A detailed look at Progressive Slots

Progressive Jackpot Slot

We continually receive questions about Progressive Slots from our visitors and while we do outline these in our types of slots section, but we've decided that we need to explore these exciting, potentially expensive and rewarding machines and shed more light on the subject based on the questions we've received. So here goes...

What is a Progressive Slot?

Simply put, these are slot machines which offer higher than normal payouts known as "jackpots" and where the more you play, the higher the jackpot total rises, therefore making it progressive. Once someone wins the jackpot, the machines are reset to a pre-determined limit and they start ticking again.

There are 3 main categories of Progressive Slots:

Stand Alone Progressive Slots

These are single slot machines that offer a progressive jackpot prize and are not linked to other machines that contribute to the prize pool. For this reason, these machines usually offer lower jackpots than the linked/networked machines. On average, the jackpot totals range between 1,000 and 10,000.

Locally Linked Progressive Slots

These are slot machines that have been linked together in a group to offer a larger jackpot, for example a casino group like Fortune Lounge may link the same machine, let's say Tomb Raider, across its' multiple casino properties eg. Platinum Play, Royal Vegas and 7 Sultan, so the Tomb Raider slot at each of these casinos will contribute to the jackpot total.

Locally Linked Progressives offer larger payouts than their stand alone counterparts, often reaching the tens of thousands range, but these are still significantly smaller than jackpots that can be offered on the Global Networks.

Globally Linked or Network Progressives

These progressive slots are linked to a number of machines or networks across a number of locations, and in the case of online casinos, across casino brands powered by a certain software provider eg. Microgaming all throughout the internet. As thousands of people play these games, a percentage of their bets is added to the prize pot, which over time leads to HUGE jackpot prizes, often in excess of a million dollars/euros/pounds.

Are Progressive Jackpots just Con's?

Well, this would really depend what you mean by con's, if you mean that there is something devious or underhanded about that, then the general answer would be no, not when they are featured at reputable casinos.

There are however a few things that you need to be aware of, and depending on the type of progressive you choose to play, there can be both positive and negative aspects:

Pro's

  • Progressive Jackpot Machines often offer the player huge payouts that are not accessible on standard casino slots and games and one big win can sufficiently change your life forever.
  • They provide a great deal of excitement and entertainment value, even when you aren't playing because they allow you to dream and imagine what you'd do if you hit them.

Con's

  • You have to play at maximum bet to qualify for the full jackpot which means that progressives get expensive and deplete your bankroll more quickly than some other casino games.
  • The odds of winning are lower due to the sheer number of people playing these machines and creating the enticing jackpots.

What are the odds of winning a Progressive Jackpot?

As mentioned previously, the more people that play progressives simultaneously, the lower your odds of winning become kind of like the lottery.

Technically speaking though, the odds of hitting the jackpot are determined by the number of reels on the machine, the number of stops there are on each reel, and the value of each symbol (this is determined by the number of stops on the reel that are dedicated to that symbol.

Confusing? Let's clarify that a little: If a reel with 100 stops has 1 stop for the jackpot symbol and 50 stops for the bar symbol it is easily concluded that the odds of that reel landing on a bar symbol are decidedly higher than those of it landing on the jackpot symbol. Therefore there is not equal probability for different payouts on the machine, they are determined by values or weights. Also bear in mind that these machines are run on Random Number Generators (RNG) so there is no way of tipping the odds in your favour.