Progressive Slots

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Progressive slots are a category of video slots featuring an ever-increasing money pool that is regularly awarded to a qualifying player. They work very simple, actually. When a player places a bet on a progressive slot, a small portion of his bet is taken to feed a progressive pool, the current value of which is normally displayed on the gaming screen near the reels. The major software companies that develop progressive slots are Microgaming, Net Entertainment, Playtech, RTG, and many others.

Types of progressive jackpots

Progressive slots differ in the way they accumulate a jackpot. A pooled progressive slot such as Mega Moolah, Major Million, King Cashalot, Millionaire Genie and others is part of a big network that links together multiple casinos. This means that all players who bet at different casinos that host the game contribute towards a specific jackpot that often grows into millions of dollars. When hit, a pooled progressive is paid out by the developer who has supplied the game, not the casino.

A local progressive jackpot gets bigger within a single casino. Every time a player makes a stake on a progressive game within a specific casino, a small percentage of his stake is added to the progressive pool of that casino, that is why the same game features different prize pools at different gambling venues. Popular local progressive slots include, without being limited to, Cosmic Fortune, Super Lucky Frog, Icy Wonders, and more. Locally generated jackpots are normally lower in amount than shared jackpots that can reach astronomical sums of money; however, the odds of winning a local jackpot are usually higher.

The size of progressive jackpots

A progressive jackpot is not capped at any level – in fact, it keeps becoming larger until a lucky gambler hits it, and sometimes it takes months or years for a jackpot to be triggered. For example, the Gladiator slot (Playtech) has paid out 12 progressive jackpots since 2009. The average sum won is $1.4 million and the largest payout is a massive $3.2 million. The average time between wins is 12 weeks or so. The world record for the biggest jackpot win of £13,212,882 was established in October 2015 by a Mega Moolah progressive slot developed by Microgaming.

Whereas the maximum jackpot amount is theoretically unrestricted, online progressive slots do have a minimum level known as a “seed”. After a progressive jackpot has been hit, it immediately resets itself to a seed value and starts accumulating from that preset amount. Some slots are reset to zero, but most progressives have various seed values. For example, Treasure Nile (Microgaming) starts from $40 000, Diamond Valley (Playtech) seeds at $5000, and the legendary Mega Moolah has a $1 million seed amount.

How to hit a jackpot in progressive slots

There are basically three ways of winning a progressive jackpot that vary between different slots:
1) to spin in a special combination of symbols. E.g., in Arabian Nights (Net Entertainment) that comes with a fixed $5 bet per spin a player needs to land five wild symbols on any payline in order to grab a jackpot. In King Cashalot, a progressive is awarded when five King symbols occur on line 9, provided a player has made the maximum $2.25 bet;
2) to access a bonus game that could award you with a jackpot. In many progressive jackpot slots, a player must first trigger a special bonus feature. In Hall of Gods (NetEnt) that pays out an average of €5,4 million every 27 weeks a player is to activate a bonus feature by getting three bonus icons on the reels, and then play a second-screen bonus round where he has to break the items that reveal appropriate prizes including a progressive jackpot;
3) to do nothing but spin the reels because some progressives are awarded randomly. In some games, a progressive jackpot is triggered at random and is not tied to what’s happening on the reels.

Every progressive slot has its own qualification requirements related to the number of coins a player must place per spin or the number of active paylines to bet on, and much more. That is why it is strongly recommended that players should read and fully understand the rules to a selected progressive slot in order to ensure that each bet placed does qualify for a progressive jackpot.

Free progressive slots

Unlike most regular non-progressive games, virtually all progressive slots are available to players upon registration at the casino where a selected slot is hosted. Nevertheless, some slots with a progressive jackpot do allow a free play for practice purposes.