How Progressive Jackpot Machines Work

How Do Progressive Jackpot Slots Work

If you’re looking for a way to add a couple of zeros to your bank account, progressive slots are just the thing.

This special variation of the famous fruit games was introduced during the ‘80s. Up until then, the only version of slot games known and available for the players had been the regular, standard slot game version.

However, in 1986, one of  Las Vegas casinos started offering its players a chance to win massive amounts of cash by playing on progressive machines.

Ever since then, countless casinos have joined suit, and now progressive games (or jackpots) are present everywhere. If you’re interested in all the bits and pieces of progressive slot games, join us for a spin around the world of the most popular game in the entire industry.

The Progress of Progressive Slots

As we already mentioned, progressive slots were first introduced during the ‘80s.

After more than 30 years of existence, this specific type of games has reached planetary success, attracting millions of players each year.

Before we start explaining how they work, it’s important to explain how regular slots function so that we could draw the parallel.

Standard slots are based on spinning the reels and collecting wins based on certain patterns of symbols that land on the reels. Each player gets a prize according to several factors: the pattern, the symbols that formed the winning sequence, and the bet per spin. There is a maximum amount for the game that the player can win, and that maximum is always fixed. Now, as slots became more and more popular, the urge to create something even better was quite strong.

Enter Megabucks. It’s the year of 1986 and the first progressive slot was born.

The company that produced Megabucks connected machines locally via phone lines and secured $1,000,000 for the starting jackpot. As the customers start playing and inserting their coins in the game, the prize pool for the main jackpot grew. Less than a year after its launch, Megabucks awarded one lucky player $4.9 million.

The reason why this was possible lies in the jackpot fixture. While in regular slots the jackpot is fixed, progressive slots are distinguished by the fact that the jackpot is not limited and grows each time a player joins and plays the game.

Basically, that is the main difference between regular and progressive games. Other features are the same with both versions of slots.

The Exponential Growth

As soon as they came out, the world was left speechless. Millions of players flocked to casinos to get a chance to turn their lives around with just one spin.

Of course, chances of actually scoring the big hit were slim, but that stopped no one. The evolution of progressive slots saw three versions of this game: the standalone, the local network, and wide area network progressives. The first progressives were mostly standalone – jackpots grew only if users play on one specific machine. The local network enabled a connection of several machines which shared the prize pool and players could win on any of those machines whenever. However, the third type is the type we know today: the network can cover either one state or country or is created by the provider of the game.

In the first case, all instances of the game in casinos within one country are part of the same network. In the second, all instances of the game everywhere in the world form a network, because the creator of the game leases the machines to casinos in all its regulated markets.

But, the real potential of progressives was unlocked when online casinos were introduced. By operating online, providers had even greater possibilities to connect the machines easier, because it all works via the internet. The software is interconnected so players from all around the world can play the games simultaneously and expand the prize pool infinitely.

The pool rises until the jackpot is hit. Once someone wins the big jackpot, the amount in the pool resets to the default amount which again starts growing as new players join in.

One of the most popular progressives is Mega Moolah. To this day, this game made millionaires out of dozens of people. Each year, several lucky players win the Mega Moolah jackpot. Microgaming, as the producer of the game, holds the Guinness World Record for biggest jackpot payout of €18.9 million won precisely in Mega Moolah.

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