The Ins and Outs of Progressive Slots

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Progressive Jackpots Slots Casino Floor

Slot machine games are something that you probably have been familiar since you were a child. They’re featured at probably every single casino that you could visit worldwide.

These entertaining games typically take up 70% of the floor space at a standard Las Vegas casino, and they are responsible for creating huge profit margins at casinos. The truth of the matter is that slot machines are the bread and butter of casinos. There’s a reason you find so many of them on the floor: they tend to generate more income more quickly than table games.

Slot machines definitely aren’t for everyone. If you enjoy the thrill of playing with real people for stakes you can see right on the table, slots are probably going to bore you to tears. However, there are a lot of people out there who are new to gambling who don’t really understand how table games work and don’t want to learn.

If you’re a little introverted, slots may be just the thing for you. You don’t have to interact with anyone, you don’t have to worry about making a mistake or looking silly in front of veterans, and you can play at your own pace without feeling pressured by the group into taking your turn before you’re ready.

Another great benefit of slot machines is that there’s so many of them. You’ll often see lines for table games at casinos, but the slot machines generally don’t have the same issue. You can sit down at one, take a breather, and play just as you want for as long as you want. You’ll even get drinks brought out to you while you play! If that’s not customer service, I don’t know what is.

Slot machine games are divided up into 3 basic categories: classic slots, video slots, and progressive jackpot slots. I am going to go into a little detail about the ins and outs of progressive slots so that you have a better idea of how they work on your next Las Vegas extravaganza.

What Is a Progressive Slot Machine?

The concept of a progressive slot is a pretty easy thing to explain. Multiple players feed each machine in the network, and a percentage of those bets goes towards the progressive jackpot (though it’s possible to have a single machine with a single progressive jackpot). Basically, you and countless other people are all playing games that are connected to each other, building a large potential jackpot that anyone playing on the connected machines can win.

There are 3 different types of progressive slots, including Standalone Progressives, Local Progressives, and Wide Area Network Progressives. A standalone progressive jackpot is a single machine with a progressive jackpot. This is probably the smallest progressive jackpot you will find at a casino, but it can grow significantly depending on how long it takes for the jackpot to be hit.

Local progressive jackpots are linked together at a land-based casino or an online casino. There may be up to 100 or more slot machine games in the local progressive network. This gives the jackpot the opportunity to grow exponentially higher due to all of the slot machines being linked together in a network.

Local progressive jackpots are typically less than $1 million and typically hit at the $100,000 mark.

When you’re really chasing the money and looking to win huge sums of cash, the wide area network progressive jackpots are where you want to be. These linked slot machines offer jackpots up to $10 million thanks to a massive player network.

So again, simply put, progressive slots have a jackpot that increases incrementally as players play the game. The games take a tiny percentage of each bet to “fuel” the jackpot, which enables the jackpots on these games to become far larger than you’d find on other slot machine games.

Keep in mind though that because the jackpots are so big, the chances of winning are very small.

What Are Your Odds of Winning?

The numbers aren’t necessarily in your favor due to the house edge being in place at every single casino in the world. You’ll hear the term RTP, which stands for return to player percentage and is the technical term for the percentage that each machine will pay out to its players.

With progressive slots games, it really does come down to the luck of the draw. The odds of winning these games are significantly lower than your odds of winning on classic slots or standard video slots.

A large reason for this is the fact that progressive slots games are hooked up to large player networks that have been been programmed with lower RTPs than traditional slots. So the more players that can contribute towards these jackpots, the better.

If 100,000 players are competing for the jackpot, and you have a 100% random chance of winning, your odds are theoretically 1/100,000.

Of course, your odds increase if you play local progressive jackpots with a limited number of players. So, just like almost all casino games, it’s a numbers game. Be warned that the gaming company that offers the progressive jackpot may provide its platform to many physical casinos and real money online casinos.

The bigger the number of players, the less likely it is that you’ll win the progressive jackpot. However, as with lottery tickets, you have just got to have that kind of mindset that you out of millions of others are the one person destined to win.

The good news is that there are a few ways to increase your chances of winning progressive slots games. If you play one, always maximize your wagers and play on maximum paylines. This way, if you do win, you’re going to have a high chance of winning big when the right combinations of symbols land on the spinning reels.

Once a jackpot hits, the slot machine instantly resets the jackpot and begins growing again. Unlike the lottery, which you can only play a couple of times a week, your odds are much greater with progressive slots because you can win on any spin.

If you’re going to take a chance, then you might as well just spin to win.

Tips on How to Win

When playing progressive slot machines, the best recommended way to play is to bet whatever the max bet allowed is. So if you walk up to a progressive slot machine and it informs you that the max bet allowed is 4 coins, then you’re going to be much better off playing 4 coins.

When you do win during a slot game, the only way that you could ever win the maximum jackpot is if you play whatever the maximum bet allowed is. If you were to only put in 1 coin instead of 3, then you’re going to put yourself at risk of only winning ⅓ of whatever the jackpot is.

A lot of people will typically play $1 or 25¢ slots. There couldn’t be anything worse for you than to have only bet 50¢ at a slot machine instead of betting a buck and being able to walk away with a hundred grand.

Registered Casinos Only

If you’re playing slots at a physical casino instead of online, don’t ever walk into a casino to play unless it’s a registered casino before you start throwing in your money and spinning the wheel. This means avoiding the slots at shady places like gas stations.

If you’re wondering if playing progressive slots is even worth the money, the main thing to always take into consideration—and this goes for any other casino game—is to know your budget beforehand!

Keep in mind too that progressive slot machines typically have a lower payout than some of the other forms of slot machines. So if you have a certain amount of money that you’re willing to play with, it would be wise of you to only use a portion of that money for progressive slots and the rest on other casino games.

This can give you an advantage as far as walking home with more than you started with instead of leaving the casino empty handed, or even worse, in debt.

So, if you’re not having a lot of luck at the progressive slot machines, at least you’ll still have enough to give the other games a chance.

If you’re the lucky person who happens to win a progressive slot jackpot, as mentioned earlier, the meter resets itself for the next round. Most of the legitimate casinos that you visit will tell you when the last progressive jackpot win took place and how much the jackpot payout was.


Progressive slots can be a lot of fun, though the odds aren’t great. Do you have any tips for progressive slots that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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