Progressive jackpots are linked prizepools that can award players life-changing sums of cash. Small parts of the stake are added to a jackpot, and if the player hits a specific winning line or bet, they take down the jackpot.
Progressives run at most major casinos, and many of the biggest game developers have several progressive games. Let’s take a closer look at what progressive jackpots are, and how you can win one.
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Understanding How Progressive Jackpots Work
Progressive jackpots run on online video slots and are linked across multiple casino sites
Most commonly, progressive jackpots run on online video slots and are linked across multiple casino sites. However, you can also find progressives running on popular table games like roulette and blackjack. A small portion (usually around 1%) of a player’s stake or fee is added to the jackpot. The prizepool will keep on rising until a special bonus is hit. Once the progressive is won, the jackpot usually resets, or “seeds”, and the progressive starts again.
Progressive jackpots are available in many of the big-name online slots available in 2016. Usually, players will only be able to access the biggest jackpots when gambling at the top stake. Progressives are usually won in one of several ways:
- Triggered at random
- Hitting a specific payline on the reels
- Triggering a special bonus round
In some slots, a progressive jackpot is awarded anytime during regular gameplay. Whatever amount is in the jackpot will be won by the player and the jackpot resets. Some of RTG’s online games like Penguin Power feature randomly-triggered progressive jackpots. Some slots have a special payline that you will need to hit in order to win the jackpot. It may involve hitting five Wilds on the 15th payline, or 5 bonus Scatters in any position. Microgaming’s popular Major Millions slot triggers the progressive in this way.
Finally, a special bonus feature may have to triggered first before you can play for the jackpot. Playtech’s Marvel Jackpot progressives feature a special grid game where players must match bonus symbols in order to win the jackpot. Microgaming’s record-breaking Mega Moolah slot, meanwhile, features a random bonus wheel. Line up the special symbols on a spin of the wheel to win the jackpot.
Progressive jackpots aren’t restricted to online slots. Table games like blackjack and roulette also have internet variants that allow for linked jackpots. Microgaming’s Roulette Royale is a neat online variant of roulette that awards a big progressive if the same number is spun on five consecutive spins. As with online slots, a small portion of each stake goes toward the growing progressive jackpot. Video poker games can also have progressive jackpots attached. Normally, players have to land a specific hand to trigger the progressive – perhaps a Royal Flush made of diamonds, or a Royal Flush made of just wild cards. Another Microgaming blackjack game, Triple Sevens Blackjack, also awards a linked progressive jackpot. Players need to hit a 21 consisting of three 7 of diamonds to win the big jackpot.
Playing At the Right Stakes
Some games offer tiered jackpots to give everyone a chance of winning
To be eligible for most progressive jackpots, players generally have to gamble at the highest stakes available. However, some games offer tiered jackpots to give everyone a chance of winning. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah video slot has four separate jackpots, each seeding at a different amount: the Mini ($10), Minor ($100), Major ($10,000) and Mega ($1 million).
Land-Based Progressive Jackpots
Land-based jackpots have reached record levels over the years
Progressive jackpots aren’t restricted to online casinos. Land-based casinos, mostly in the US, have been offering progressives for decades. Usually offered on slots, and linked on the same games across multiple casino locations, land-based jackpots have reached record levels over the years. The Megabucks slot machine awarded a world record payout of $39.7 million in 2003 after a young software engineer hit the jackpot. Launched in the mid-1980s by IGT, Megabucks is now available at multiple locations across Las Vegas and Nevada, meaning the biggest jackpot continues to grow all the time.