Whether you’re playing at a land-based or online casino, the fact remains that slot machines are some of the most popular casino games available. The chance to hit a huge jackpot using a relatively small stake appeals to all, however, some jackpots are more lucrative than others.
On more traditional slot machines, these jackpots are fixed, meaning winners receive a pre-determined, fixed amount. A progressive jackpot, meanwhile, keeps increasing until someone wins it.
This makes games with progressive jackpots some of the most lucrative you can play. Their huge jackpots can provide players with mind-bending amounts of money, with some lucky enough to win seven figure sums.
Of course, there is a downside to this: the odds are against you in a big way. Which isn’t surprising considering some of the immense sums on offer. How many windfalls can a casino afford to drop?
In fact, how can a casino afford to pay out so much at all?
The answer is: progressive jackpots are made by adding up a small a proportion of every bet made by players of the slot.
After one spin the jackpot is very low, after ten it’s a little higher but still pretty measly. To get to the really big numbers a jackpot needs to have taken contributions from a significant number of bets.
To put it brutally: that’s a lot of bets that haven’t won the jackpot. If it’s easy to win a progressive jackpot then it’s a low jackpot.
Standalone Vs Linked Jackpots
Progressive jackpots come in two major types:
- Standalone Jackpots take contributions only from bets made on that game. This means that the jackpot is smaller relative to linked jackpots.
- Linked Jackpots take contributions from a number of different games that are linked together for the purposes of the jackpot. This number of linked games can vary from a few games within the same casino, to several thousand across a wide array of casinos and games.
You can see what the jackpot is at any time by looking at the jackpot meter. It’s usually front and centre.
If you’re playing a linked jackpot it will be constantly transforming itself into a high number. If your jackpot is tied only to your machine, you’ll see it increase with every bet you make.
How Jackpots Pay Out
Not all progressive jackpots are won in the same way.
- Bonus round – some games will take you to a bonus round to have a chance of winning.
- Combination – some games require a specific combination of in-game symbols.
- Random – on some you can win on any spin no matter the combination.
You should check the paytable, which will give you the full details on how to know when you’ve won the jackpot.
Boiling Point Jackpots – A relatively new way of winning the jackpot was introduced on the game ‘Spirit of the Incas’.
There are five progressive jackpots of different sizes. Each has a boiling point that is stated above the jackpot meter. For each progression a secret preset number close to the boiling point is determined and the player whose bet takes the progression to that number wins the jackpot.
Canny players can take advantage of this by watching the meter until it gets close to the boiling point and only then beginning to bet. By doing this you can win using less money.
Playing the Maximum Bet
A common feature to be aware of when playing progressive jackpots is the necessity to play the maximum bet to win the full jackpot.
This can be expensive but imagine the disappointment if you hit the jackpot combination and you haven’t played the maximum bet.
To avoid this you should check out the paytable before playing to see what the max bet is and if you need to play it to win the jackpot. This will allow you to choose a progressive jackpot that you can afford to play the maximum bet on.
As the possibility of winning a jackpot based completely at random should tell you, slots are not games of strategy or skill. You need to factor this into your expectations and know that progressive jackpots are never ‘due’ to pay out. The odds on winning the jackpot are the exactly the same for every spin.
It’s important to note that progressive jackpots are usually high variance.
This means they pay out infrequently and but when they do it is the big money. The key things here is not to bet all-out and exhaust your pot of funds before you’ve had a decent chance of triggering the jackpot. It could take some time!
Tips on Winning Progressive Jackpots
While hitting the jackpot always takes a huge slice of luck, you can create the right conditions for yourself by doing the following:
- Find out how often the jackpot is won and how much it pays out, this can be done online at casino tracking websites.
- Playing the maximum bet where necessary
- Choosing the right game for your funds
- Considering high variance
- Getting lucky
Top Five Progressive Jackpots
- Biggest Win: £13.2 million (mega); £139,000 (major)
- Average Win: £4 million (mega); £29,000 (major)
- Minimum Jackpot Winning Bet: £0.25, but the higher the bet the greater your chances.
- Seed (a jackpot’s starting point): £1 million (mega); £10,000 (major)
You win the jackpot by entering a bonus game that strikes at random, combination irrelevant. Then you spin a wheel that determines whether you win the Mega, Major, Minor or Mini jackpot.
- Biggest Win: £1.9 Million
- Average Win: £400,000
- Minimum Jackpot Winning Bet: £3
- Seed: £100,000
You win Major Millions by matching 5 symbols on the 15th and final payline.
- Biggest Win: £3.9 million
- Average Win: £600,000
- Minimum Jackpot Winning Bet: £16
- Seed: £75,000
Gold Rally is a simple 3-line slot game with a reputation for paying out regularly. To win the jackpot you need to get 9 scatter symbols, which means all 3 reels covered.
- Biggest Win: £5.5 million (mega); £310,000 (major); £5,000 (rapid)
- Average Win: £3.8 million (mega); £70,000 (major); £800 (rapid)
- Minimum Jackpot Winning Bet: £0.20
Mega Fortune offers 3 different progressive jackpots: Mega, Major and Rapid. To win you need to access the bonus round by getting 3 bonus symbols anywhere on the reels. Once there you have a spinning wheel which offers a variety of smaller wins or one of the 3 progressive jackpots.
- Biggest Win: £2.4 million
- Average Win: £1.2 million
- Minimum Jackpot Winning Bet: £1 (see below)
- Seed: £100,000
To win the jackpot on Funky Fruits you need at least 8 cherry symbols. You have the chance to win a proportion of the jackpot here, how much you win depends on the how much you bet. Betting £1 will win you 10% of the jackpot and so on up to £10, which wins you the full jackpot.