progressive jackpots

Complete Progressive Jackpots Guide

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? You do!

Megabucks, Mega Moolah, Major Millions, Mega Fortune, millionaires have been
made courtesy of these mega games.

Progressive jackpots have been a part of the slot experience since Megabucks
first hit the casino floors in 1986. IGT’s creation has turned hopeful players
into instant millionaires. Megabucks is a networked slot game with 750 machines
in 136 Las Vegas casinos.

You don’t need to walk through actual casinos doors to get in on this type of
jackpot opportunity, though. I-Casinos have Mega Moolah, Wheel of Fortune, and
dozens of other options available to players right in their livingroom or even
on smartphones and tablets on the move.

As the name implies, progressive jackpots have increasing top prizes that are
tied into the amount of betting volume. A small percentage of every wager goes
toward building the pot and the longer it’s not claimed, the bigger it gets.

There are three types of jackpot games:

  1. Stand alone – one-off games where a portion of the bets goes to
    increase the grand prize for that particular game only
  2. In-house progressive – these are much more common in brick and
    mortar casinos and included linked machines but only in-house and not through a
    big casino network
  3. Networked – here’s where the massive money comes in as networked
    slots are hosted in several locations whether in person or through iCasinos to
    build a bigger prize pool through more player interaction

Slots Pay Big

When we talk about the advantages and disadvantages to slot play, one of the
top benefits is always “big payout potential.” Slots may have the largest casino
edge, but they also provide some of the highest rewards through networked games.

$39,710,826! Can you even imagine? In 2013, a Los Angelian playing at the
Excalibur put in $100 and walked away with the largest jackpot in Las Vegas history on the Megabucks machine. He beat the
odds of one in 16.7 million (an extremely conservative estimate), and can
honestly say that his life changed that day.

That record setting money was won in person, but online players are not left
out either. A Guinness Book record-setting €17.86 million was awarded on
NetEnt’s online Mega Fortune machine. At any given time, you can find different casino sites
featuring million-plus prizes. Mega Moolah always starts out at £1 million even
if the prize was just claimed. The more you play, the more you’ll know the games
to look for as there are some that are singled out as the best jackpot machines,
even in the virtual world.

Don’t Disregard the Smaller Payouts

There are a handful of those massive payout games, but even more with
ever-changing amounts that range from over a thousand to £50,000, £100,000, and
even in the £500,000 range. Availability depends on the particular iCasino and
the software it uses, as every company will vary.

You can typically find these types of slot games through a dedicated
“Jackpots” link, or if you scroll through the list of games, the current payouts
should be posted as well.

Relatively smaller payouts don’t just apply to the top prizes as some games
have more than one jackpot level. Mega Fortune has a Rapid, a Major, and then
the Mega prize. Approximately 1% of every bet goes to fund the Rapid, another 1%
to the Major, and then 5% goes into the Mega prize pool.

Not Just for Slots Anymore

We’ve referenced a few slot games that stand out, especially for regular
players who are well aware of the top paying games, but other casino games
provide progressive payouts as well. Video poker can have a rising Royal Flush,
and Caribbean Stud, Hold ’em, or Draw are well-known table progressives with
jackpots triggered by side bets.

There are Blackjack progressives, and even roulette can be converted to this
type of game. Microgaming’s Roulette Royale pays players every time a number
repeats. If the number comes out five times in a row, the player is the lucky
(and happy) recipient of the current jackpot payout.

Progressives on Mobile

You won’t find that all progressive games transfer over to mobile casinos,
but a good many of them do, and more and more are being added as new apps are
created. There is more of an emphasis being placed on smartphone and tablet
access as mobile play is on the rise.

In 2015 another Guinness Book World record was broken through the £13.2
million Mega Moolah jackpot, this time the winner was using the mobile casino.

Odds, Strategy, Payouts, and More

What Are the Odds of Winning a Million-Plus Prize?

Odds will vary depending on the game itself. With networked progressives, the
odds should be consistent regardless of your chosen casino, though. One site
wouldn’t be able to offer better odds than another as fairness needs to be the
top priority.

The one thing that does affect odds, though, is the amount of the

Higher denominations provide a slightly better chance of hitting your
target. The actual odds of winning are not publicly promoted by the slot
providers. In fact, when the Megabucks winner was announced, odds of winning
were mentioned to be nearly one in 17 million, but some say it could be as high
as one in 50 million.

What is the House Edge?

You may be familiar with the term payout percentage or house edge and what it
refers to is the overall percentage that the casino retains from a long-range
series of bets. It’s averaged out factoring in over a million spins, and slots
typically claim anywhere from 82 to 98% as payout percentages leaving the casino
with 18 to 2%. Again, these numbers vary with the machine, the provider, and
with time. For the most part, though, jackpot progressives will be providing a
lower payout percentage to players as that big top payout number needs to be
funded, plus the casino still needs its take. For many of those big name games,
the casino take could be as high as 10 to 15%.

Who Pays Out the Winnings?

The smaller payouts are issued by the casinos or i-casinos, and that would
include the lower level jackpots. The software company only gets involved in the
bigger prize payouts, especially the linked progressives hosted in multiple

Is the Jackpot Paid Out All at Once?

We hate to be vague but, again, this does depend on the game, the software
provider, and the terms and conditions of the casino itself. As a general rule,
if the software company pays, it will be paid out all at once. If the casino
pays, there could be monthly withdrawal limits that may extend overall payment
issuance by months or even years. Some sites list $5,000 a month of £20,000 a
month as the most that it will issue, so the total winnings are divided out

Because payouts differ so wildly between i-casinos, we’ll use the
example of
Megabucks instead. If a player wins the top prize that starts out at $10
million, he or she receives a check for 1.4 million straight away and then has
60 days to opt for payout in annual installments or lump sum. If the upfront
payout is chosen, the actual check is for 60% of the total prize, and that’s
before taxes. Annual installments spread payments out for 20 years, so most opt
for the 60% scenario and call it a day.

Is There a Strategy to Better the Odds for Progressive Games?

Obviously, there’s no guarantee, but there are a few considerations that may
make a difference.

Step 1 – Find a Random Jackpot Game

If you are very limited on betting funds and
want to play for that big money prize, you are better off selecting a game like
Mega Moolah with a random bonus set-up. That means that the bonus round isn’t
triggered on pay lines. It could pop up at any time. One of the
biggest game winners was only
betting 25p.

Step 2 – Always Bet the Maximum When Required

Although not across the board, most
progressive jackpot games are dependent on a maximum wager. If you’re playing
one of those, you can’t cut corners and lower your bet, or you are totally out
of contention for the progressive amount and may end up with something like a
few hundred instead.

Step 3 – Play the Same Game For as Long as You Can

Play the same game for as long as you can – this could be debated,
but many experts say that you have a better chance of winning if you stay
consistent and play the same jackpot machine for as long as you possibly can to
increase your overall odds.

Why Would I Play Anything Else?

There are a few reasons why progressive jackpots are not always the game of

    The odds are not in your favor…

The odds of winning are much less
as opposed to a game with a relatively lower prize pool. Extended playing time
is needed to build up that significant jackpot amount, so odds will then be
established accordingly.

Top paying games pay less along the way…

Again, that prize money needs to
come from somewhere, and it originates from the players. If more cash is being
dedicated to one big payout, then you’ll see much few low tier wins on your

It can be expensive…

Unless you’re playing one of those random jackpot
versions, a maximum bet is required, and the betting can get steep. Even if it’s
a three-reel, one line game and the denominations are one pound, you’re putting
up £3 every time you press spin. Move to a multi-pay line game and the
investment is that much greater. 25 pay lines = £25 if you’re still paying a £1

Some Online Progressive Jackpots

Pretty much anywhere you go to gamble online these days; you’ll find a
collection of jackpot games as the appeal of these large money prizes is so

Microgaming is one of the largest providers of online jackpot games, and its
collection goes well beyond slots although it is the creator of the popular Mega
Moolah, the game that never dips below the £1 million payout mark. It also
produces Roulette Royale that we previously mentioned. It’s a regular Roulette
game, but players get paid whenever a number repeats. The big prize is claimed
if a number recurs five times in a row.

It seems nearly impossible, but it has
been done, several times in fact.

Other Microgaming progressive jackpot options:

  • King Cashalot – a “pick until you collect” bonus game where players opt to discard current winnings for a bigger jackpot
  • Poker Ride – a straight flush claims 10% of the jackpot prize pool
  • Triple 7’s Progressive Blackjack – allows for a range of betting denominations
  • Major Millions – the slot game that starts out with a minimum £250,000 prize
  • Tunzamunni – a nickel progressive that’s just a three-reel, one line game and, the current top prize is more than £84,000
  • Cash Splash – two versions being a three reel, three coin primary game or the five-reel, 15 line option
  • Supajax – Jacks or Better video poker with a Royal Flush progressive

Playtech is another manufacturer of many progressives. It initially provided
a Marvel super hero collection but lost the licensing. Fortunately, super hero
fans are still well accommodated, though, as the DC Superhero Jackpot is currently over £700,000 and includes games like:

  • Batman and the Joker Jewels
  • Batman and Catwoman Cash
  • Superman I and II
  • Green Lantern

All super hero slots are networked together and offer the same jackpot payout

The Pros and Cons of Progressive Jackpot Games

  • Pros
  • Cons

  • Instant millionaires are made
  • Now available in most online casinos and their corresponding mobile casinos
  • 24/7 access to the action
  • Many have lower level jackpots as well
  • Non-networked progressives will have better odds
  • Entertaining with different themes and bonus rounds

  • Maximum bet may be required
  • Smaller wins aren’t as frequent
  • Prize payout may not be issued all at once
  • Greater house edge than regular slots, video poker, or table games
  • Table game progressives require a bigger bet


We all know that the biggest progressive jackpot prizes come with odds
similar to winning the lottery. But, if you’re going to play slots anyway, it’s
fun to know that it “could” happen. New games are consistently being released,
and there are games out there to accommodate all budgets. Why not throw your hat
in the ring? You just never know.

Ever dreamed of being a millionaire? Of course you have! In this page we have all the tips you'll need to make the most of progressive jackpot games.

Progressive Jackpots

If you have ever seen an advertisement for a casino that had huge amounts (often in the millions) offered as top payouts you have probably seen games with a progressive jackpot. Keep reading to learn what a progressive jackpot is, how they work, different types of progressives, and where you can find them.

What Are Progressive Jackpots?

Progressive jackpots are amounts offered as the top payouts for particular casino games that continue climbing until a player wins. They are available on a wide range of games, but the most common ones are tied to slot machines.

They tend to run from thousands of dollars all the way up to millions of dollars. Progressive jackpot games are available at online casinos as well as in land-based casinos.

Most progressive jackpot games require maximum wagers to be eligible for the jackpot amount. So if you hit whatever the required combination or hand is to win the progressive but haven’t wagered the correct amount you won’t win the progressive.

This would have to be one of the absolute worst feelings in the world so make sure you both understand the minimum wagering requirements to be eligible for the progressive and are always betting at that level or higher when you play on a progressive game.

The most common example of this is a video poker game with a progressive jackpot. On most machines, you have to wager five coins to unlock the top payouts. So if you are playing a quarter video poker machine the total bet at five coins would be $1.25 per hand.

If you bet less than this and hit the top paying hand you will only win the amount listed for your number of coins, not the progressive jackpot. If you aren’t comfortable betting as much, you should play for a lower amount per coin.

You may be able to play the same video poker game in a nickel machine, making your bet .25 for a five-coin wager. Many slot machines have the same ability to play for a lower amount per line.

How Progressive Jackpots Work

Progressive jackpots build over time until a player wins them, then they reset to a predetermined level and start building again. The way they build is by taking a percentage of every bet made on the game the progressive jackpot is associated with and adding it to the jackpot amount.

Here’s a fictitious example so you can see exactly how a progressive jackpot works. The example uses numbers that are easy to compute for the purpose of this page. These numbers are not necessarily representative of a real-life progressive game but are an accurate representation of the mechanics.

We’ll use a slot machine with an attached progressive jackpot as an example. The slot machine takes 10% of every wager and places it in the progressive jackpot amount. After the jackpot is won the amount is reset to $100,000. The reset amount is generally accumulated from the contributions to the overall progressive jackpot.

In this example, 1% is used to fund the next reset amount and 9% goes straight to the progressive amount until $100,000 is accumulated in the reset account. Once the $100,000 is accumulated the entire 10% is used for the climbing jackpot. Another way this can be handled is the casino or software provider, whoever is running the progressive, fronts the $100,000 and the 10% goes toward that until it is taken care of.

Then the progressive will continue growing. There are a few other ways the reset amount can be handled, but the important thing to know is the seed amount is taken from the wagers on the game just like the progressive amount.

Continuing with our example, you are playing for a total cost per spin of $2.50. In this case .25 of each spin is contributed to the progressive jackpot amount and $2.25 is handled just like it is on a non-progressive machine. The other pay outs and the profit from the machine are taken from this second amount.

A common misunderstanding is the belief that the casinos are taking a huge cut of the progressive jackpots. The casinos tend to make more money on large progressive jackpot machines, but not because they are getting a cut of the jackpot. Generally, they pay out 100% of the jackpot between the jackpot amount and the reset amount.

The reason they can make more profit on the largest progressive jackpot games is because of the extra players who are trying to hit the big win. The media coverage picks up when jackpots get high and it increases the number of players. The additional profit comes from the second amount ($2.25) in our example.

For example, if the machine in our example is set to pay out 90% over time, the casino will make 22.5 (twenty two and a half) cents per bet. So here is the complete breakdown of a $2.50 wager on the slot machine in question.

Total Wager $2.50
Progressive Jackpot Contribution $0.25
Paid out to players (Average over time) $2.025
Casino Profit (Average over time) $0.225

What are the Differences Between a Local and Wide Area Progressive Jackpot

From a player’s perspective, there really isn’t a big difference between a local progressive jackpot and a wide area progressive jackpot. A wide area progressive jackpot is also sometimes called a linked jackpot and some progressives are called a bank. The wide area jackpot tends to build faster because there are more players, but the mechanics of how the jackpots build are the same.

A wide area progressive jackpot is one shared across games, usually slot machines, across a range of properties. For example, you might find the same progressive slot machine games in numerous land-based casinos or in online casinos running the same software platform. If they are part of a wide area progressive they each feed into the same jackpot and payout from the same jackpot pool.

When there are hundreds or even thousands of players playing the same machines at the same time the progressive amount is bound to go up faster than local progressives.

A local progressive jackpot is one that is usually tied to a single game. An example that many players have seen of a local progressive is a progressive game of Caribbean Stud poker. The progressive is usually only tied to the individual game or group of the particular games at the particular casino.

In other words, if the casino has three tables offering Caribbean Stud, all three will more than likely share the same progressive, but no games outside of them will contribute. Note that the three games do not have to share the same jackpot. They can have three separate progressive jackpots.

You will also run into a bank of slot machines in land-based casinos that share a progressive jackpot. These machines don’t share a jackpot with any slots not included in the bank of machines.

If you are wondering where the line is drawn between local and wide area progressive games, in my mind if the game is linked to games offered at other casinos, either land-based or online, it is a wide area. If it is tied to a single game or a group of games in the same casino it is a local progressive.

Of course, it does go back to the first part of this section in the fact it doesn’t really matter for players. All that matters is how big the jackpot is and what you have to do to qualify for it.

What Types of Games Can Have Progressive Jackpots?

The most common types of games that have progressive jackpots are slot machines. While the slots that are most likely to have progressives are the newer video slots with multiple pay lines, often with bonus rounds and other features, progressives can be found on all types of machines.

I’ve seen progressives on just about any type of slot machines that you can think of, including three reel machines. I have also seen progressive jackpots tied to video poker machines and table games.

Though it really goes beyond the scope of this page, when you consider playing a video poker game with a progressive jackpot compare the paytable of the progressive machine and a non-progressive one. The progressive video poker game is almost always a worse paytable than the non-progressive one.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play the progressive machine, because sometimes the progressive amount will get high enough that it is actually a profitable game to play.

An actual example of this that I have seen many times is Jacks or Better. The best Jacks or Better machines are called 9 / 6 machines, offering 9 coin payouts for a full house and 6 coin payouts for a flush. The progressive jacks or better games tend to only pay 8 coins for a full house and 5 coins for a flush.

Common table games with progressive jackpots include Caribbean Stud Poker, roulette and Let it Ride. Theoretically, just about any table game can be tied to a progressive jackpot. Most of the ones that have progressives have them tied to a side bet.

A common example is a $1 side bet. It’s up to each player whether he or she places the progressive jackpot side bet. I have even seen more than one table game tied to the same progressive jackpot.

For example, a casino could have their Caribbean Stud and Let it Ride progressives together. This can create higher jackpots faster as more people are contributing to the jackpots.

Are There Progressive Jackpots Online and Off?

You’ll find great progressive jackpot games both online and at land-based casinos. Anything the casinos can do to get more people to play they will usually do and huge progressive jackpots help get players in the door or in the virtual door.

So as long as progressive jackpots continue helping the casino make money you will continue to find them at all different kinds of casinos.

Popular Progressive Jackpot Games

Here is a table with some of the most popular progressive jackpot games both online and off. The amounts continue to climb and reset, so the popularity of these games goes up and down with the amount of the top payouts.

These are just a few of the hundreds of possible progressive jackpots so if you don’t see any you like, just take a quick look around at your favorite casino. You are sure to find plenty of other options.

Popular Online Progressive Jackpots Popular Land Based Progressive Jackpots
Jackpot Cleopatra’s Gold Wheel of Fortune
Mega Moolah Megabucks
Queen of the Pyramids Millionaire 777s
Monster Madness Powerbucks
Jackpot Pinatas Monopoly Money
Stars and Stripes Reel Adventures
Mega Jackpots Cash Connection

Should I Play Progressive Jackpot Games?

This is a question that only you can answer. There are progressive jackpots that are life changing amounts, but the odds of ever winning one are so high that millions of players will never hit one in their life. But many players view all of their gambling as entertainment expense and don’t really count on winning anything in the long run.

If you have the money to play with and can view your gambling as an entertainment expense, then, by all means, try to hit a big progressive jackpot. As a side note, there is nothing wrong with either gambling as an entertainment expense or gambling while trying to find an advantage against the casino. I am not judging either way, just covering as much of the subject as I can.

Many casual casino players will play a few casino games instead of going out to eat or taking in a movie. If you were going to spend a couple hundred on a night out, why not use it instead to take your chances at your favorite slot machine or table game? Even if you play the games with the highest house edge you will occasionally leave a winner.

You can also find progressive jackpots that get so high that they can be played with a statistical edge over the casinos in the long run. I mentioned this when discussing video poker above and it is an in-depth topic that can’t be covered in full here, but it is possible and when you find these situations on a game you enjoy you should take advantage of them and play.

Progressive jackpots can be one of the most appealing aspects of gambling because of the large payouts. Find out exactly what they are and how they work. ]]>