What Is A Progressive Slot Machine?

Experienced casino players will be very familiar with the idea of a progressive jackpot slot game. Indeed, this is one of the most popular types of slots around, and the reason for this will soon become clear.

However, newcomers to online casino play may not be clear about the difference between these and other types of slot games. It is a very important difference too, so should not be underestimated.

There are some slot gamers who will exclusively play progressive slot games – either online or machines in physical casinos. If you are one of those people, who is unsure about how progressive slots work, then we are here to clear up the issue for you, once and for all.

Slot Gaming 101

If you have played any casino games, you will surely be familiar with slot machines. They are the simplest of all casino games as you simply need to select your bet amount and then spin the reels. Hopefully, you will line up symbols on a winning payline and can start celebrating some wins.

With a little bit of luck, it won’t take too long before you trigger a bonus game. This usually takes the form of a number of free spins or a ‘pick and click’ game where you can win cash prizes. Every normal slot game will have a fixed maximum coin winning jackpot.

As an example of this, the famous ‘Gonzo’s Quest’ slot game from NetEnt has a maximum jackpot of 87,500 coins. Now while scooping a jackpot like that would be cause for some real celebrations, it pales into insignificance when compared to what is on offer from a progressive slot game.

progressive slots

Rocket Powered Slots

Progressive jackpot slot games are like regular slots, except powered by jet engines! As the name might suggest, the crucial difference comes with respect to the jackpot. While a standard slot game will have a fixed maximum jackpot, a progressive slot game has no such limit.

Instead, a progressive game will have a separate jackpot which is not connected to regular gameplay. Every time somebody places a bet to spin the reels, a small percentage of their bet is added to the progressive jackpot total.

Even though that may only be a cent or two in some cases, all of those cents can add up to make some very large prizes.


If you consider how many times people play a popular slot game at a specific casino, you can imagine just how large those progressive jackpots get to be over time, as they will keep increasing until they are won. Linked progressive slot games take that to the next level.

A particular game can be linked across casinos, so no matter which online casino you play this specific game at, more money gets added to the jackpot. There are also a series of games which are linked together; like the famous Age of Gods slots from Playtech.

This means every time someone spins the reels of any of these games at any casino, more money is added on to the overall jackpot amount.

Record Breaker

To give you an idea of the kind of jackpots involved here, let’s take a look at some real-life examples of progressive slot games. We have already mentioned the Age of Gods slot games, but although it may seem like this would produce the biggest jackpots there are actually even bigger prizes to play for out there.

Why not start at the top, with the world-record holder for online slot game jackpots. That distinction goes to a game called Mega Moolah, which offers exactly what its name suggests. In 2015 a British soldier was trying his luck with this game from Microgaming when he hit the jackpot in a big way. He won an incredible €17,879,645 from one fortunate spin and set the record in doing so.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Mega Fortune

Second place in the list goes to the game of Mega Fortune from NetEnt. And it so nearly held onto the top spot as the winning total of €17,861,800 was only just beaten by the British winner. This multi-million-euro prize went to a winner in Finland who was playing on the local Paf online casino.

Third and fourth places in the all-time biggest progressive slot game wins are held by the same game: Mega Fortune again. Other massive progressive slots which regularly offer million-euro-plus jackpots are Jackpot Giant and Hall of the Gods.

How to Win the Jackpot

Now down to the nuts and bolts. How can you actually win one of these super jackpots? In a regular slot game, you (usually) unlock a bonus round by finding three or more scatter symbols. While a progressive slot game may well have separate bonus rounds, the progressive jackpot is different.

Sometimes this requires you to find special symbols on the reels, and other times it can be randomly triggered after every single spin, whether you win or lose, which really gives an extra dimension to game-play.

It should be noted, though, that many progressive games will require you to be betting the maximum amount in order to be eligible to unlock the jackpot game.

Others will give a better percentage chance of opening that game should you be max betting, although it will still be possible to access with smaller per spin bets.

progressive slot machines

Wheel of Fortune

The jackpot game itself can take on different forms. One popular example is the ‘wheel of fortune’ model, as with the Mega Fortune game. This jackpot game is not randomly triggered, as instead, you must find 5 bonus ‘wheel of fortune’ symbols in a row in the main game.

You are then taken to a new screen with a large wheel of fortune. Spin the outermost ring of the wheel to either earn a cash prize or an arrow moving you to the next ring of the wheel.

The closer you move to the centre, the higher the cash prizes on offer. Make it to the centre of the wheel and you get to take home that enormous mega-jackpot.

In this game – as is common with many others of this type – there are also smaller jackpots on offer besides the multi-million top prize, and these may be hundreds or thousands of euros rather than millions.

Spin Those Reels

Now that you are familiar with the concept of a progressive jackpot slot, you may wish to go and try one for yourself. The examples we have mentioned come from some of the biggest game developers, so you should have no trouble tracking one or more of them down.

Otherwise just look for the ‘progressive jackpot’ section of games in your favoured online casino and choose your favourite. Those glittering prizes are really worth playing for, as countless slot gaming millionaires from all over the globe can testify!

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