Progressive jackpot slot games are always a major lure for any online casino players. The potential to win thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds worth of prizes is undoubtedly not to be sniffed at. However, like most casino games, progressive jackpot slots now come in a myriad of platforms and formats. Which is ideally suited to your taste, and which offer the best chances of landing a cash prize?
In this article, we look at how to win progressive jackpots when playing slots at online casinos. Let’s start with the obvious – winning a progressive jackpot by bagging symbols on a payline.
On the Line
Matching five symbols on a payline is the standard way to bag a big prize on any non-progressive slot game. However, this can often be the method of landing a progressive jackpot on a slot game. It is also arguably the most challenging way to go about it. Things become even more difficult if you must land those wins on a specific payline, and bets can become mighty expensive if you must wager the maximum stake to bag a progressive prize. Older progressive jackpot slots tend to favour this approach, with the method of landing a top prize slowly being phased out in most mainstream developers’ jackpot slots of late.
The most common method of dishing out progressive jackpot prizes in modern slots is to award them randomly. Any of the major Microgaming or Playtech slots will likely feature randomly triggered progressive prizes. Some of the games with randomly triggered jackpots will dish out a progressive prize immediately, others – particularly those with several progressive prizes to be won – may require you to go through a randomly triggered bonus round which may or may not see you scoop a big win at the end. More on progressive bonuses in a moment, but first let’s look at community jackpots.
Community jackpots can be random, or they can be won by players who reach specific objectives. The best thing about these progressive slots is that they won’t just pay out a big win to a player, but to several. The player who hits the jackpot will naturally receive the lion’s share (at least 50% of it, perhaps more) but whatever is left is then dished out to other players. In this way, you can pocket a share of a major jackpot prize without having won it yourself.
Ordinarily, there will be requirements which casino site players are meant to reach to win a share of the prize. These can be as simple as having played the slot in question within 24 hours of another playing winning the prize, or perhaps having spent a certain amount on wagers.
Some community jackpots are also time-based, which means that if the top prize isn’t won within a specific time-frame, all players (who have met requirements such as those listed above) will win an equal share of the prize pot. Either way, just because you haven’t won the jackpot, doesn’t mean you won’t get a share of the spoils.
Now, back to progressive jackpot prizes which are triggered via bonus round. The triggering of a jackpot bonus round could be at random (as mentioned above), or it could occur when scatters appear anywhere on the screen, or bonus icons appear on designated reels. Once a jackpot bonus begins, it could go one of many ways. Again, not all jackpot bonus rounds are guaranteed to pay out a progressive prize. Some offer you the chance to win a jackpot, but if you fail to reach the objectives, you may end up with a consolation prize instead.
Money Wheel Jackpot Bonus
The type of jackpot bonus you get to play varies from slot to slot. One of the most commonly offered sorts is a money wheel bonus. With a money wheel bonus, several progressive jackpots will likely appear on a wheel (which may or may not have consolation prizes on it, too). That wheel is then spun, and wherever the pointer lands will denote what progressive jackpot (if any) has been won.
Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is an excellent example of a money wheel bonus mentioned above. Another type of wheel bonus stars in NetEnt’s Mega Fortune. In this game, players must work their way through three wheels, by landing arrow icons until they bag either a jackpot win or a consolation prize.
Click and Win Jackpot Bonus
Another popular method of delivering big wins is the click and win bonus. In these types of jackpot bonuses, players are permitted to click on a window of boxes or symbols, and they are looking to match three identical symbols or cash figures. Again, it is possible to land consolation prizes instead of jackpot prizes, as in NetEnt’s Hall of Gods slot, or just walk away with a guaranteed jackpot prize, as in many of Playtech’s DC Universe superhero-themed slots, such as Justice League.
Instant Win Jackpot Bonus
The instant win jackpot bonus is often played as a mini-game. In a horse racing slot, for instance, players will be invited to bag a racehorse, and if that horse finishes a race in first place, they will win a progressive prize. In a boxing-themed slot, the instant win mini-game is likely to be a fight. Back the right boxer and you can win, but back the wrong one, and yes, you guessed it, it is consolation prize time.
Mini-Slot Jackpot Bonus
A far less common method of landing progressive jackpots is via a mini-reels or mini-slot game. This will also be a bonus round, although one which may feature just 3 reels and offer classic slot gameplay. Players would then need to bag another winning combo to pocket a prize. Alternatively, a mini-slot bonus could provide a full set of reels, but with just jackpot paying icons on them. Players would need to collect X number of specific symbols to land a win. Both progressives are rare to find as players never really warmed to them.
We have covered randomly-triggered progressives, community jackpots and progressive prizes which are won via bonus rounds – there is only major type of jackpot slot left: ones triggered via lotteries.
These types of slots will typically dish out a ticket number to players who achieve certain objectives. Every day, week or month, a lottery will be held. If the player’s number comes up, they will win a progressive prize. This method was trialled with The Love Boat slot. Playtech have used a similar system in their old slots, known as Dollar Ball Progressives. With these types of jackpots, players could pay an extra $1 per spin and get a crack at a one-off lottery game. If they landed the matching numbers, they would win a jackpot prize. Dollar Ball Progressives are now all but extinct, as they technically constitute an unpopular second game (or a side-bet) within the main slot. Players who want to place such bets may as well just play a regular lottery game.
There are, of course, other ways in which progressive jackpot slot prizes can be won, but these are few and far between. Most of the major jackpot slots out there on the net will have progressive jackpot cash prizes which can be won in one of the methods described above. So, which is for you?
Ultimately, it is up to players to decide for themselves which type of progressive suits their needs. Some can be worth millions of pounds, others mere hundreds. Some are cheap to play, others expensive. What we can say is that playing a progressive slot which requires matching symbols to appear on a specific line is likely to be more difficult and costly to play than a randomly triggered jackpot. Therefore, the latter are more popular nowadays.
Before playing any progressive, players are advised to look at the stats surrounding a game. When was it last won? What is the pot’s value now, and how often does the slot typically pay out? These can give you an indication if a progressive jackpot slot is currently worth playing.