Progressive Jackpots – How They Work and Which Games to Play

Progressive Jackpots

If you are new to online casinos, then you’re probably not very familiar with the concept of progressive jackpots. You may have seen slots at online casino with massive jackpots and wonder how you win them, and how an online casino can afford to pay them. Here at we will tell you everything you need to know about progressive jackpots.

An introduction to William ‘Si’ Redd – the king of slot machines

You might think that slots with linked progressive jackpots are an invention of online casinos, but in truth you have another think coming! The invention of progressive jackpot slots is thought to be down to William ‘Si’ Redd, who is one of the most famous people in the history of gambling.

Redd was a Boston-based distributor of games and jukeboxes before he moved to Las Vegas in 1967 and created the Bally Distribution Company. After selling this company Redd created Sircoma, so named as a contraction of Si Redd Coin Machines. This company later changed its name to International Game Technology (IGT) and of course remains in business to this very day.

Redd and IGT helped create video poker, which became a craze that swept across all Las Vegas in the late 1970s and early 1980s. IGT went from strength to strength, but in 1986 found their revenues tumbling due to the creation of a new Californian lottery. They needed a new concept.

With the aid of his team of experts at IGT, Redd came up with ‘Megabucks’, which was a slot game that promised payouts like no slot game before. All Megabucks machines across the state were linked in order for them to share a humungous jackpot. Redd had just invented the first-ever progressive slot.

How progressive jackpots build and build

Progressive jackpot slots can afford to pay out massive jackpots as the jackpot is created by the players themselves. A small percentage of every players’ bet or coin cost for playing a single spin of a slot is kept aside to contribute to the jackpot. For example, say players are playing a slot that cost $1 per spin, and that one percent of that cost contributes to the jackpot. This means that $0.01 of every spin is added whenever someone plays.

If a slot is played 100,000 times per day, then each day $1,000 will be added to the jackpot. If the jackpot is not won for sixth months then that jackpot will be close to $200,000. ALL players across MULTIPLE casinos playing a slot with a progressive jackpot make this contribution, so someone playing Mega Moolah in Germany at an online casino based in Malta will make the same contribution as someone playing Mega Moolah in the US at an online casino that’s based in Canada.

Naturally, different games have different percentage contributions and hence different jackpots. The biggest jackpots that have been won have been well in excess of $10,000,000!

How to win a progressiv jackpot

Some slots have jackpots that can only be won if you are playing at the maximum bet level. Other give you more chance of landing a progressive jackpot if you play at the maximum bet level, but you are still able to win a jackpot at any bet level.

How you win the jackpot depends upon the game in question. With some games the jackpot is just awarded randomly – you do not have to do anything. In other games you need to land a specific, very rare combination of symbols on a payline, or more usually the central line only. In other games you may have to obtain a symbol combination that triggers a side game. Once you have triggered the side game, you need to land a specific reel configuration that triggers the jackpot.

If you play a game with the intention of perhaps winning a progressive jackpot, then make sure you understand how the jackpot is triggered and what special steps you need to take.

The five biggest progressive jackpot wins of all time

  • €18,815,721 by Anon (unknown) at Grand Mondial playing Mega Moolah Mega
  • $20,057,734 by Anon (Canada) at Zodiac Casino playing Mega Moolah Mega
  • €17,860,868 by Anon (Finland) at Paf Casino playing Mega Fortune Mega
  • £12,212,882 by Jon Heywood (UK) at Betway playing Mega Moolah Mega
  • €11,735,446 by Anon (Norway) at Betsson Casino playing Mega Fortune Mega

The Best Progressive Online Slots

Mega Moolah (Microgaming)

Biggest win: €18,915,721.

Average win: €5,126,350.

Average payout time: Every two months.

There is one thing that is certain, and that’s if you win the Mega Moolah Mega jackpot while playing any slot in the Mega Moolah series, then you are now a millionaire. This is because the slot seeds back at $1,000,000 whenever it is won.

In the Mega Moolah range there is the original Mega Moolah title, plus Mega Moolah Isis and Mega Moolah Summetime. All link to the jackpot.

To land the jackpot you need to spin and win on the Mega Moolah Jackpot Wheel. There are four jackpots – Mini, Minor, Major and Mega. You have a 20-1 chance of landing the Mega jackpot. Right now, the Mega Moolah surpassed £11 Million and you can be the next winner!

Mega Fortune (Microgaming)

Biggest Win: €17,860,868.

Average win: €4,004,236.

Average payout time: Every ten weeks.

Taking second place in our rundown of the best progressive slots is another game from Microgaming, Mega Fortune. This game has created several millionaires in its time, although the game reseeds back at €250,000 when it is won.

For over five years Mega Fortune held the record for the biggest progressive jackpot win, but this was bettered in September 2018 by Mega Moolah.

This is another ‘spin to win’ jackpot as to win you need to survive three spins of the Mega Fortune wheel. If the inner wheel ends up pointing to the centre then you’ve taken the jackpot!

Here at we always encourage all our site users to gamble responsible, and to remember that the winning of any jackpot, including a progressive jackpot, is all down to luck and nothing else.

BONUS READ: 3 Great New NetEnt Slots to Look For in 2020

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