All About Progressive Slots and How They Work

Elana K. - May 18, 2022
Progressive slots wheels

Progressive slots are slot machines in which a percentage of the player’s bet goes toward a jackpot. They differ from traditional slot machines in which there are pre-determined jackpots. With progressive slots, the jackpot grows with each bet, and players can hit it at any time.

Progressive slots are arguably the most popular type of slot games at both online and land-based casinos. Why are they so popular? Because their jackpots often reach into the millions!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about progressive jackpots, including how they work, why the jackpots climb so high, and how often they pay out.

What Are Progressive Slots?

Progressive slots are slot machines in which a percentage of the player’s bet goes toward a jackpot. They differ from traditional slot machines in which there are pre-determined jackpots. The jackpot grows with each bet with progressive slots, and players can hit it anytime.

How Do Progressive Slots Work?

Since a percentage of players’ bets go toward a jackpot, the jackpot has the potential to become very big. However, how high the jackpot can reach depends on which type of progressive game you play.

There are three different types of progressive jackpots:

  • Standalone - A standalone progressive jackpot isn’t connected to other machines/software, but a percentage of every bet goes toward the jackpot. These jackpots are almost always smaller than other types because they can only grow from players playing that one game.
  • Local - Local progressives apply only to land-based casinos. These types of progressive slots are grouped in one space in a casino, and all the games in the group contribute to the same jackpot. These jackpots can grow higher than standalone progressives since several games contribute to them, not just one.
  • Wide - When you hear about progressive jackpots that reach tens of millions of dollars, you hear about wide progressives. These are found online and connected via a digital network. Let’s take the example of Microgaming’s famous Mega Moolah. If Player X plays Mega Moolah at an online casino in the United States and Player Y plays the game at a different online casino in Australia, each of their bets goes toward the same jackpot. Since every bet around the world makes the jackpot grow, these jackpots often get very big.

How Can You Win a Progressive Jackpot?

Each progressive slot game has its way of winning, and it’s important to know what it is before playing. The most common ways to win a progressive jackpot are by:

  • Spinning a Jackpot Wheel - In some games, a player hits a certain combination and the jackpot wheel appears. If you spin the wheel and land on the progressive jackpot section, you win it. Some games include several progressive jackpots, each with its own space in the wheel. This increases your chances of landing at least one.
  • Collecting Symbols - Some slots require you to collect a specific number of certain symbols to win the progressive jackpot.
  • Landing Matching Symbols - Some progressive slots allow you to win the jackpot the traditional way you win prizes—by landing matching symbols in a specific number of spaces.

What Happens When Someone Wins a Progressive Jackpot?

In all types of progressive jackpots, when a player wins the jackpot, the pot gets reset to its original amount, predetermined by the software developer/machine. It doesn’t usually get reset to 0, but a higher amount.

How is the base amount funded? For example, if the base amount of a progressive jackpot is $500,000, where does that money come from?

The based amount is derived from the bets. For example, if 10% of the player’s bet goes toward the progressive jackpot, 9% will be taken for the jackpot, while the other 1% will go toward the base amount. Once the base amount has been reached, the total percentage goes toward the jackpot.

How Often Do Progressive Slots Pay Out?

This is one of the most pressing questions that progressive slot players ask, and understandably so—the growing jackpot tends to set off dollar signs in players’ eyes!

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer since slots are based on luck! All reputable online slots use an RNG (random number generator) to ensure that each “spin” of the reels results in a completely random landing of symbols. And since it’s all random, there is no way to predict when a player will hit the jackpot. It could be once a year or twice a day—there’s no way to know.

Tips For Playing Progressive Slots

As we discussed above, slots are pure luck. However, there are certain things you can do to increase your luck. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when playing progressive slots.

Make Sure to Meet the Wagering Requirement
Many progressive slot games have a wagering requirement that you must meet to be eligible to win the progressive jackpot. If you don’t bet the requirement and hit whatever combination you need to win the jackpot—you don’t win the jackpot! You’ll only win the standard amount for your spin.

Trust us, you will be banging your head against the wall if you don’t win the jackpot because you didn’t meet the wagering requirements. So when you play, ensure you understand how much you need to bet to win the jackpot.

Bet When the Jackpot is High
If you want to get the most out of a progressive jackpot, play when it’s high. If you play when it’s low and win, that’s great. But it’s much better to win a few million than a few hundred thousand.

Know When to Call It Quits
Slots is a game of luck and a game that’s very hard to stop playing. This can result in losing a lot of money, which you want to avoid. Therefore, setting a budget for yourself before you start is essential. If your budget is $50, you know you can play until you’ve lost $50. Once you get to that amount, stop playing.

Conversely, you can also set a winning limit. Many players fall into the trap of continuing to play after a big win. This results in losing all the money they won, plus more. Therefore, you can set a winning limit. For example, if you win $1000, you stop playing no matter what. Then you will walk away with $1000 and a great feeling. 

Important Notice

By visiting this site, you certify that you are over 19 years old, and you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience, serve personalized ads or content, and analyze our traffic. Read More