With the tantalising prospect of winning millions from a small stake, it’s no wonder that progressive jackpot slots attract so many contributions from players all over the world. Just like with the lottery, if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the jackpot.
Looking for the best progressive slots? Take a look at our recommendations for May 2023‘s best progressive jackpot sites. Sign up today to claim your optional welcome bonus and play for some of the biggest prize pools available online. If you’re keen to learn more about how progressive jackpot slots work, we’ve got you covered on that front, too.
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Progressive jackpot slots are online slot games where the jackpot continuously increases until someone lands the big money. Unlike fixed jackpot slots, where jackpot wins are predetermined at a set figure, progressive jackpots start off very small and build over time as the game attracts more and more bets. Eventually, these jackpots develop into and even beyond seven-figure sums.
Almost all of the top 20 progressive jackpot wins have been won on Microgaming’s legendary title Mega Moolah. The world record jackpot currently stands at just under €19m, while the British record remains Jon Heywood’s 2015 win of £13m, which he won from a 25p stake. It goes without saying that these are huge but vanishingly rare sums of money to win on an online slot, and the odds of doing so are akin to winning the lottery.
Nevertheless, online progressive jackpot slots have become a fabled part of an online casino’s arsenal, paying winners enormous sums potentially yielded by bets smaller than the price of a packet of crisps.
Jackpot Payouts Explained
Progressive jackpot slots typically follow one of three routes to the biggest jackpot. The method by which you can win the jackpot will be clearly stated in the paytable, but here’s what each of these three routes mean.
Just like in a lot of fixed jackpot slots, progressive jackpots often feature bonus rounds that give players the chance to win a big payout. You’ll often be able to tell you’ve triggered the bonus round by a change in visuals and sounds.
Combination jackpots are won when players land on a specific combination of in-game symbols. All online slot machines are powered by random number generators (RNG), meaning the frequency of this combination appearing is completely unpredictable.
Random progressive jackpot slots are potentially won on any spin, no matter the combination.
How to Play Progressive Slot Games
If you’re familiar with how slot machines work, you won’t have any trouble adjusting to progressive jackpot slots. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help steer you in the right direction:
Consult our recommended list of the best progressive jackpot casinos
Find a welcome bonus you like the sound of, click through and sign up to that site
Make your first deposit in line with the welcome bonus
Head over to the progressive slot games
Get to grips with how the game works by playing the free-to-play version first, factoring in the different types of progressive jackpot games
Place your first bet!
Standalone vs Linked Jackpots
There are two major types of progressive jackpot slots: standalone jackpots, and linked jackpots. Standalone jackpots only take contributions from bets made on one specific game; linked jackpots take their contributions from multiple games, with the same single jackpot connected to them all. The number of games linked to one jackpot can range from a few to a few thousand, potentially spanning across lots of different casinos all over the world. Linked jackpots are therefore bigger than standalone jackpots, but the odds of winning shrink in step with the scope of the jackpot.
Other Progressive Jackpot Games
The slots aren’t the only online casino games that benefit from the excitement of progressive jackpots. If you prefer wagering on table games, check out the alternative options below.
Progressive blackjack functions in the same way as traditional blackjack, but with a few additional payouts in play. What constitutes an additional jackpot depends on the rules of each variation, but to be in with a chance of taking advantage of these extra paylines, players must stake an additional minimum bet at the beginning of each hand, contributing to an overall side pot. Most progressive blackjack games involve paying out when a series of consecutive aces are dealt to the same player – in these games, if you’re dealt four aces of the same suit in a row, you’ll win the biggest jackpot.
Progressive roulette games see a small portion of a player’s wager filtered off into a progressive jackpot. Just like progressive blackjack, how players can win this jackpot depends on the game variation. In some cases, the jackpot payout is triggered at random, no matter the size of the wager; in other instances, placing bigger bets gives players a higher chance of landing the jackpot.
Top Software Developers
Here are some of the biggest software developers in the online progressive jackpot world.
NetEnt develops the full suite of online casino games – from live dealer table games to standard slots. Its progressive jackpot titles include Arabian Nights and Mega Fortune, which are available to play for free and for real money. NetEnt is one of the biggest names in online casino game development, and you can guarantee quality when you play one of its titles.
With decades of experience behind it, Microgaming knows how to develop world-class casino games. Having launched both the world’s first online casino software and mobile casino software, it’s well-placed to offer punters a range of online casino experiences. Among its progressive jackpot titles are Mega Moolah, Wow Pot, and Major Millions, all of which have had several jackpot winners claiming well over a million euros.
Playtech’s progressive jackpot games have paid out over half a billion euros since 2009, with its Age of the Gods series among its best-known progressive jackpot titles. Other options include its DC Comics series, and the hugely popular Beach Life.
Progressive jackpots always have a high variance. This means that payouts are infrequent, but when they occur, players can expect big wins. The best strategy to approaching these games is to pace yourself – although some progressive jackpot games may favour those placing large bets, the chances of winning are still incredibly small, so it’s best not to exhaust your funds. At the same time, bear in mind that a maximum bet feature is present in many progressive slot games. In these games, you only have a shot at the biggest jackpot if you commit the minimum requirement to your wager. The paytable will explain in detail all of the game’s stipulations, so have a look at this to avoid the unbearable disappointment of hitting the jackpot with a bet that hasn’t qualified for the jackpot payout.
Popular Progressive Jackpot Games
We’ve mentioned some of these games already, but let’s show you why they’re considered among the best progressive slots around.
Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is responsible for the majority of the biggest progressive jackpot wins in the history of online casinos. To get in on the action, head out on safari and keep an eye on the mischievous monkeys – these monkeys are the game’s scatter symbols and landing three or more anywhere on the 5×3 reel will trigger 15 free spins where all wins are boosted by a x3 multiplier. Mega Moolah is a 25 payline slot, with four different jackpots up for grabs: the mini, the minor, the major, and the mega. Each time someone strikes lucky on one of these jackpots, they’re reset to 10, 100, 100,000 and 1,000,000 coins respectively. Bets can be placed between €0.25 and €50, but higher bets have a better chance at launching the bonus round and winning the mega jackpot. Mega Moolah is also available to play as a fixed jackpot slot, which has a return to player (RTP) of 88%.
Take your yacht down to the French riviera and join the socialites of NetEnt’s Mega Fortune – a 5×3 reel with 25 paylines and a 96% RTP. Enjoy winning combinations of cognac, wads of cash, Cuban cigars, luxury jewellery, and limousines, but pay particular attention to the wild boat icon and the champagne scatter symbols, three of which launch some free spins and open players up to multiplier winnings. The bonus round is triggered by landing three wheels anywhere on the grid; if you can carefully navigate to the third wheel, you’ll have a chance at winning one of the three progressive jackpots – the rapid, the major, and the mega.
Betsoft’s Mega Jackpot is one for the purists. With only five paylines and three reels, its layout resembles that of a physical slot machine, and there are no bonus rounds, free spins, wilds, scatters, or multipliers. To activate all of the paylines, you must wager the maximum bet of ten coins. Wins are dished out when players fill an entire payline with identical symbols, and at this point they make a choice: cash out the winnings, risk those winnings in a mini game by pushing the heart or spade symbols, or transfer them to the upper reels for a chance at the progressive jackpot.
With a 5×5 reel, Playtech’s Funky Fruits has the largest grid of all the progressive slots described here. Get your shades on and head down to the beach, where you’ll be joined by colourful cherries, lemons, oranges, pineapples, plums, and watermelons. Hitting five or more of the same fruit will pay out a multiplier against your wager, and increasing your wager will put you in line to receive bigger multipliers when this happens. For a chance at the progressive jackpot – which is paid out every three months on average – you’ll need to match eight cherry symbols on the grid at the highest wager amount.
Ready to Play a Progressive Slot?
If you like the sound of progressive jackpot slots, then check out the list of the best progressive jackpot casinos and games around. Compare the optional welcome bonuses on offer at each, and put your name in the hat for some of the industry’s biggest prizes.
Guy is a writer for TopRatedCasinos.ie with plenty of expertise when it comes to online gambling. Currently based in London, Guy is an avid football and cricket fan who you’ll often find lamenting the fortunes of his dearest Tottenham Hotspur. A regular contributor to several TopRated syndicates, Guy has strong industry knowledge when it comes to iGaming.