How Progressive Jackpots Work | LeoVegas

How Progressive Jackpots Work

Progressive jackpots are a big part of slot machine gaming. Emerging from the success of the original video slot machine, Megabucks was the first progressive slot. This progressive slot game was developed by International Game Technology (IGT) back in 1986. Following the unveiling of the first progressive jackpot game in Las Vegas, there was great intrigue due to the huge jackpot size available and the question of how long it would take to pay out.


Less than a year later, the first player to win a Megabucks progressive jackpot slot landed a jackpot of just under $5 million. Over the years, more slot games emerged, but the popularity of progressive slots remained constant. Today’s market includes several highly rated slot games, but progressive games with jackpots remain the top-paying games in land-based and online casinos.

Understanding progressive jackpots

The slot machine gaming sector is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. The progressive jackpot industry, on its own, is worth millions of dollars. Within that bracket are several different types of same progressive jackpot slot games, such as in-house, standalone and wide area. The idea behind progressive jackpots is to offer a prize within a whole prize pool. In a progressive slot game, you can unlock prizes aside from the mega jackpot, which essentially unlocks the possibility of two games, and that is where the attraction lies for many slot machine enthusiasts.

Compared to a standard jackpot, a progressive jackpot continually escalates and it can potentially rise forever until somebody triggers it. Some progressive slot jackpots aren’t triggered for several years and can exceed $10 million.

An in-house jackpot is a progressive slot win that is offered exclusively by the casino. It’s separate from a bigger prize win. In Megabucks, for instance, the largest jackpot ever is spread across dozens of casinos, and hundreds of machines, which is known as a wide area jackpot. A standalone jackpot is a jackpot that is on that machine only, so it doesn’t spread across other machines within the same casino or elsewhere; usually, a standalone jackpot will be smaller.

How progressive jackpots grow

While the algorithm of each progressive jackpot machine is random and can potentially payout at any time, several factors directly cause the price to fluctuate. If the machine is more active, this, in theory, should push the jackpot up at a higher rate.

Usually, the algorithm of the largest jackpot payout a slot machine will work in conjunction with the number of spins being played across the wide range of machines that feature the colossal jackpot. So, although there is some theory behind the way the games are designed, and the base game is treated as a standalone entity compared to the mega jackpot, if more people are playing it, this will likely accelerate the window in which it will pay out.

A common tool that game designers use is a contribution percentage, which will take a small percentage from each bet and add it to the overall jackpot payout of the slot game. This isn’t the case for fixed jackpot slots, where the full jackpot amount remains the same regardless of the number of games played. However, progressive jackpot slot games will use various methods to top up the colossal jackpots that can be built over a long period of time. A contribution percentage is one of the most common and the most effective.

The Megabucks machine, originally created by IGT nearly 40 years ago, is commonly responsible for the highest-paying jackpots. Over the four decades they have existed, multiple wins have occurred between $20 million and $30 million, all exclusively in Las Vegas hotels or casinos. In 2003, one slot machine player won $39.7 million playing a Megabucks game.

Progressive jackpot networks

As previously noted, the Megabucks slot is the most popular progressive jackpot network. A network involves a group of gamblers spread across a number of different casinos that play the same slot game, in theory, aiming to increase the chances of unlocking the same jackpot across multiple casinos.

While, in theory, it might seem like a good idea, some of these progressive jackpot games can take years to pay off, so a couple of dozen people joining one network, in reality, doesn’t have much of an impact. However, casinos like to encourage people to join networks as it can mean a regular flow of customers to the casino, generating steady profit. Spreading several players across what is essentially the same slot should provide a better statistical likelihood of one of the players unlocking the progressive jackpot slots work out, but the odds are still very high..

Progressive jackpot mechanics

A random number generator (RNG) is the fairest way to determine the lucky winner of a progressive slot game. International regulators regularly audit these algorithms to ensure slot games with a random payout mechanism are truly random and can’t be manipulated or altered. It is vital that RNG determines the winner and the payout, otherwise, the arbitrary mechanism that is the unique selling point of the progressive jackpot slots game is a farce.

If you look at the biggest wins in play progressive slots jackpots, there’s a range of millions of dollars between random time periods and random machines. Without highly sophisticated RNG technology, progressive slot jackpots wouldn’t be viable.

When you play a progressive jackpot slot game, you will often have a metre on the side that gives you a breakdown of the available jackpots. Usually, there will be three types of jackpots, with the mega, top jackpot ticking away at the top. However, there are often other smaller jackpots on offer within bonus game, which can still be over $10,000. There’s often a range of prizes to be won, which is an attraction for many slot machine enthusiasts as they aren’t just limited to one set of prizes within the base game.

Progressive jackpot odds and strategies

The odds can vary wildly depending on the jackpot grows the type of progressive slot game you play. A game such as Megabucks, where the jackpot has the potential to rise over $10m, will have the likelihood of a jackpot of around 1 in 30,000,000 to 1 in 35,000,000. Progressive slot games with a smaller jackpot will have a better chance of winning, but the odds are still incredibly high, usually over 1 in 1,000,000.

Unfortunately, there are casino games where you can employ a strategy to give yourself a better chance to get winnings, but slot gaming isn’t one of them. As we have discussed, the random number generator ensures that the winner is selected at random, and there’s nothing you can do to put the odds more in your favour. Understanding this is a key component to enjoying yourself when playing slot games.

Progressive jackpot games at LeoVegas

Mega Moolah

Mega Moolah bares its teeth with a Mega Progressive and Jackpot prize that starts from $1,000,000! Set in the depths of the jungle, the Mega Moolah slot plunged Microgaming to fame since its launch in 2006, featuring a generous Jackpot Wheel. Got what it takes to survive the wild and win rapid jackpot of up to 225,000 coins in this 25-payline slot?

Major Millions

Major Millions is a sensational progressive jackpot game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This Microgaming blockbuster will ask you to join the gaming army and win big with sensational amounts and trigger hot features. Do you have what it takes to impress Major Millions and complete the big jackpot mission?

Joker Millions

Get the last laugh with Joker Millions! An ever pleasing joyride that’s capable of paying the big bucks with winning combination of tiered prizes and a gigantic jackpot! Five reels and 25 paylines give you optimal chances to land matching symbols, stick’em, and hope for a Joker reel takeover that releases the fat progressive Jackpot.

African Legends

Play African Legends slot, a true classic in the domain of video slots and win a sensational progressive jackpot starting at $50,000! With every spin players worldwide make, it only gets bigger and bigger!

Diamond Mine Megaways Jackpot King

Do you like mining video slots? And how about progressive jackpots? If both your answers are affirmative, you will be thrilled by the Diamond Mine MEGAWAYS Jackpot King, online casino slot by Blueprint.

Wheel of Wishes

Wheel of Wishes slot machine is a genius release by Microgaming and Alchemy Gaming that, thanks to its global progressive jackpot mechanism, brings payouts that can hit over 2 million!

Progressive jackpot FAQs

How do I win a progressive jackpot?

There is no strategy or technique that can improve your chances of winning a progressive jackpot. It is completely random, and the prize is generated by a random number generator (RNG). Although some lucky players have managed to win more than one jackpot, the odds of this are almost impossible to calculate. As long as you know that slot machines are meant to be enjoyed, to relax and unwind, and not as a way of making a profit, then you can enjoy them in the intended spirit.

What triggers a progressive jackpot?

A random number generator (RNG) will award the lucky player wins the progressive jackpot. Depending on how long the progressive jackpot has been ticking over, this can be a potential prize of $10m or more. It could also be considerably less, and the fact that it is completely random is the most important factor to remember.

What does progressive jackpot mean?

A progressive jackpot is a jackpot that continually increases in small increments. You will see the metre jackpot increases on the side of the base game or above it on a separate screen, depending on the specific game. The jackpot will continually increase over days, weeks, months or years until somebody wins it.

What are the odds of hitting a progressive jackpot?

Some progressive jackpot games have a much better chance than the most colossal games in the sector, such as Megabucks. Given the size of the potential jackpot in Megabucks, the top odds of winning are higher than 1 in 30,000,000. Some progressive jackpots have odds of less than 1 in 1,000,000.

Can I play progressive jackpots on my mobile device?

Yes, these slot games can be played on mobile devices such as Android and iOS tablets and smartphones. As long as it is a fairly new device, it will be compatible with dozens of progressive jackpot slot games that you can find here at LeoVegas.

How often are progressive jackpots triggered?

It is completely random, so there’s no accurate way to say. Some progressive slot game jackpots will continue to escalate for years until somebody wins the prize, while another player wins another progressive slot game may have paid out four times within the same timescale. It is completely random, and although Megabucks features heavily in the highest-paying individual progressive slot machines and spins of all time, sometimes it can take months or years before someone wins.

What happens if two players trigger the jackpot simultaneously?

In the incredibly unlikely scenario that two players manage to trigger the progressive jackpot simultaneously, the casino will likely split the jackpot between the two players. If the players are in two different casinos, then the provider will likely split the progressive jackpot winners instead. However, once the progressive jackpot win is triggered, it is usually locked in, and there is no way that another player can activate it.

Can I track the growth of progressive jackpots?

Usually, the metre on the game will continually tick away, and you can view it without having to play it. This is part of the big draw of Megabucks games in Vegas, where the jackpot is constantly on display on a big screen to entice people to play the game. When the jackpot is hit, it resets on all machines immediately.

Is there a maximum limit to how much a progressive jackpot can grow?

Theoretically, a jackpot’s algorithm could allow it to build forever. However, given the random number generator, it will likely trigger within a five-year window. Usually, it is much sooner than that, and it’s rare to see a progressive jackpot that is still growing after 18 months without a win.

Can you win a progressive jackpot with a minimum bet?

Yes, regardless of your bet size, you can win the progressive jackpot.

Do progressive jackpots have a higher house edge?

Statistically speaking, winning the jackpot in a progressive online slots, game is harder than in a non-progressive or standard slot game.

How do you know when a progressive slot machine is going to hit?

You don’t! Otherwise, there’d be dozens of people flocking around the same machine. This is the beauty of the random number generator and what makes this type of slot gaming so enticing for so many gamblers all over the world.

Are there any strategies to improve my chances of winning?

No, you can’t improve your chances of winning a slot game. The probability is random, and much like other casino games of chance like roulette, you can do nothing to increase your chances of winning.

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