Are Progressive Jackpot Slots Really Worth Playing?

Jackpot LogoNearly 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, the progressive jackpot slots. The more people that play a progressive jackpot slot, the bigger the jackpot gets and so it’s unlikely that these progressive jackpots are likely to any smaller any time soon. But how do progressive jackpot slots work? And more importantly, are they worth playing over regular slot games? In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at every facet of what makes up a progressive jackpot slot and see 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. In regular slots, jackpots ranging anywhere near the millions are rare, simply because the slot maker has to allocate the grand prize based on assumptions of how much money will be lost on the game before the jackpot is won, so they’ll be able to make a profit.

But progressive jackpot games allow for bigger jackpots because the prize grows continuously as the slot is played. A percentage of every coin lost on the slot goes towards the progressive jackpot, which waits around for a lucky winner to pick up later. Instead of a slot developer having to guess the chances of a player winning the jackpot, the jackpot simply grows with the number of people playing. This allows them to get much bigger, up to the tens of million, simply because the jackpot keeps growing until it’s won, without coming out of the developer’s pocket.


How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?

progressive-jackpot-slotIn the base game of the slot, the rules are the same as any other regular slot game, with players having to create winning lines of symbols in order to win multipliers on their wager. Jackpot wins aren’t seen in the base game of progressive jackpot slots, so a majority of play time with a progressive jackpot will feel much the same as a regular slot game. It’s by unlocking the bonus round of the progressive jackpot slot where 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.

Instead of just having a free spins round, or some other kind of bonus you’d find in regular slots, the bonus round of a slot is where players are given the chance to win the slot’s various jackpots. An important point to remember is that 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, or you’ll only be able to play for a lower value jackpot.


The Types Of Progressive Jackpots

Any progressive jackpot slot comes with numerous progressive jackpots to play for. Usually, there are 4 kinds of progressive jackpots that are all continuously increasing at the same rate, but have different payout rates that keeps them all at different values.

  • 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

Mega Jackpots Cleopatra JackpotThe important thing to remember about all the jackpots available is that they are all increasing at the same rate, so their maximum value depends on how often their won. Every jackpot has a different payout rate, so the likelihood of being able to win at least one of the jackpots is much higher than if all the cash was placed into a single mega jackpot which paid out very rarely.

A maximum bet would only be required to win the largest jackpot on any slot. Low wagers still allow you access to the minor jackpots and mini jackpots, with slightly higher wagers letting you access the major jackpots. Any information about what bet requirements you have to satisfy in order to access certain jackpots can be found on the information page of any progressive jackpot slot.

There are also slot games which come with a single progressive jackpot which is 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, but if you manage to spin five jackpot scatter symbols, then you take home the pot.

The jackpots on these slots have an extremely low payout as the jackpot is designed to simply be an additional bonus feature of the slot and not the primary reason for playing. However, these slots allow you to win potentially big money, and won’t require you to place a max bet in order to be in with a chance of winning the jackpot, since their payout rates are designed to be so low.


Are Progressive Jackpot Slots Worth Playing For?

Given that we now know how progressive jackpots works, you can start to get a feel for whether or not they’re game for you. An important fact to remember is that most progressive jackpot slots are high variance, which 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 how large of a bankroll you have to work with. If you have a bankroll that’s big enough to outlast prolonged large bets, with very irregular returns, and you’re happy to wager that much money, then progressive jackpots will pose no problem to you.

However, if you’re 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 that unless you have a lot of money to carry you through, or just simply an absurd streak of luck, it’s unlikely you’ll reach the bonus round to activate the progressive jackpot. With a lower bankroll, you’ll have more luck going for a low variance slot, with lower payouts, but at a higher frequency.

igt-megajackpot-slotsBy hosting a larger jackpot, the slot developer reasonably has to make it harder to win, and therefore employs more risk on the player’s end. After all, it’s this increased challenge and risk which gives progressive jackpot games their excitement in the first place. But it’s best to remember that this challenge is produced by not only increasing the required entry wager to the maximum bet, but by also designing the slot to have a high variance payout.

Of course, you can always play for the lower end jackpots and wager much less, but you’ll still often have to accept that the higher variance of the slot will mean that your wins will still be more irregular than other standard slot games. And you can always try out a watered down version in the form of the regular slot games with additional progressive jackpot bonus features that we mentioned earlier, which strike a good balance in terms of variance, but offer a much rarer jackpot win.

Effectively, it comes down to a simple choice. If you have the bankroll to brave it out and can afford any losses, then progressive jackpot slots are a perfect way to refresh your excitement in slot gaming by playing for even bigger payouts. However, if you can’t afford it, then don’t aim to play for progressive jackpots. You’ll simply run out of cash before you even get a chance to play for the big money and more often than not, leave empty handed.