Slots are the simplest and most widespread casino game and as such, enjoy a good amount of popularity among both seasoned and inexperienced players. To meet the high demand for this particular type of game, online gambling operators have added hundreds of slot variations to their gaming collections, each one boasting a bespoke theme, features and betting options. There is something for all players’ needs and preferences, from classic 3-reel slots to the latest 3D multi-payline titles.
Progressive jackpot slots are especially sought after as they carry a massive winning potential and can truly turn the lives of lucky players all over. Jackpot slots provide players with the opportunity to scoop an impressive prize, which often reaches six or seven-figure sums. If you are new to jackpot slots, we suggest you take a quick look at the following article where we explain how this type of game works, how the jackpot pools are accumulated, and what types of jackpot slots you can find online.
Accumulation of Jackpot Pools
The jackpots of progressive slots are pools of money which increase incrementally, meaning that each player contributes to the accumulation of the pot. A small percentage of each player’s bet is subtracted and goes towards the overall jackpot. The jackpots of some slots are linked together across several online casinos which operate on the same software. As the number of players to contribute to the linked slots’ pools is greater, the jackpot tends to increase at a shockingly rapid pace.
In table games like roulette, Caribbean Stud poker, and blackjack, players are typically required to make a small side bet in order to contribute to the jackpot pool and qualify for the prize. However, this is not the case as far as progressive jackpot slots are concerned.
With slots, this fee, or contribution, is built directly into the games’ payout percentages. That is to say, progressive jackpot slots tend to pay out regular wins less frequently in order to compensate for the life-changing prizes they offer. A small portion of each player’s wager goes towards the overall pool, so there is no need to make any side bets. Usually, the contribution of each wager is roughly 1%, but it all depends on the specific slot title. You may not notice this at first, but it would definitely take its toll on your bankroll in the long run.
On that note, it is worth mentioning that the jackpot is triggered at random, so there is no way of knowing when the prize will hit. Some superstitious players avoid betting on progressives when they see the jackpot is close to its base level because this indicates the huge prize has been paid recently and the next massive win is unlikely to occur so soon. However, this is not entirely true as a recent jackpot payout by no means affects the probability of someone winning the prize again. This may happen on the very next day, or in two years’ time.
Once someone collects the pot, the pool starts accumulating again. Please note that the accumulation does not start from scratch, but from a predetermined amount, called a seed or base level. The jackpots seed at different starting amounts, depending on the slot title. The seed aims at maintaining the interest of players once somebody has claimed the massive prize. Needless to say, this is precisely what furthers the quick accumulation of the jackpot pools. The current amount of the prize is usually displayed in the slot’s Jackpot Meter.
Playing Jackpot Slots
There is hardly any difference between jackpot slots and standard video slots in terms of gameplay and interface. The player simply needs to load the game, adjust their coin value, coin multiplier and number of paylines to bet on per spin. Of course, it is a good idea to check the paytable in advance to see what your winning regular bets can earn you. On some progressive jackpot slots, the paylines are fixed so players are required to bet on all of them on every spin.
Once you have adjusted your bet amount per round, you simply click on the Spin button and wait for the outcome. Progressive slots lure players with the promise of life-changing prizes, but slot fans should bear in mind the probability of actually winning the pot is rather small. It matters not how much the pot has grown. The jackpot is not due to hit since it is awarded at random by the slot’s Random Number Generator.
As was mentioned previously, players are the ones to actually “feed” the pool with each wager they make. As a rule of thumb, one is required to place the maximum bet amount allowed in the game to become eligible for the jackpot. In other words, you need to play the maximum number of coins per spin to qualify for the colossal prize.
If winning the jackpot is not what you are after, there is pretty much no point in playing the progressives at all because they come with a higher volatility. That is to say, you can expect to land regular wins less frequently. The overall theoretical return during the base games is also lower to compensate for the enormous progressive jackpots.
Types of Jackpot Slots
Jackpot slots can be divided into several categories, depending on how their pools accumulate. As we said earlier, there are progressive slots where the jackpots are linked across several casinos, powered by the same software developer. As the slots are linked over a wider area, their jackpots escalate to reach seven-figure amounts.
The jackpots on slots linked in networks across multiple casinos are typically paid off by the game’s software developer. The same applies to the seed amount – whenever the jackpot is reset, it is usually the software supplier to provide the jackpot’s base amount.
This is to spare smaller online casino operators from handling the losses when someone collects the gargantuan payout. The chances of landing a linked, wide-area jackpot are the same as the probability of winning the lottery. Nevertheless, wide-area jackpot slots are well worth your time as they do hit eventually and can transform your life all over.
Standalone and Local Progressives
Many online casinos offer slots with standalone jackpots. Since such slots are not linked to any other titles (or casinos) in a jackpot network, their pots increase at a slower pace as fewer players contribute to the pools. In other words, only wagers made on that particular slot title fuel its jackpot. Such jackpots rarely exceed $10,000 in value.
Local progressives are similar to wide-area jackpot games because their prizes accumulate across several slots within the same online casino. One such network sometimes comprises a dozen or so games, although there are local networks that span as many as one hundred slots. Local networks rarely, if ever, yield progressive jackpots in excess of $100,000.
Multi-Level Progressive Jackpots
Aristocrat Technologies pioneered the multi-level progressive jackpot format with the introduction of the landbased Cash Express link. The multi-level jackpot games quickly caught on and are now readily available at many online casinos. One great example is Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot network which comprises multiple games across dozens of Microgaming-powered casinos.
Four jackpots are waiting to be won, and each one starts seeding at a different amount provided by Microgaming itself – Mini ($10), Minor ($100), Major ($10,000), and Mega ($1,000,000). The average drop time varies for each level. The lower the jackpot, the higher its average hit frequency. Thus, a major jackpot would hit nearly every day, while the mega level would yield its prize once every eight weeks on average.
Boiling Point Progressives
Some online slots have what is called a “boiling point” jackpot. As was previously explained, the majority of jackpots are awarded at random and there is no way of knowing when exactly they will hit. This is not the case with boiling-point jackpot slots, where the pot’s value is determined in advance. In other words, such jackpots hit once the “boiling point” amount is reached, although there is no way for players to tell precisely when this will happen.
In this case, there is no need for players to align a specific combination of symbols on the reels. The pot is awarded to the player, whose bet has caused the jackpot meter to reach the boiling point. Needless to say, the exact boiling points are not revealed to the players and vary from one jackpot slot to another.
Mystery Progressive Jackpots
Some progressive slots award randomly triggered jackpots without the need of aligning specific symbol combinations on the reels. These are known as mystery jackpots and in a way are similar to boiling point ones. The winning criteria are game-specific, though.
The mystery jackpot can drop at a randomly selected time, when the players reach a specific preset wagering total, or when the pot escalates to a specific random amount. It all depends on how the game was programmed. Here is an example of how this works. Let’s assume the second tier of a three-level jackpot starts accumulating at $100 and every $1 wagered on the game has one percent ($0.01) contribution to the pool.
The game’s RNG randomly picks an amount between $100 and $150. The spinner whose bet takes the jackpot to this randomly selected sum wins the pot. To proceed with the example, suppose you are betting $4 per spin and the generator has picked a random payout amount of $125.32. At a certain point, you see the jackpot has escalated to $125.28 but you have no way of knowing it is close to dropping.
You make another $4 bet, the software subtracts $0.04 from the wager, and brings it to the randomly chosen drop amount of $125.32. By contrast, a player betting only $0.40 per spin would have to make ten more bets to push the mystery jackpot to its drop amount.
Progressive vs. Fixed Jackpots
The majority of slots one can play at online casinos offer fixed jackpots. That is to say, the jackpot amounts remain the same and do not increase incrementally. The maximum sum players can collect on one such game is to be found in the paytable and is expressed in terms of coins.
NetEnt’s popular Jack and the Beanstalk slot is the perfect example as it comes with a fixed jackpot of 600,000 coins, which is great for a non-progressive game. It is important to remember that the greater the maximum number of coins you can win on a given slot, the higher the game’s volatility will be. Slots with massive fixed jackpots typically offer less frequent regular wins.
Popular Jackpot Slots to Play Online
Slot fans have nothing to complain about, considering the wild diversity of titles they can possibly choose from. There are slots to suit all individual preferences and bankrolls, but if you are looking to test your luck on a progressive jackpot game, in particular, we strongly recommend you to try Microgaming’s Mega Moolah. It plays across five reels and offers 25 paylines as well as a Wheel of Fortune-style bonus game which awards the pot.
There are four progressive jackpots to be won here. These are linked in a network to most casinos running on Microgaming’s software and initially accumulated across several slot titles, namely Mega Moolah, Mega Moolah Isis, Mega Moolah Summertime, and Mega Moolah 5-Reel Drive.
The software studio recently revamped some of its most popular releases and added them to the constantly expanding Mega Moolah network. Players can now win one of the four jackpots (Mega, Major, Minor, and Mini) in slots like Fortunium Gold, Absolootly Mad, Juicy Joker, and Atlantean Treasures. The studio has also unveiled plans to add its massively successful Immortal Romance slot to the progressive series. The record-breaking network has awarded over one billion in progressive prizes at the moment of writing.
The slots from Playtech’s Age of the Gods series are another favorite of players, who are looking to bag life-changing prizes when spinning the reels. These are based on the popular Greek mythology-inspired series and include titles like King of Olympus, Pantheon of Power, Prince of Olympus, Furious 4, Goddess of Wisdom, and Fate Sisters.
The jackpot is linked across all titles from the series, so that all Age of the Gods slots contribute to the accumulation of the pool. There are four different progressive prizes to be won. These are again triggered randomly and include the Power, Extra Power, Super Power and Ultimate Power jackpots. In order to win, players should unlock a bonus game by matching three of the symbols, hidden behind the grids displayed on the screen. The bonus jackpot game can trigger after any spin in the base game, even a losing one.
NetEnt’s Mega Fortune is yet another progressive jackpot game which enjoys a tremendous popularity among slot enthusiasts. This 5-reel slot features a total of 25 adjustable paylines and was obviously inspired by the glamorous lifestyle of the wealthy. There are three progressive prizes to be won, namely the Mega, Major and Rapid jackpots.
Players unlock a bonus game at random and are taken to a separate screen, containing a wheel with three concentric rings. There are various sections on the wheel, each one corresponding either to different cash prizes or to one of the three jackpots. Thus, if you succeed in triggering the bonus game, you most certainly will not end your betting session empty-handed.