game consisting of three concentric wheels. However, many progressive slots require you to land 5 jackpot symbols to win one of the jackpots. 

If you are lucky to win a progressive jackpot, you will see a congratulatory message on the screen, displaying the amount you have won. Depending on the game, you will also hear a sound effect and see some animations. 

However, before you can celebrate and claim your prize, you must undergo a verification process, which can take some time and involve some steps. The verification process is necessary to ensure you have won the jackpot legitimately and are eligible for the payout. Some of the steps involved in the verification process are:

  • Contact the casino. The first step is contacting the casino where you have won the jackpot and informing them of your win. The casino will then verify your identity, account, and game history to ensure you are the rightful winner and have not violated any rules or terms and conditions. The casino will also ask you for some documents, such as your ID, address, and evidence of payment method, to confirm your personal and financial details. You should cooperate with the casino and provide them with the required documents as soon as possible to speed up the process and avoid delays or complications.
  • Contact the game developer. The next step is to contact the game provider who has created the progressive jackpot slot and inform them of your win. The game developer will then verify the game data, the RNG, and the jackpot pool to ensure that the jackpot is triggered and paid out correctly and that there are no errors or glitches. 
  • Contact the jackpot network. The final step is to contact the jackpot network that has linked the progressive jackpot slot to inform them that you have won it. The jackpot network will then verify the jackpot pool, the jackpot contribution, and the distributions to ensure that the jackpot was calculated and shared correctly and that there were no discrepancies or disputes. 

The verification process can take a few hours to weeks, depending on the game, casino, developer, and network jackpot. You should be patient and respectful during the process and follow the instructions and guidelines. You should also keep a record of your win, such as a screenshot, a video, or a receipt, in case you need to provide any evidence or proof later.

Once the verification process finishes, you can claim your payout, which you can receive in different ways, depending on the game, the casino, the game developer, and the jackpot network. Some of the standard payout options are:

  • Lump sum. This option includes receiving the entire jackpot amount in one payment. A lump sump is the most preferred and convenient option for most players, allowing them to enjoy their money immediately and without any restrictions. However, this option has some drawbacks, such as higher taxes, lower value, and higher risk. 
  • Annuity. The annuity is the option of receiving the jackpot in regular instalments over time, usually from 10 to 30 years. That is the less preferred and less convenient option for most players, as it delays their gratification and limits their choices. However, this option also has some benefits, such as lower taxes, higher value, and lower risk.

Which payout option you choose depends on your personal and financial situation, your preferences and goals, and the advice of your financial and legal experts. You should weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully and make an informed and responsible decision.

The Impact of Progressive Jackpots on the Casino Industry

Progressive jackpot slots significantly impact the casino industry, online and offline, influencing player engagement, marketing strategies, and revenues. Here’s how:

  • Higher player engagement and retention - These slots attract and keep players hooked with their unique gaming experience. Players feel the thrill of chasing the jackpot and sharing their stories, fostering loyalty and trust. The chance to win a big jackpot keeps players satisfied and coming back for more.
  • Role in marketing strategies - Progressive jackpot slots serve as powerful marketing tools, generating buzz and publicity. They show the quality and fairness of the games and casinos, setting them apart from the competition and attracting attention through jackpot announcements and winner displays.
  • Impact on casino revenues - While progressive slots online can boost profits by keeping more bets as profits due to lower regular payouts, they also entail higher costs and risks. That includes paying out large jackpot sums and sharing bets with developers and networks, leading to increased fees and commissions and greater uncertainty for casinos.

Common Progressive Jackpot Challenges

Progressive jackpot slots have challenges and drawbacks for the players and the casinos. They involve issues and controversies, such as the debate over odds and fairness, the potential for problem gambling, and the regulatory concerns and measures. 

One of the main challenges of progressive jackpot slots is the debate over the odds and fairness of the games and the jackpots. Some players and critics argue that progressive jackpot slots are rigged or manipulated and that the odds of winning the jackpot are too low or unpredictable.

 They claim that the game developers or the casinos can influence or interfere with the RNG, the game data, or the jackpot pool to reduce the chances of triggering or paying out the jackpot. They also claim that the game developers or the casinos can hide or misrepresent the odds of winning the jackpot to deceive or mislead the players. These allegations are usually based on speculation or conspiracy and do not follow evidence or logic. 

The game developers and the casinos deny and refute these allegations and assert that progressive jackpot slots are fair and random and that the odds of winning the jackpot are transparent and verifiable. They claim that the RNG, the game data, and the jackpot pool are audited and certified by independent and reputable authorities to ensure they are accurate and reliable. 

Casinos also claim that the odds of winning a progressive jackpot are disclosed and displayed on the game screen or the game rules and paytable to inform and educate the players.

Regulatory concerns and measures 

The final challenge of progressive jackpot slots lies in navigating the world of regulations. These rules keep the gambling industry in check, ensuring a safe gaming environment for everyone. These rules can vary quite a bit depending on where you are, reflecting the local laws and ethics.

  • Licensing and certification - Before a game or casino can offer progressive jackpot slots, they must get a green light from the gambling authorities. That ensures everything is in order and follows the law.
  • Taxation and reporting - Like any business, developers and casinos must pay their dues. That keeps things fair and transparent, with taxes managed by the official tax authorities.
  • Testing and auditing - You want to be sure that the games you’re playing are fair, right? That’s where testing and auditing come in. Independent agencies ensure everything is up to scratch, meeting the standards set by the authorities.
  • Responsible gambling and player protection - Gambling should be fun, but it’s essential to do it responsibly. That’s why there are initiatives in place to promote safe gambling habits. These efforts are often led by organisations dedicated to responsible gambling, ensuring everyone can enjoy the progressive slots without harm.

These are all challenges that everyone faces in the industry, so everyone plays their part to ensure a smooth gaming experience. 


Progressive jackpot slots are some of the most fascinating and rewarding casino games that offer the chance to win life-changing amounts of money. They are among the most complex and challenging casino games involving many factors and elements.
We tried to explain and explore everything you need to know about progressive jackpot slots, from how progressive jackpots work to how to play and win them. Now, you should have a deeper understanding of what is progressive jackpot slot and what it involves. 
If you are still wondering whether you should play regular slots or progressives, we believe you have a good explanation of both, so the choice is yours. Pick the one that brings the most fun to you, and good luck chasing the jackpot. Remember to always gamble responsibly within your means and have fun! 


Written by Kosta Kostadinov

Kosta is an experienced writer who enjoys testing and reviewing online slot games. He understands how they work and how to include the most relevant aspects in his reviews. Contact Kosta @