Entertainment Developer

Learn About and Play Progressive Jackpot Games at Online Casinos

Posted On: Feb. 2, 2013

Ever wonder how those online slots winners end up claiming jackpots that reach $1 million or more? Regular slots simply don't get to that size. It takes something called a progressive jackpot to turn into a life-changing amount. Progressive jackpots leverage the power of many players, many games and sometimes many casinos to build to amounts that a single game can't reach. Players do sacrifice in some other ways as a result, but many are willing to overlook those factors in order to chase the big money.

Progressive games work by taking small amounts from each wager to contribute to the progressive jackpot. On slots, which are the most common type of progressive game, this amount would otherwise go toward other payouts or smaller jackpots. Thus, playing a slot machine of a particular denomination with a progressive jackpot will usually yield less play time than an identical machine without the progressive feature. That's a factor that is definitely worth keeping in mind.

Games with progressive features can be local, meaning they only build off of wagers made at that particular game, or linked. The latter type can pool money from games in one casino or even group together games from multiple casinos. These wide-area or network progressives are the ones that generally build until they reach seven-digit totals. They're also very hard to win; a good rule of thumb is that the larger the progressive jackpot can get, the more difficult it is to win. After they are hit, progressive jackpots have seed or reset values so they don't have to start all the way back at zero. This prevents someone from hitting a progressive for $5, which would make the winner very unhappy.

Other than slots, video poker is the next most likely game to have a progressive feature. Progressive table games are also starting to pop up with increasing frequency. For these games, the progressive jackpot is usually funded by a separate side bet that is optional - you don't have to play it, but if you don't, you can't win the jackpot even of the proper conditions are met.