Progressive jackpot slots are different to normal slot games because they offer prizes that are progressive rather than fixed. This means that the jackpot increases in size every time a player makes a bet. Unlike regular slots, many progressive jackpots regularly rise to be worth millions of dollars a time.
When a jackpot slot is won, the prize is paid out and returns to its standard, default level. Then it will build up again over time as more players wager on the game.
Some progressive slots are pooled over a network of casinos, which means that several casinos can offer the same jackpot slot and every wager placed on the slot at each casino contributes to the jackpot. In these instances, someone not playing at your chosen casino could win the top prize on the game you are also playing.
Top 5 jackpot slots
Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is hugely popular with players is probably the most famous of all progressive jackpot slots, holding the world record for a jackpot payout – an incredible €18,915,873 ($31,993,361 NZD)!
The original Mega Moolah uses an African safari theme, but there are also Egyptian and Summer themed versions – Mega Moolah Isis and Mega Moolah Summertime. You can win in any of these versions, with the amount paid out in your local currency, New Zealand players will receive their winnings in NZD.
When playing Mega Moolah, anding 3 scatters on the reels activates 15 free spins, during which a 3x multiplier is applied to all wins. You can also re-trigger the free spins.
There are four jackpots in total in this 25-payline slot – Mini, Minor, Major and Mega. You get a shot at the jackpots if you’re lucky enough for the randomly activated bonus round. This lets you have a spin of the wheel which can potentially land you any of the four jackpots. The minimum jackpot amount set at $2m, Mega Moolah has been responsible for turning a number of very lucky players into millionaires.
Mega Fortune is a jackpot slot produced by leading software provider NetEnt that has delivered some of the biggest casino payouts. This is a 25-pay line slot set against the backdrop of a luxury marina, using champagne, cash and limos as symbols.
There are three different progressive jackpots in Mega Fortune – the Mega Jackpot, the Major Jackpot and the Rapid Jackpot. To have a shot at the jackpots you need to activate the bonus game by landing 3 or more Bonus symbols in succession on an active bet line. You then spin the wheels and keep your finger’s crossed your luck’s in!
Mega Fortune also has a free spins bonus feature which is triggered when you land three of more champagne scatter symbols. All wins during the free spins are also multiplied anywhere between 1x and 5x. You can land more scatters during the feature to bag some more free spins.
Hall of Gods
This NetEnt progressive slot offers three jackpots that can be won by playing the bonus game. In order to launch the bonus round and crack open shields and land your prize, you’ll need to use Thor’s Hammer. You could become a winner by matching three jackpot jewel symbols.
There is a link between the size of your bet, the jackpot size and your chance of winning, so those searching for the truly big bucks will want to play at maximum stakes. With a usual prize of around $10million and the jackpot falling roughly five months, Hall of Gods offers a path for players to become slots gods themselves.
Jackpot Giant is a progressive slot developed by Playtech and as the name suggests, this game offers big win. This game uses 50 reels and 50 paylines, with transparent reels set against a volcano backdrop.
Bonus features include a wild, a scatter and the Bonus symbol which activates the Giant Bonus feature. The Giant Bonus feature is activated when you land volcano bonus symbols on reels 1 and 5. You’ll then be taken to another screen where the Giant is standing behind 6 volcanoes. You then pick volcanoes to win cash prizes.
The progressive Giant Jackpot is activated when you land 5 Wold symbols on the first payline. It has paid out several wins of well over $1 million.
Age of Gods
This is the original game in Playtech’s famous Age of Gods jackpot slots series, which includes a number of different games all with progressive jackpots.
This game uses the classic Ancient Greece theme and has four bonus features based on different Greek Gods – Athena, Poseidon, Hercules and Zeus. These are different free spins features that award different numbers of spins alongside other exciting bonus features, such as multipliers and stacked wilds.
There is also a Pantheon of Power on Reels feature which is activated when you land all 5 gods consecutively on a reel and can reward you large cash prizes.
Age of Gods gives players the chance to win four different progressive jackpots. The jackpot game is awarded randomly and requires you to match three symbols to win the corresponding jackpot.
History of big jackpot winners
A new world record payout was set in 2018 after one lucky player landed €18,915,873 ($31,993,361. NZD) on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot. The winner wished to remain anonymous after striking the big time with a 75 cent bet on an Android mobile phone.
This payout exceeded the previous record, which was also set by Mega Moolah. The slot paid out That figure was €17,879,645 EUR ($30,265,645 NZD) in 2015 to a player called Jon Heywood, from Cardiff, Wales, who was playing on the Betway website. He won with just a 25 pence bet. The payout earned Microgaming a Guinness World Record title for ‘Largest jackpot payout in an online slot machine game’. Back in January 2013, a Finnish man in his 40’s won an incredible €17,861,800 EUR ($30,245,743 NZD) playing on the NetEnt slot Mega Fortune, from just a 25 cent bet.
Some jackpot winners love the limelight and that was the case with the appropriately named Marcus Goodwin who scooped $11,633,898 USD ($18,199,837 NZD) on Mega Moolah in 2016. Afterwards he said: “This is obviously life-changing. I can’t believe it. I will definitely be buying a nice big house and a vacation cottage. And taking my entire family on a first-class trip to Africa. This will mean great Christmas presents for everyone!”
How progressive jackpots work
Progressive jackpot slots offer some of the biggest payouts across the entire online casino landscape as their value increases until one lucky player wins the top prize. These are different to fixed jackpots, which pay out a set amount when a player lands the required combination.
Progressive slots can either by local, which means the only players playing at that casino contribute to the jackpot, or they can be pooled, also known as linked jackpots, which means players across a network of different casinos contribute to the jackpot.
Progressive jackpots begin as a set minimum amount, and then each time the reels of a jackpot slot are spun, a percentage of the wager used to play the game is added to the prize. Once the prize is won, it returns to the base value and begins building up again as players stake their bets.
Aside from the progressive element, jackpot slots are pretty much the same as standard slot games. It’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with a specific game’s rules before starting play, looking at return to player (RTP) percentages and the paytable.