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Are Progressive Jackpot Slots and Jackpot Slots the Same Thing?

Progressive Jackpot Slots - MGJ
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It depends on who you talk to.

It seems some people consider both terms to be one in the same, while others consider jackpot slots to represent a category of slots that have jackpots, progressive or not. I did a bit of my own research to learn if there was actually a difference between these two terms. This post is about what I’ve discovered as well as details specific to playing online progressive jackpot slots.

Is there a difference between progressive jackpot slots and jackpot slots?

Yes and no:

  • Yes, a progressive jackpot slot is a type of jackpot slot.
  • No, not all jackpot slots have progressive prizes.

Many players and online casinos (the one I play at included) use the terms “progressive jackpot slots” and “jackpot slots” synonymously. I get why. Most players who seek out jackpot slots are looking for those with progressive pots (myself included). However, if we’re being perfectly factual, the truth is that these two terms are not one in the same. Some jackpot slots are non-progressive and have fixed prizes.

Progressive Jackpot Slots - Image of a casino floor in Vegas - Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash -MGJ
Casino Floor in Vegas – Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash -MGJ

Bottom line: A progressive slot is a jackpot slot but not all jackpot slots have a progressive jackpot.

Okay, so what are jackpot slots exactly?

Other jackpot slots have multiple jackpot prizes. In this case, there is a grand prize (the biggest jackpot you can win) and one or more smaller sized jackpots. Games that feature multiple prize pots are almost always progressive jackpot slots.

What are fixed jackpot slots?

Fixed jackpot slots, also known as non-progressive jackpot slots, are slot machines that have a jackpot prize that is limited to a set amount (e.g. 10,000 coins), also known as a static jackpot.

A static jackpot never increases or decreases from its original starting amount. Therefore, a fixed jackpot of 10,000 coins, for instance, will always be worth this amount.

Bottom line: No matter how many players play the game, a fixed jackpot never changes.

What are progressive jackpot slots?

Progressive jackpot slots are slot machines that feature one or more prizes that continue to climb in size until they’re won.

Each prize pool starts at a seed amount (e.g. $100,000) and continues to grow in size with a percentage of all player stakes contributing to the game’s progressive jackpot(s). Once the jackpot is triggered, it resets to its starting amount and the process begins again.

Progressive Jackpot Slots - Image of Jackpot Slots in a casino - Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash - MGJ
Jackpot Slots in a casino – Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash – MGJ

Bottom line: A progressive jackpot begins at a set starting amount and continues to climb in size until it is won.

How do progressive slots work?

How progressive slots work is pretty straightforward.

  • Each jackpot starts at a seed amount (minimum prize amount – e.g. $50,000) guaranteed by the game supplier.
  • A percentage of every bet a player makes (e.g. 3%) is added to a separate pot that is used to fund the game’s jackpot(s) prize pool(s).
  • A progressive jackpot continues to increase as the game is played, until it is triggered/won.
  • Once it is won, the cycle restarts, with the jackpot returning to the seed amount before climbing again.

How do you play progressives?

In regard to gameplay, there isn’t much difference when comparing progressives vs regular slots. For the most part, progressives function like regular slots in terms of gameplay:

  • Choose a game
  • Pick your bet size
  • Spin the reels

Progressive Jackpot Slots - Image of slot reels - Photo by DEAR on Unsplash - MGJ
Slot reels – Photo by DEAR on Unsplash – MGJ

So, the good news is, if you already know how to play slots, then playing progressive jackpot slots should be a breeze.

That said, there are two progressives vs regular slots factors you should keep in mind, especially if you are budget conscious:

  1. Progressive jackpot slots tend to have an overall lower RTP than regular slots – This is due to the extra contribution to the jackpot funds.

  2. You may need to make the maximum bet for a chance at winning the jackpot – Though this isn’t the case for all games, for some, the only way to trigger the bonus feature that leads to a chance of winning the jackpot is to make the maximum bet (play the max number of paylines or coins to be eligible to win). Why? The bigger the potential prize, the more it costs.

It’s important to check out the rules of the game prior to playing to find out if it’s the right game for you. Personally, because I’m not a big budget player (and I don’t have a high gambling risk threshold), I stick to low/medium volatility games and avoid games that require me to make a maximum bet to trigger certain features.

When do progressive jackpots hit?

Like all online slots wins, progressive jackpots hit at random. So, in case you were wondering, “are progressive jackpots random”, the answer is yes.

Still, being eligible to win the game is another matter altogether, which is why knowing the rules of the slot you’re playing is extremely important to increase your chances of success. Keep the following in mind:

Screenshot of PlayOJO's progressive jackpot slots - MGJ
Screenshot of PlayOJO’s progressive jackpot slots

All that said, remember that you never have control over the outcome of a spin, no matter the size of your bet, how well you know the rules of the games, how large the jackpot is, or how long you play.

Bottom line: All jackpot slots hit at random.

Different types of progressive jackpot slots

I was surprised to learn that there are different types of progressive jackpot slots. Specifically, there are 4 types:

  • Game-only progressive jackpots – These slots have their own progressive prize, with the prize pool funded by players who play the game at different online casinos (e.g. Ygdrasill Gaming’s Ozwin’s Jackpots).

  • Network progressive jackpots – These games are tied to a network-wide jackpot system. This gives players the chance to play any of a group of slots (e.g. 30+ slots) hooked up to the same progressive jackpot network, for the chance to win the same prize (e.g. Blueprint’s Jackpot King/Jackpot Royale networks).

  • Tiered progressive jackpots – It is not uncommon today to find progressive slots with as many as 4 different sized progressive pots. These range from mini (hundreds of dollars), minor (thousands of dollars), major (tens of thousands of dollars) and mega jackpots (hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars). These tiered progressive jackpot slots keep bonus games more thrilling as the smaller jackpots tend to hit more often, keeping the bigger jackpots more enticing to win. (e.g., Playtech’s Age of the Gods features 4 progressive jackpots: Power Jackpot, Extra Power Jackpot, Super Power Jackpot, and Ultimate Power Jackpot)

  • Timed progressive jackpots – These are online slots with progressive jackpots that are guaranteed to pay out at certain times of the day and feature small and medium progressive prize pots. (e.g. Red Tiger’s Daily Jackpots).

Notable famous online progressive jackpot slots

While there are many progressive jackpot slots you can play online, 3 of the most famous are:

Mega Moolah* – Microgaming

Screenshot of Microgaming's Mega Moolah Slot - Progressive Jackpot Slots - MGJ
Screenshot of Microgaming’s Mega Moolah Slot

Easily the most famous of all online progressive jackpot games, Microgaming’s Mega Moolah – dubbed the “Millionaire Maker” – has 4 progressive jackpot prizes, with its highest “MEGA” starting at $1,000,000 and climbing from there. Over the years (this jungle/safari-themed slot has been around since 2006!), this slot has paid out millions in prizes to various lucky players across the globe. It also holds the Guiness Book of World Records largest ever win on an online slot machine, which was awarded back in 2015, when a UK Player won a massive £13.3 million (CA$22.3 million) prize. As of the day I wrote this, the MEGA jackpot was sitting at $8.1 million and climbing fast.

Mega Fortune – NetEnt

Screenshot of NetEnt's Mega Fortune Slot - Progressive Jackpot Slots - MGJ
Screenshot of NetEnt’s Mega Fortune Slot

Another long-time, famous online progressive jackpot (and one that also once held the Guiness Book of World Records largest ever win on an online slot machine title before Mega Moolah took it), NetEnt’s Mega Fortune has been around since 2009. With a luxury-lifestyle theme, Mega Fortune has 3 jackpot prizes, with its largest of the bunch seeding at $1,000,000.

Age of the Gods SeriesPlaytech

Screenshot of Playtech's Age of the Gods Slot - Progressive Jackpot Slots - MGJ
Screenshot of Playtech’s Age of the Gods Slot

With Playtech launching the first Age of the Gods game with huge success in 2016, the software provider has steadily added more jackpot slots in this series. Games in the Age of the Gods series feature an Age of the Gods Mystery Jackpot. It is a multi-level progressive mini-game that guarantees a win of 1 of 4 progressive jackpots. Age of the Gods jackpots are part of the same progressive jackpot network, and are pooled between other Age of the Gods games, allowing for even larger payouts. That said, even the biggest jackpot in these games don’t come close to the millions that can be won from playing Mega Moolah or Mega Fortune.

Personally, I’m looking forward to playing two games in this progressive jackpot series this month – Age of the Gods: Wheels of Olympus and Age of the Gods Norse: Book of Dwarves.

Are progressive jackpot slots better than regular slots?

Though some players will disagree with my above statement, I firmly believe that the answer to “are progressive slots better” boils down to personal choice. Only you can decide for yourself which slots you like best, be it progressive jackpot slots, fixed jackpot slots, or regular slots. There is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is playing the games that you find the most fun, rewarding, and enjoyable to experience.

Personally, I don’t care if a game has a progressive prize or not. If it’s fun to play and fits my mood and my budget I’ll give it a spin!

What about you? Are you like me and more open to play whatever? Or are you a progressive jackpot slots player all the way? Let me know in the comments below or on one of my social channels. 😊

Until next time, good luck and have fun!

Mia 👩‍💻

*All links and images in this post are for information purposes only.

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