What Are Progressive Slots & How Do They Work?

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There are many different types of slot machines, but one of the easiest ways to break down categories of games is by determining whether or not it is a progressive.

Progressive slots are the casino’s equivalent of the lottery because they offer the chance to win huge sums of money for just a few dollars per spin. Everyone wants a chance to win big and walk away with millions of dollars, so players flock in droves to progressive slots.

In this post, we will kick things off by taking a look at the casino’s house advantage on progressive slots and how it is likely much higher than you might expect!

What Are Progressive Slots?

Because the jackpot prize in these games progresses with each wager made until it is won, they are known as progressive slots. Some progressive jackpots automatically pay out if they hit a certain size, but most are uncapped and can, in theory, get bigger and bigger until someone wins it.

Because of the enormous prizes, progressive jackpot slots are the only ones that differ from other slot machines. Some slot machines are specifically designed as progressives, while others are simply updated versions of already-existing games that are linked to a jackpot network.

But gaming companies and casinos wanted to find a way to give away larger prizes without having to put up the money themselves. An astute game designer realized that larger prize funds would result from allowing players to contribute to the jackpots through a process known as stake contribution. These would draw more players, who would support increasing jackpots, and so on.

This innovation basically means that millions of players each contribute a few pence so that one of you becomes a millionaire, a bit like a lotto.

Thanks to the massive popularity of games like Cleopatra, IGT’s progressive MegaJackpots prizes are some of the biggest in the UK.

How Do Progressive Slots Work?

Let’s investigate these casino games in greater detail and examine the model that these slots employ in order to generate such large wins in order to provide an answer to that question.

The contribution

A small portion of each wager you place is deducted and placed in a different pot, which is used to pay out the jackpot or jackpots. While IGT’s MegaJackpots take about 2.3% of your bet, Red Tiger slots with their Daily Jackpots feature contribute about 3% of your bet to the jackpot pool.

The seed

What occurs when a jackpot is won, and why doesn’t it start at zero? Progressive jackpots must begin somewhere because nobody would play a machine with a jackpot of £0 or £10.

The casino or game provider guarantees this sum, which is referred to as the “seed” amount. IGT’s MegaJackpots™ prize pool is seeded at £500,000, for example.

The prize

A progressive jackpot is merely one that increases over time as a game is played and continues to do so until it is won. The million-pound progressives get all the attention but progressive slots come in all shapes and sizes, with some slots even having their own progressive jackpots of less than £1,000.

IGT’s MegaJackpots games have paid out average jackpot wins of £846,000 and have been won (again, on average) every 10 weeks.

Different Types of Progressive Slot

Since their creation many years ago, progressive jackpots have evolved continuously. Single-game jackpots have evolved into jackpots funded across a vast global network of casinos. The jackpots increase in size AND frequency as more players participate.

Here is Blueprint Gaming’s Jackpot King feature, which displays the three networked progressive jackpots and the rules.

What Are Progressive Slots & How Do They Work?

Here are some of the progressive jackpots you’ll find at PlayOJO:

  • Game jackpot: Games like Ozwin’s Jackpots have their own progressive prize, although they are still funded from players across different online casinos
  • Network jackpot: In order to give players the option to choose from over 30 different slots and still have a chance to win the same prize, game providers now add a network-wide jackpot system to their most popular games.
  • Tiered jackpots: There are now many progressive slots that offer up to 4 different progressives, ranging from mini pots worth hundreds of pounds that are won every few minutes to mega prizes worth hundreds of thousands of pounds that are won every few weeks. This increases your chances of winning while maintaining the possibility of the biggest win, making jackpot bonus games more engaging.
  • Timed jackpots: Red Tiger pioneered the online timed progressive with their Daily Jackpots, which feature small and medium progressive pots that are guaranteed to pay out by a particular time of day.

How to Win a Progressive Jackpot

Fortunately, if you already know how to play online slots, you also have the skills necessary to win a progressive jackpot. Pick your stake, spin, and go—it’s all luck!

How, then, does the game determine when to pay out? Let’s get technical and examine how these unique slots distribute their largest winnings.

Since the 1980s, progressive slots have been available. The jackpot win is controlled randomly in a similar manner to how the other slot prizes are controlled because it is just another line in the mathematical model that drives the machine.

The mathematic design of the slot machine includes a win condition for the jackpot. It might happen with a fixed probability, like, say, once every 100 years. 1 in 6.43 million spins) or a randomly selected time, total staked across all slots, or jackpot size.

The slot provider picks the design of the jackpot event and the random number generator inside the game software does the rest. When a jackpot is won, the slot machine’s software makes that decision. However, each game has a different take on what happens on screen.

In the early days of progressive jackpots, special symbol combinations on a payline were required. With 21st century progressive jackpot slots, you’ll usually trigger a bonus game first. You won’t be guaranteed the largest jackpot, and you might not even be guaranteed one of the tiered jackpots.

You must spin three jackpot symbols during a base game spin in Red Tiger’s Daily Jackpot games like Dynamite Riches. The hourly, daily, and mega progressive jackpots, which are displayed above, are then available for you to spin on the jackpot wheel.

If you land five jackpot symbols on the central payline on IGT’s MegaJackpot, you win. Blueprint Gaming’s Jackpot King is a different animal.

The Jackpot King Deluxe bonus feature must first be activated before entering the Wheel King jackpot game, which is activated once 15 or more Kings have been spun. If you get the right amount of Wheel King symbols, you can proceed directly to the Wheel King.

However, even after entering the Wheel King, a significant win isn’t guaranteed because you might win a cash multiplier rather than one of the three jackpots.

Popular Progressive Slots

Nowadays, almost all game developers offer progressive slots online, but since it’s risky for newer or smaller game developers to offer larger prizes, the biggest and most well-liked prizes are typically saved for developers like Microgaming, NetEnt, and IGT.

Since Red Tiger, IGT, and Blueprint’s three network jackpots currently rule the slots industry, their participating games frequently come in first place on lists of the best progressive jackpot slots.

There are a few exceptions such as IGT’s Mega Fortune which you can see above. This famous slot has its own jackpot and as you can see, it’s usually one of the biggest UK online progressive jackpots out there.

The jackpots on games like Play N’ Go’s Celebration of Wealth and Yggdrasil’s Dr. Fortuno, at the other end of the progressive spectrum, are much smaller because fewer people play them every day. These smaller jackpots have the advantage that there is less competition, making them simpler to win.


Therefore, we are aware of how progressive jackpots increase: a portion of each handle pull is added to the progressive pool. However, you might be wondering how these progressive pools can grow so large so quickly. Well, a lot of the companies that make slot machines connect them to different properties. So, in reality, you aren’t just playing one machine when you are playing a progressive slot machine, you might be playing for money that was collected on machines at several different casinos. Megabucks is a good example of a slot where the prize pool is built up at numerous casinos, enabling it to expand much more quickly than if it were just one machine at one casino. Depending on the game you are playing, when you insert a dollar into a progressive slot machine, a player in another casino or even another country might end up winning the progressive jackpot that you helped create.