Complete Progressive Jackpots Guide
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? You do!
Megabucks, Mega Moolah, Major Millions, Mega Fortune, millionaires have been made courtesy of these mega games.
Progressive jackpots have been a part of the slot experience since Megabucks first hit the casino floors in 1986. IGT's creation has turned hopeful players into instant millionaires. Megabucks is a networked slot game with 750 machines in 136 Las Vegas casinos.
You don't need to walk through actual casinos doors to get in on this type of jackpot opportunity, though. I-Casinos have Mega Moolah, Wheel of Fortune, and dozens of other options available to players right in their livingroom or even on smartphones and tablets on the move.
As the name implies, progressive jackpots have increasing top prizes that are tied into the amount of betting volume. A small percentage of every wager goes toward building the pot and the longer it's not claimed, the bigger it gets.
There are three types of jackpot games:
- 1Stand alone - one-off games where a portion of the bets goes to increase the grand prize for that particular game only
- 2In-house progressive - these are much more common in brick and mortar casinos and included linked machines but only in-house and not through a big casino network
- 3Networked - here's where the massive money comes in as networked slots are hosted in several locations whether in person or through iCasinos to build a bigger prize pool through more player interaction
Slots Pay Big
When we talk about the advantages and disadvantages to slot play, one of the top benefits is always "big payout potential." Slots may have the largest casino edge, but they also provide some of the highest rewards through networked games.
$39,710,826! Can you even imagine? In 2013, a Los Angelian playing at the Excalibur put in $100 and walked away with the largest jackpot in Las Vegas history on the Megabucks machine. He beat the odds of one in 16.7 million (an extremely conservative estimate), and can honestly say that his life changed that day.
That record setting money was won in person, but online players are not left out either. A Guinness Book record-setting €17.86 million was awarded on NetEnt's online Mega Fortune machine. At any given time, you can find different casino sites featuring million-plus prizes. Mega Moolah always starts out at £1 million even if the prize was just claimed. The more you play, the more you'll know the games to look for as there are some that are singled out as the best jackpot machines, even in the virtual world.
Don't Disregard the Smaller Payouts
There are a handful of those massive payout games, but even more with ever-changing amounts that range from over a thousand to £50,000, £100,000, and even in the £500,000 range. Availability depends on the particular iCasino and the software it uses, as every company will vary.
You can typically find these types of slot games through a dedicated "Jackpots" link, or if you scroll through the list of games, the current payouts should be posted as well.
Relatively smaller payouts don't just apply to the top prizes as some games have more than one jackpot level. Mega Fortune has a Rapid, a Major, and then the Mega prize. Approximately 1% of every bet goes to fund the Rapid, another 1% to the Major, and then 5% goes into the Mega prize pool.
Not Just for Slots Anymore
We've referenced a few slot games that stand out, especially for regular players who are well aware of the top paying games, but other casino games provide progressive payouts as well. Video poker can have a rising Royal Flush, and Caribbean Stud, Hold 'em, or Draw are well-known table progressives with jackpots triggered by side bets.
There are Blackjack progressives, and even roulette can be converted to this type of game. Microgaming's Roulette Royale pays players every time a number repeats. If the number comes out five times in a row, the player is the lucky (and happy) recipient of the current jackpot payout.
Progressives on Mobile
You won't find that all progressive games transfer over to mobile casinos, but a good many of them do, and more and more are being added as new apps are created. There is more of an emphasis being placed on smartphone and tablet access as mobile play is on the rise.
In 2015 another Guinness Book World record was broken through the £13.2 million Mega Moolah jackpot, this time the winner was using the mobile casino.
Odds, Strategy, Payouts, and More
What Are the Odds of Winning a Million-Plus Prize?
Odds will vary depending on the game itself. With networked progressives, the odds should be consistent regardless of your chosen casino, though. One site wouldn't be able to offer better odds than another as fairness needs to be the top priority.
Higher denominations provide a slightly better chance of hitting your target. The actual odds of winning are not publicly promoted by the slot providers. In fact, when the Megabucks winner was announced, odds of winning were mentioned to be nearly one in 17 million, but some say it could be as high as one in 50 million.
What is the House Edge?
You may be familiar with the term payout percentage or house edge and what it refers to is the overall percentage that the casino retains from a long-range series of bets. It's averaged out factoring in over a million spins, and slots typically claim anywhere from 82 to 98% as payout percentages leaving the casino with 18 to 2%. Again, these numbers vary with the machine, the provider, and with time. For the most part, though, jackpot progressives will be providing a lower payout percentage to players as that big top payout number needs to be funded, plus the casino still needs its take. For many of those big name games, the casino take could be as high as 10 to 15%.
Who Pays Out the Winnings?
The smaller payouts are issued by the casinos or i-casinos, and that would include the lower level jackpots. The software company only gets involved in the bigger prize payouts, especially the linked progressives hosted in multiple locations.
Is the Jackpot Paid Out All at Once?
We hate to be vague but, again, this does depend on the game, the software provider, and the terms and conditions of the casino itself. As a general rule, if the software company pays, it will be paid out all at once. If the casino pays, there could be monthly withdrawal limits that may extend overall payment issuance by months or even years. Some sites list $5,000 a month of £20,000 a month as the most that it will issue, so the total winnings are divided out accordingly.
Because payouts differ so wildly between i-casinos, we'll use the example of Megabucks instead. If a player wins the top prize that starts out at $10 million, he or she receives a check for 1.4 million straight away and then has 60 days to opt for payout in annual installments or lump sum. If the upfront payout is chosen, the actual check is for 60% of the total prize, and that's before taxes. Annual installments spread payments out for 20 years, so most opt for the 60% scenario and call it a day.
Is There a Strategy to Better the Odds for Progressive Games?
Obviously, there's no guarantee, but there are a few considerations that may make a difference.
Find a Random Jackpot Game
If you are very limited on betting funds and want to play for that big money prize, you are better off selecting a game like Mega Moolah with a random bonus set-up. That means that the bonus round isn't triggered on pay lines. It could pop up at any time. One of the biggest game winners was only betting 25p.
Always Bet the Maximum When Required
Although not across the board, most progressive jackpot games are dependent on a maximum wager. If you're playing one of those, you can't cut corners and lower your bet, or you are totally out of contention for the progressive amount and may end up with something like a few hundred instead.
Play the Same Game For as Long as You Can
Play the same game for as long as you can - this could be debated, but many experts say that you have a better chance of winning if you stay consistent and play the same jackpot machine for as long as you possibly can to increase your overall odds.
Why Would I Play Anything Else?
There are a few reasons why progressive jackpots are not always the game of choice.
- 1The odds are not in your favor - the odds of winning are much less as opposed to a game with a relatively lower prize pool. Extended playing time is needed to build up that significant jackpot amount, so odds will then be established accordingly.
- 2Top paying games pay less along the way - again, that prize money needs to come from somewhere, and it originates from the players. If more cash is being dedicated to one big payout, then you'll see much few low tier wins on your quest.
- 3It can be expensive - unless you're playing one of those random jackpot versions, a maximum bet is required, and the betting can get steep. Even if it's a three-reel, one line game and the denominations are one pound, you're putting up £3 every time you press spin. Move to a multi-pay line game and the investment is that much greater. 25 pay lines = £25 if you're still paying a £1 denomination.
Some Online Progressive Jackpots
Pretty much anywhere you go to gamble online these days; you'll find a collection of jackpot games as the appeal of these large money prizes is so enticing.
Microgaming is one of the largest providers of online jackpot games, and its collection goes well beyond slots although it is the creator of the popular Mega Moolah, the game that never dips below the £1 million payout mark. It also produces Roulette Royale that we previously mentioned. It's a regular Roulette game, but players get paid whenever a number repeats. The big prize is claimed if a number recurs five times in a row.
Other Microgaming progressive jackpot options:
- King Cashalot - a "pick until you collect" bonus game where players opt to discard current winnings for a bigger jackpot
- Poker Ride - a straight flush claims 10% of the jackpot prize pool
- Triple 7's Progressive Blackjack - allows for a range of betting denominations
- Major Millions - the slot game that starts out with a minimum £250,000 prize
- Tunzamunni - a nickel progressive that's just a three-reel, one line game and, the current top prize is more than £84,000
- Cash Splash - two versions being a three reel, three coin primary game or the five-reel, 15 line option
- Supajax - Jacks or Better video poker with a Royal Flush progressive
Playtech is another manufacturer of many progressives. It initially provided a Marvel super hero collection but lost the licensing. Fortunately, super hero fans are still well accommodated, though, as the DC Superhero Jackpot is currently over £700,000 and includes games like:
- Batman and the Joker Jewels
- Batman and Catwoman Cash
- Superman I and II
- Green Lantern
All super hero slots are networked together and offer the same jackpot payout potential.
The Pros and Cons of Progressive Jackpot Games
- Instant millionaires are made
- Now available in most online casinos and their corresponding mobile casinos
- 24/7 access to the action
- Many have lower level jackpots as well
- Non-networked progressives will have better odds
- Entertaining with different themes and bonus rounds
- Maximum bet may be required
- Smaller wins aren't as frequent
- Prize payout may not be issued all at once
- Greater house edge than regular slots, video poker, or table games
- Table game progressives require a bigger bet
We all know that the biggest progressive jackpot prizes come with odds similar to winning the lottery. But, if you're going to play slots anyway, it's fun to know that it "could" happen. New games are consistently being released, and there are games out there to accommodate all budgets. Why not throw your hat in the ring? You just never know.