What Are Progressive Slots and How Do They Work?
Slot machines can be divided into two main categories: video and classic. The distinction between these categories is not in terms of rules, as all slot games are played in the same way, and you have to do the same things to win. This distinction is based on the features of the games. In general, the number of pay lines in classic slot machines is few, and they contain almost no special symbols or bonus rounds. The video slots, on the other hand, can contain thousands of pay lines and offer numerous special symbols and/or bonus rounds. So far, so good, right?
A jackpot slot game can fall into any of these categories. So there is no rule that only video slot machines can offer jackpot prizes, for example. Classic slot machines can have jackpot payouts too. The important thing is that when you succeed in placing a particular combination of symbols, you win a special and high prize: games with this feature are called “jackpot slots”, with the meaning of jackpot as “a large cash prize”. But even if the prize amount is high, it’s still a fixed amount — you know how much you can win beforehand. The rules of the game clearly tell you in advance what kind of payout you will get when you trigger the feature that activates the jackpot.
So, what does progressive jackpot slot mean and how is it different from “ordinary” jackpot slots? This is actually a literal term and is used to denote that the jackpot prize is not fixed, but rather is increasing. Progressive jackpot machines have a prize pool, and every game played causes the accumulation of money in this pool to grow progressively. Since there is no upper limit, the money accumulated in the pool can sometimes reach millions of Euros. So progressive jackpot machines, whether video slots or classic slots, have one thing in common: the grand prize you can win isn’t a fixed number, and it’s constantly increasing. So, how exactly does this system work, and what do we mean by “prize pools”?
Below, we will answer this question in detail.
What Is a Progressive Jackpot in Slots?
Ok, here is a short explanation of how the progressive jackpot slot prize pools work – this will also let you understand how the grand prize amount can grow so big.
- Think of a virtual pool. No, really, think of it as a swimming pool – it will be easier to understand. When you wager a coin, it drops into this pool. And if you lose a spin, it stays in this pool.
- Now imagine that thousands of other players do the same thing, over and over, for a long period of time. Each coin wagered by these players drops into this pool and fills it. The more players join, the faster the pool will be filled with coins. If we wait long enough, even millions of Euros can accumulate in the pool.
- And one lucky player will win all the coins in that pool, at some point. Maybe he will win thousands, maybe millions of Euros, but one thing is certain: the amount of the prize will be quite high.
This is a simple explanation, but it is enough to understand how progressive slot mechanics work. The rules of progressive jackpot slot machines are no different: you are still trying to place the same symbols on a pay line. These casino games also make regular payouts, so you can earn an “ordinary” prize by placing three normal symbols next to each other, for example. Or, you can activate a bonus round, such as free spins, and collect the payout of the round too. In other words, if you’ve played a classic slot or video slot game before, you’re ready for progressive jackpot machines too – things don’t change. The only difference is that when you place a particular combination of symbols on the pay lines (or if you’re lucky enough), you get a big reward. And the amount of this award is determined as described above.
At this point, we know that you have two questions in mind. The first is how you can win jackpot prize. The second is how much reward you can potentially win. Let’s start by answering the first question because the second answer is longer.
What you need to do to win a progressive jackpot prize is different in every game. In other words, each progressive jackpot slot machine has its own rules, and you can find out what these are by looking at the paytable. However, in general, we can say that one of the following two rules applies:
- Placing a combination of symbols on pay lines. For example, if you place five wild symbols on a single line at the same time, you can win the prize accumulated in the pool.
- Being lucky enough. You don’t need to do anything or use a specific symbol set: you can win the jackpot prize completely randomly during normal play. So every time you press the spin button, you have a chance to win.
Once again, always check the paytable to find out how you can win the jackpot prize. You can do this by clicking the button with the same name on the interface (sometimes this button can be called view pays, info, pays, etc.).
So, how much can a progressive jackpot game give you? Once again, this is different for each game and depends on how much money is accumulated in the pool. To give you an idea, Mega Moolah, one of the most famous progressive slot games in the world, has already distributed the following awards:
|10/2015||£ 13,213,838.00 (*)|
(*) This is the current world record, recognized by Guinness Book of World Records.
Please note that this table only includes the highest annual rewards: Mega Moolah continued to pay prizes out of these dates as well. We can easily say that it has distributed hundreds of millions of Euros to date. Almost every month, a different player becomes a millionaire thanks to Mega Moolah. Mega Fortune, another popular progressive jackpot game, isn’t much different – although it hasn’t broken the world record, it continues to distribute millions of Euros each year. In short, the maximum prize you can win is not a fixed figure, but it is almost certain that it will be over a million Euros in any case.
So, what is this determined by? Why doesn’t every progressive jackpot have a prize as big as Mega Moolah? Two factors determine the amount of reward: popularity and pool type. It’s easy to understand the popularity – the more popular a progressive jackpot game is, the more it will be played. And the more people play it, the more money will accumulate in the pool. Because it broke the world record, Mega Moolah is extremely popular – hence more preferred by players.
The pool-type also determines what the prize amount will be. Simply put, there are thousands of different copies of the progressive jackpot game you’re playing, and they all run on the same network. If a country-based pool system is used, for example, the game you play will be only connected to a pool in your country, so the prize amount will not exceed a certain amount. However, if the game is connected to the geographic region based pool system, the prize amount will increase as the covered area is much larger. Sounds complicated? Here are two simple examples:
- Imagine playing Mega Fortune in England. This game is connected to a UK-based pool, which means that wagers of all players in this country accumulate in the same pool. So, the number of people who play this game in the UK will determine the prize amount.
- The Mega Moolah game, on the other hand, is connected to a Europe-based pool. So, a UK player and a German player share the same pool, for example. Since the number of players is higher, much more money can accumulate in the pool.
Of course, these are just examples to show you different pool types: Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune does not work exactly like this. In any case, popularity and the size of the pool will also determine the jackpot amount.
How Often Do Progressive Slots Hit?
There is no clear answer to this question: no one knows when a progressive jackpot game will pay. It is not possible to see an order between payments too, so there is no such thing as “they pay at least every three months” or something like that. In short, we have no idea, and even the programmer of that jackpot slot game can’t tell you. To give you an idea, let’s give an example using Mega Fortune: this game made a payment in January 2018, March 2018, May 2018 and paid at least €2.5 million each time. It looks like it pays every 2 months, right? The problem is, there are no payouts since May 2018: no one has won the grand prize for 583 days. And the prize in the pool is close to 5 million Euros at the moment, which is December 2019.
Mega Moolah, on the other hand, paid 5 times in 2018, in January, February, March, April and June. Each time it paid a minimum of €3 million, and the last payout was even over €8 million. However, it is not possible to determine a payout frequency using this data, since Mega Moolah has not been paying since June 2018: The amount of money accumulated in the pool has exceeded 7 million Euros. If we make a very general assessment, we can say that progressive jackpots pay at least twice each year, but this is not a definite value: some years they pay more, and some years they pay much less. This is something that is determined by the RNG and RTP, so it is not possible to predict in advance.
How Do You Pick a Winning Slot Machine?
You can’t figure out which progressive jackpot game is more likely to pay; stop believing in urban legends. There is nothing to suggest that a jackpot game will about to make a payment, especially when compared to other games. But we know how the basic mechanics work: a progressive jackpot game pays when its RTP value reaches 100%, and every coin wagered increases that value a bit. It is, of course, not possible to know when it will reach 100%, but it is also not possible to ignore a simple fact: if a progressive jackpot slot has already made a payment, do not expect another payout for a long period of time. For the same reason, you will have a greater chance of winning in jackpots that have not been paying for a long time, because the RTP percentages are about to reach a positive figure.
In short, if we were you, we would start playing Mega Moolah or Mega Fortune! You can try the demo versions of these games on our site and choose any of the casino sites we recommend to play them with real money.