Nearly every other month it seems we get a story about yet another record breaking progressive jackpot win. As online casinos continue to get more popular, players are also heading to where they can win the most.
And the biggest payouts happen to be found in the progressive jackpot slots.
The more people that play a progressive jackpot slot, the bigger the jackpot gets. So, it’s unlikely that these progressive jackpots are likely to lose popularity any time soon.
Below, we'll tackle two questions:
- What are progressive jackpot slots?
- How do they work?
- What are their types?
- Most importantly, are they worth playing over regular video slots?
In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at every facet of what makes up a progressive jackpot slot. Read on to find out if they’re the right kind of game for you.
Jackpot Slots In A Nutshell
Fundamentally, progressive jackpot slots function in much the same way as regular slot games do. They are made up of reels containing symbols, which players have to spin in order to create winning paylines of symbols.
As we all know, a jackpot is the big prize of the slot. It can hit tens of thousands or even a few million pounds, depending on the game.
The Difference from Regular Slots
In regular slots, jackpots ranging anywhere near the millions are rare. It's simply because the slot maker has to allocate the grand prize based on assumptions. They have to guess how much money will be lost on the game before the jackpot is won. After all, they’ll need to make a profit.
Progressive jackpot games allow for bigger jackpots. It's because the prize grows continuously as the slot is played. A percentage of every coin lost on the slot goes towards the progressive jackpot. It then waits around for a lucky winner to pick it up later.
So, the slot developer doesn't have to guess the chances of a player winning the jackpot. It simply grows with the number of people playing.
This allows them to get much bigger, up to the tens of million, simply because it only grows without coming out of the developer’s pocket.
How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?
In the base game of the slot, the rules are the same as any other regular slot game. The players have to create winning lines of symbols in order to win multipliers on their wager.
Jackpot wins aren’t seen in the base game of such a slot machine. So, a majority of play time with it feels much the same as a regular slot game.
It’s by unlocking the bonus round that the players can be in with a chance of winning the jackpot. Any bonus rounds are usually unlocked by spinning three scatter symbols on the slot, as per usual.
A jackpot bonus can look like a free spins round. It can be some other kind of bonus you’d find in regular slots. The difference is that the punters get the chance to win the slot’s various jackpots on top.
There's also an important point to remember:
Most progressive jackpot slots will only let you play for the larger jackpots if you are betting the maximum wager on the winning spin.
Any less and you’ll be unable to claim the maximum progressive jackpot. At best, you’ll only be able to play for a lower value jackpot.
The Types Of Progressive Jackpots
Many progressive jackpot slots come with numerous prizes to play for. Usually, there are 4 kinds of progressive jackpots that are all continuously increasing at the same proportion. However, they have different payout rates that keep them all at different values.
Four Jackpots – One Game
- Mega Jackpot – Has a lower chance of payout and therefore reaches the highest value on the slot, usually totalling into the millions
- Major Jackpot – Has a slightly higher chance of payout and therefore usually stays at around the tens of thousands
- Minor Jackpot – Quick fire jackpots that payout often, usually reaching between a few pounds to a few thousand pounds at their peak
- Mini Jackpots – Some slots even come with a mini jackpot where the largest amount you can win is generally about £10 as they have a really high payout rate
The important thing to remember:
All the jackpots in a single online casino game increase at the same rate.
So, their maximum value depends on how often they're won. Due to the multiple pots, however, the likelihood of winning at least one is relatively high. At least, when we compare it to cash games with a single mega jackpot which pays out very rarely.
A maximum bet would only be required to win the largest jackpot on any slot. However:
- Low wagers allow you access the minor and mini jackpots
- Slightly higher wagers let you access the major jackpots
Information about what bet requirements you have to satisfy in order to access certain jackpots isn't secret. It can be found on the information page of any progressive jackpot slot.
Single Jackpot Slot Games
There are also slot games which come with a single progressive jackpot. It's often unlocked during the base game. These jackpots can be easy to miss as many slots have them, but rarely make mention of them.
These games play exactly like regular slots. Yet if you manage to spin five jackpot scatter symbols, you take home the pot.
The jackpots on these slots have an extremely low payout, though. Such a ‘big win' is designed to simply be an additional bonus of the slot. It's not the primary reason for playing.
However, these slots allow you to win potentially big money. They won’t require you to place a max bet in order to be in with a chance of winning, either. That's because their payout rates are designed to be low.
Are Progressive Jackpot Slots Worth Playing For?
Given that we now know how progressive jackpots works, you can start getting a feel for whether or not they’re for you. An important fact to remember is that most progressive jackpot slots have high variance.
High variance means that wins will come less often, but they will usually have a larger payout.
How much success you have with this depends greatly on your bankroll. The larger it is, the better. It must be enough to outlast prolonged large bets, with very irregular returns.
If you’re happy to wager that much money, then progressive jackpots will pose no problem to you.
What if Your Budget is Small?
Running on a tighter budget? Then even the allure of a potentially big jackpot shouldn’t sway you to get involved.
The truth of the matter is:
You need a lot of money to carry you through to the bonus and, eventually, the grand prize. Unless you have that or run into an absurd streak of luck, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere.
With a lower bankroll, you’ll have more luck going for a low variance slot with lower payouts, but at a higher frequency.
By hosting a larger jackpot, the slot developer reasonably has to make it harder to win. Therefore, they employ more risk on the player’s end. After all, it’s this increased challenge and risk which gives these games their excitement in the first place.
It’s best to remember that this challenge is produced by two things. It's not only increasing the required entry wager to the maximum bet. It's also designing the slot to have a high variance payout.
The Middle Ground
Of course, you can always play for the lower end jackpots and wager much less. However, you’ll still often have to accept the effects of the higher variance of the slot. It means that your wins will still be more irregular than other standard slot games.
alternatively, you can always try out a watered down version in the form of the regular slot games. The additional progressive jackpot bonus features we mentioned earlier provide a balance. They combine a closer-to-medium variance and offer a much rarer jackpot win.
To Play or Not to Play?
Effectively, it comes down to a simple choice.
1. Do you have the bankroll to brave it out? Can you afford many losses? Then progressive jackpot slots are a perfect way to refresh your excitement in gaming by playing for even bigger payouts.
2. If you can’t afford it, then don’t aim to play slot games for progressive jackpots. You’ll simply run out of cash before anything happens. You may not even get a chance to play for the big money. More often than not, this leaves gamblers empty-handed.