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Progressive Jackpot Slots Guide
Progressive slots are the types of slots you dream about hitting — you put in a $10 bet and can walk away with $1M or more.
In 2020, Borgata casino and BetMGM casino were running a collaborative progressive jackpot on a slot series called The Big One which included several popular New Jersey slots. In July 2020, one woman from New Jersey ended up hitting the progressive jackpot and walked away with a record-high $3.2 million.
While not every progressive jackpot slot hits record high levels, the allure of the progressive jackpot is the concept of a compounding jackpot. Standard slot games have fixed payouts, but progressive slots can reach life-changing numbers.
This guide on progressive jackpot slots will explain what a progressive jackpot is and how these slots are different from your typical slot game.
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Is it better to play progressive slots?
Playing progressive jackpot slots is the best way to hit the largest payout, even though the odds of hitting a progressive jackpot are not as good as other slots. Whether you’re playing in-person or at an online casino, you have several options for playing progressive jackpot slots.
Progressive slot machines have become immensely popular, making up about 30% of the slot offerings within a casino. These are the types of slots that gamblers dream about because just one lucky spin could change your whole life.
Let’s explore what progressive slots are and how they work. We’ll also discuss why casinos have such high-roller games and how you can do your best to try to win big yourself.
Popular Slots at New Jersey Online Casinos
Below are some of the most popular online slots available at NJ online casinos. From Monopoly Megaways and Blood Suckers to Gonzo’s Quest, here are the New Jersey online slots you need to know about.
What Are Progressive Slots?
Plenty of slots out there have a set jackpot as their highest payout. Maybe it’s set at 2,000 credits, for example. Progressive slots, meanwhile, have jackpots that aren’t set at a fixed amount. A small portion of each wager is dedicated to “feed” the jackpot pool and help it grow. Think of progressive slots like a state lottery which has a jackpot that continues to grow as more people play and until someone wins.
If you’re playing in a live casino, the current amount of the progressive jackpot will be prominently displayed above the slots that contribute to that bank. For online slots, the game should display the amount above the middle reels for easy reference.
The progressive jackpot might be hit through a particular winning combination, in a bonus game, or even randomly across a specific sequence of slot symbols. Whichever player wins gets that full progressive jackpot amount, and then the jackpot resets and starts growing once more. In order to qualify for the progressive jackpot, you will need to meet the minimum requirements for that specific progressive slot which is often to bet the maximum amount for the slot game. If you fail to bet the maximum for the slot or do not meet other eligibility requirements, you will not win the progressive jackpot even if you hit the sequence needed.
Many progressives do have maximum amounts. Once a progressive has reached that cap, the jackpot won’t increase until someone wins.
There are three major types of progressive slots, and it’s important to know how each one works to know what sort of jackpot you could be looking at.
This was the first type of progressive slot ever developed, when bets placed on only that machine fed into the growing jackpot. It’s harder to find this type of standalone progressive slot, but they do still exist and are in casinos around the world. Oftentimes, the jackpot for these will be under $10,000 — which is still nothing to sneeze at, of course.
These types of progressive slots are really common. Here, multiple slots banked together within the same casino are linked to one another over an internal network, and every one of those slots contributes to the growing prize amount. Depending on the casino, this could involve a dozen machines all the way up to a hundred or more. These local progressive jackpots are usually under $100,000, but they can also go up to the $1 million range.
Wide Area Network Progressives
These are the big-money progressives and the most popular casino games available today. Here, the network links together slots from multiple casinos within the same jurisdiction, which allows the jackpot to grow to crazy amounts — often over $1 million and many times over $10 million. Many online progressive slots will be either a local progressive slot or a wide area network progressive slot.
Benefits of Progressive Slots for Casinos
If players can make so much money playing on progressive slots, then why do casinos offer so many of them?
Slots have a much higher house edge in general compared to your other games like craps (0.8%), blackjack (0.5%), or baccarat (1.06%). Now, plenty of slots players concern themselves with the return to player (RTP) percentage to try to get the most out of a slot, looking for slots with at least a 90% RTP.
But the flip side of that RTP is the house edge. A slot with an RTP of 90% means that 10% of your average spend goes straight to the casino. Even if you find a slot with a return to player (RTP) rate of 95%, that means the house edge is still 5%.
Think of a house edge this way: If you spend $100 on a game with a house edge of 5%, then you make back only $95 on average, giving the casino $5. Such a significant house edge depletes players’ bankrolls more quickly than with table games that have lower house edges.
Meanwhile, progressive slots might declare an average RTP or a percentage range, but that range is affected by the very nature of a progressive game.
First off, a percentage of each bet on a progressive slot gets diverted to the growing jackpot. That amount comes out of the payback rate. Also, a big chunk of the game’s stated RTP comes from the jackpot’s payout. If a progressive slot has a stated 95% RTP, then 5% of that number might come from the jackpot.
This means that RTPs on progressives are harder to calculate accurately, and so the casino makes a better profit off of them than they already do with slot machines that have a hard and set maximum payout.
Not to mention, progressive jackpot slots offer some of the best marketing opportunities for casinos. If a progressive jackpot reaches $1 million or more, the casino can use that to draw more players to the casino and the slot. Once someone wins, it provides PR on the backside in the form of a huge payout from that casino. In both cases, the casino can use the progressive jackpot to further its brand recognition.
Benefits of Progressive Slots for Players
Despite progressive slots having lower payout rates (frequency), people play progressive jackpot slots at alarmingly high rates. Why is that? Well, simply put — you can win substantially more in a single spin playing a progressive slot than any other casino game. With just one bet on a progressive jackpot slot, you could retire and walk away from your job. You could legit become a millionaire in a single spin on a progressive slot. No other casino game has the ceiling of a progressive slot.
In Vegas alone, you have three (3) of the top slot wins of all time on progressive jackpot slots. The highest jackpot being a $39 million prize from Megabucks at Excalibur Casino. That type of prize is what gamblers dream of when they go to sleep at night, and it’s the major reason people play progressive slots.
People love the thrill of trying to win that million-dollar jackpot. Wouldn’t you want to be among those elite winners, too?
Strategies for Progressive Slots
If you want to play progressive slots, then keep some small strategies in mind. You can’t magically increase your odds of winning, but you can make your attempts more worthwhile.
Always Make the Max Bet
Oftentimes, progressive slots will only let you win the giant jackpot if you’ve made the maximum bet. Check the paytable details before you play to be sure that this is the case. If you bet only 1 credit instead of the max 4 credits, you’re putting yourself in the position to win only a quarter of the jackpot (at best).
Establish and Stick to Your Budget
You should set aside a certain amount of money as your bankroll and not go beyond that. Remember that, since you’re doing max bets, you’re going to be going through your money more quickly than if you were just doing minimum bets. Don’t let the excitement make you blow through your budget while you’re chasing that gigantic payout.
Play When the Jackpot Has Gotten Huge
To maximize your potential payout, only play when the progressive jackpot has become massive. This way, you’re more likely to actually win back more than just your bankroll if you do hit the big winning combination, and you’re maximizing the credits you are playing.
Don’t Fall Into the Gambler’s Fallacy
Just remember not to fall into a trap and believe that a jackpot is “due” soon. Just like any other game of probability, the results are randomized, and each round is a reset from the previous one. Every spin has the exact same chance of hitting the jackpot as the previous spin and as the next spin.
Top Progressive Jackpots
By now, you have a good grasp on progressive slots and how to maximize your chances of winning a progressive jackpot. So, what are some of the biggest progressive jackpot slot wins of all time? Below are a few of the top progressive jackpot payouts of all time.
1. $39.7 Million – Megabucks – Excalibur Casino, Las Vegas
A software engineer hit a $39.7 million jackpot playing a Megabucks slot in Las Vegas. They are quoted saying that they “may have spent $100 before hitting the jackpot.” The Megabucks slot machine is only offered at land-based casinos, but this progressive jackpot slot has made more than 20 people millionaires with its jackpot alone.
2. $34.9 Million – Megabucks – Desert Inn Casino, Las Vegas
Well, wouldn’t you know — the second biggest progressive jackpot of all time is a Megabucks slot again. This time, the winner was a cocktail waitress who lost her first $35 betting $3 a spin (max bet). She almost left before deciding to give it a couple more tries. Thankfully, she did, and she ended up walking away with the $34.9 million jackpot.
3. $27.5 Million – Megabucks – Palace Station Resort, Las Vegas
If you’re starting to spot a trend, it’s that you should probably try a Megabucks progressive slot if you’re ever in Las Vegas. The 3rd largest progressive slot jackpot of all time went to a woman who wagered about $240 on the slot game before hitting the massive jackpot. She didn’t give up gambling after either, a few months later she won almost $700,000 on another progressive slot game at the same casino.
Read more of the biggest slot wins of all time.
Players Beware With Progressive Slots
Progressive jackpot slots are distinctly appealing because of their profit potential. The idea of winning $10,000, $100,000, or even $1 million with just one lucky spin of the reels is supremely seductive.
But anyone who wants to try their luck on a progressive slot should be aware of what’s behind that allure. Progressive slots come with a high house edge and a low likelihood of getting that giant jackpot. You also are going to be spending your money much more quickly on a progressive because you’re only eligible for that highest payout by making the maximum bet.
In the end, only you can determine if you want to embrace these risks and try for that progressive jackpot. If this still sounds like the game for you, be sure to read reviews of online casinos to find the best options out there. And, if you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, please take steps to safeguard yourself and them.
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Progressive Slots FAQ
You can play progressive slots anytime, and your odds of winning the jackpot will not change regardless. However, the best time to play progressive slots is once the progressive jackpot has it a high number. This won’t increase your odds of winning, but it does mean that if you do win — you win more.
The biggest slot win of all time is on a progressive slot game known as Megabucks. In fact, Megabucks has the top 3 largest slot payouts of all time with almost all of them reaching $30 million.
The biggest progressive slot jackpot win of all time was an anonymous player in Las Vegas who won $39.7 million playing Megabucks progressive jackpot slot. They are believed to have only bet around $100.
The took the payments across 25-years and won in 2003 which means they still have several years left of payout.
A progressive jackpot accumulates by taking a small percent of all previous, losing wagers on the progressive slot. As the jackpot grows, it can reach incredibly large sums of money. Once a slot player wagers the required amount (usually the max bet) and lands on the necessary slot symbol sequence for the progressive jackpot bonus, they will trigger the win and the jackpot resets again.