Progressive Jackpots

Many casino buffs share the common dream of becoming overnight millionaires by hitting a life-changing progressive jackpot. The advent of online casinos has made it possible for this to happen without players leaving the comfort of their surroundings.

Games with progressive jackpots are in high demand, which is anything but surprising given the fact the prizes sometimes escalate way beyond the seven-figure mark. Most gambling sites place the games with the largest progressive pots on prominent display along with jackpot meters to advertise the current amounts to be won.

You are keen on the idea of giving progressives a shot but are not yet familiar with their specifics? If yes, will introduce you to all you need to know about these games. Here you can read about how they work, how you can qualify for winning the prizes, and what types of progressive jackpots are available online.

We finish off with the most prominent suppliers of progressive jackpot games and provide answers to several important questions concerning the house edge and the players’ odds of pocketing the massive prizes.

The Mechanics of Progressive Jackpot Games

The first casino games linked to progressive prizes were introduced in landbased casinos in the mid 1980s by the software company International Game Technology (IGT). The next decade saw the launch of the first online casino in history and soon after, gambling sites with progressive games began popping up like mushrooms after rain.

The concept behind progressive jackpots is simple. Some online casino games, typically slots, are linked together in a network and there is a jackpot meter to show players the jackpot that is currently up for grabs.

The prize increases each time a player makes a bet on a networked game but fails to collect the pot. A small predetermined percentage of each wager (usually ranging between 1% and 5%) is added to the constantly escalating prize pool. In some cases, dozens, even hundreds of online casinos are part of the same network so the progressive pots increase at a lightning speed. The more betting volume there is, the more sizeable the pots tend to get.

When the pot finally drops, the jackpot meter is reset to a prearranged seed amount in order to incentivize players to continue betting on the game after the huge prize has been won. To give you an example, Microgaming’s network features several slots from the iconic Mega Moolah series that seed at the sum of one million, which is the “smallest” Mega Jackpot amount a happy player can take home. In this instance, the seed amounts for the four-tiered jackpot are guaranteed and provided by Microgaming themselves.

Types of Progressive Pots

It is possible for us to distinguish between three main types of online progressives, depending on the size of the jackpot network and the prize pools.

  • Stand-alone progressive pots have smaller pools because the prizes accumulate from a portion of the wagers made on a single game only. This smaller betting volume rarely yields prizes that exceed the five-figure mark.
  • As the name itself tells us, in-house progressive pots are linked to several games available in a given online or landbased casino. The higher number of networked games translates into an increase in betting volume which, in turn, allows the prizes to reach more impressive amounts. Typically, you can win five-figure and even six-figure prizes on in-house progressives.
  • Wide-area progressive games are the real moneymakers here. In the context of landbased gambling, these games are all linked together across multiple gaming halls that normally are operated by one and the same company. The situation is similar online where dozens of gambling sites operating on the same software are part of the supplier’s jackpot network, contributing to the pools. This naturally leads to a massive betting volume with hundreds of thousands of players wagering on the wide-area progressive game for the chance to win millions in prizes.

Requirements for Winning a Progressive Pot

At this point you are probably wondering how you can score these mouth-watering prizes. Well, the answer is it all depends on what software studio has supplied the progressive game but, of course, the requirements for winning may also vary between different games released by the same supplier. Below are the most common criteria that qualify you for having a chance at winning yourself a hefty progressive pot.

  • In some instances, players are expected to wager the maximum number of credits per round to become eligible for the prize. With that said, wagers under the required maximum still contribute with a predetermined percentage to the escalation of the prizes but do not qualify you for winning the jackpot.If you happen to hit the symbol combination that results in a massive cash windfall without meeting the maximum bet requirement, you will not be awarded the progressive prize. In certain cases, betting the maximum is not an absolute must, but doing so increases your odds of hitting the jackpot.
  • Many progressive slots require spinners to land a specific combination of matching symbols to earn the massive prize. Such is the case with the popular Aztec’s Millions slot by supplier RealTime Gaming where you need to hit five Aztec symbols in order to collect the pot. Another example of a symbol-driven progressive is NetEnt’s iconic slot Mega Fortune which is triggered after you land three or more bonus symbols from left to right on the reels and on an activated payline. A bonus game opens where you spin a wheel to collect one of the three pots in the multi-tiered game.Some suppliers make it tougher for players to win by designing the games in such a way so that the jackpot hits when you align the winning symbol combination on one specific payline. Logically, if you have deactivated the payline in question, you will not be awarded the pot even if the symbols miraculously appear on it.
  • The progressive jackpots launched by certain software studios are not related to specific symbol combinations but drop at random instead. This can happen on any given spin regardless of the symbols appearing on the screen. Some slot suppliers offer games with random jackpots awarded even on spins that have failed to produce a winning combination.
  • There are also progressive jackpots with a boiling point, which is a predetermined prize value. The prize goes to the spinner who takes the jackpot to its boiling point amount. One example is RealTime Gaming’s Spirit of the Inca where you can win one of five progressive prizes, each with a different boiling point. The largest Grand pot hits when players have contributed $300,000.
  • In progressive table games, there is normally a requirement to make a side bet in order to qualify for winning the prize. This side wager is only optional, though. You can play the games without posting it and still earn regular payouts. The progressive side bet is usually no more than $1 per round but do not overdo it. It yields a higher house edge, so there is a good chance for you to bust your entire bankroll before the jackpot hits.

What Games Are Linked to Progressive Networks?

If you are left with the impression big progressive prizes are reserved solely for slot mavens, you better think again. Indeed, we referenced several slots in the above examples but some online casinos also feature a variety of table games linked to progressive jackpot networks.

  • We already talked about progressive slots and how the jackpots are triggered there. This is the type of game to award life-changing multi-million prizes, with several slots making the news for dropping record wins in recent years. In January 2013, a lucky player from Helsinki, who insisted on retaining their anonymity, collected €17.8 million in prize money on NetEnt’s progressive slot Mega Fortune.This record was beaten five years later by another anonymous player at a Microgaming-powered casino who earned over €18.9 million on Mega Moolah and an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. Slots are perfectly geared for progressive jackpots since they are the most popular games across online casinos and as such, succeed in generating a massive betting volume.
  • Blackjack variations with progressive jackpots are also available online but here you need to play the progressive side bet to become eligible for the massive prize. The prizes here are not as impressive in size as those in slot progressives but they still escalate to the six-figure mark. One example is Microgaming’s Triple 7s Blackjack where the jackpot hits when the first three cards in your hand are 7s of diamonds. Just to warn you the odds of this happening are quite slim.
  • There are roulette games with multi-tiered progressive jackpots as well. A prime example is Playtech’s Age of the Gods Roulette which shares a pool with several progressive slots from the same mythology-inspired series. The difference here is players can trigger the progressive bonus feature on any given roulette spin within the main game without posting a side bet. Once this happens, they are guaranteed to win one of four progressive prizes.
  • Suppliers RealTime Gaming and Microgaming have developed progressive versions of the popular casino-banked card game Caribbean Stud Poker. Your ticket at having a chance of becoming richer again lies in an optional side bet of $1. It is only becoming the full prize is awarded for the elusive royal flush. You can learn more about the progressive payouts in’s article on Caribbean Poker.
  • Players who are keen on strategy games with a low house edge have the option to win huge amounts in progressive video poker variations like the one supplied by provider Microgaming. It is aptly called Jackpot Deuces. The cash windfall here comes after you obtain a royal flush but not any royal flush will do. This one needs to be specifically of diamonds. Another condition is to play the maximum number of credits per hand, which is five.
  • If you are eyeing a life-changing prize but have grown tired of playing against the RNG, you can always diversify your experience with a live progressive game hosted by a human dealer in real time. For the purpose, we recommend you register at an online casino that uses software by supplier Evolution Gaming where you usually have a choice from live progressive versions of Casino Hold’em, Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker, and Caribbean Stud. The cool thing here is you still get to collect the prize with a progressive side bet even on hands you have folded or lost against the dealer.

The Largest Progressive Networks

All reputable software suppliers have jumped on the bandwagon, launching games with progressive pots. The largest progressive networks are those operated by providers Playtech, Yggdrasil, Microgaming, and NetEnt. It should be noted that some of the jackpot games may be unavailable to you because of the licensing and regulatory requirements these trusted software studios have to abide by.

  • Microgaming is a renowned supplier of top-shelf casino solutions with a history that dates as far back as 1994. In fact, this is the company to create and launch the first ever casino on the web, The Gaming Club, which is still in operation to this day.The progressives released by Microgaming are tied to the same network. It comprises all gambling sites using the supplier’s software, which naturally means enormous prize pools. Presently the network spans 15 games, including 9 slots, 1 roulette game, 1 blackjack game, 2 casino poker variants, and 2 video poker variations.
  • NetEnt is a respected supplier of progressive casino games that hails from Sweden. The developer’s software is available for instant play, meaning that you can load the games directly in your web browser without installing anything. NetEnt has so far released around 8 progressive games, including Arabian Nights, Caribbean Stud Poker, Hall of Gods, Divine Fortune, and Mega Joker. The biggest pots drop in the record-breaker Mega Fortune which awards average prizes of around €4.1 million once every ten weeks or so.
  • Playtech boasts the greatest choice of progressives on the internet, with around 30 games available across online casinos that use the supplier’s platform. Some of the most appetizing prizes are available in slots like those from the Age of the Gods series where the average winning amount is around $660,000 and drops once every six weeks. Fans of the Devil’s Wheel are catered to with several progressive variations like Frankie Dettori’s Jackpot Roulette, Age of the Gods Roulette, and Dragon Roulette.
  • Yggdrasil is one of the younger software suppliers to make it in the industry but has already released several popular progressive games. These are all geared toward the needs of reel spinners since the Swedish studio specializes mostly in the creation of slots. Progressive prizes can be won in slots like Empire Fortune, Ozwin’s Jackpots Apprentice, Holmes and the Stolen Stones, and Joker Millions. The biggest wins take place in Joker Millions which awards average prizes exceeding $2 million.

House Edge, Payouts, Tips, and More

In this section, we shall attempt to provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions players typically have about casino games with progressive jackpots.

What are the chances of hitting a multi-million progressive jackpot?

We regret to say the odds of you winning a multi-million prize are not very good. Just to give you an idea, the odds of winning in the landbased Megabucks slot in Las Vegas are estimated at nearly 1 in 50 million. Unfortunately, most software studios supplying online progressive games do not release information to shed some light on this subject. With that said, if you are playing games linked to the wide-area network of a given supplier, the odds of hitting the pot are the same no matter what online casino you bet at.

What about the house edge? Do progressive games offer a decent theoretical return to players?

Those of you who have been involved in gambling at one point or another are probably vaguely familiar with the term house edge, which refers to the average long-term profits the casino generates from a given game in relation to the amount players have wagered. In contrast, the term “return to player” denotes the long-term profits distributed among all players over the long run.

The house edge for progressives is higher than the standard advantage the casinos hold in non-progressive games. With some table games like Caribbean Stud, the edge can go way over 19%. Because of this, many players tend to favor progressive slots where the house advantage fluctuates between 2% and 18%.

Who pays the guaranteed jackpot amount?

This usually depends on the size of the prize you have won. Smaller progressive prizes are normally honored by the online casino operators whereas the multi-million pots are provided by the software studios running the wide-area jackpot networks.

Will I receive my entire progressive prize if I happen to win a jackpot?

It is impossible to answer this question in advance because it all depends on the progressive game, the software studio supplying it, and the policies of the online casino you are playing at. Many casino operators restrict monthly withdrawals to five-figure amounts to prevent money laundering, but the general rule of thumb is for the entire jackpot amount to be paid out in a single installment provided that it is supplied by the software studio itself.

Is there any way for me to improve my odds of winning?

As a matter of fact, there is, but it all depends on the type of game you are playing. One way is to always wager the maximum amount per spin if required. Some slots, like Mega Moolah, have no maximum bet requirements, but your chances of winning increase proportionately to your stake’s amount. When playing slots like Spirit of the Inca, we recommend you join the fierce competition for the pot when you see the prize is nearing its boiling point.