Progressive Slots at Online Casinos
Progressive slots are arguably the most popular attraction in the online casino world, made so by their potential to deliver life-changing amounts of money. You'd be hard pressed to find an online casino that doesn't offer progressive slots these days. They can be found in both 3-reel and video (5-reel) slot varieties and are popular with both seasoned players and beginners.
There are few things to bear in mind before you sign up and start spinning the reels. There are few game developers out there that are limited to where they can provide their games. For instance, Microgaming is unable to offer real money games to punters in America. So if your account is registered in the United States of America, Microgaming games will not appear to you. It’s worth keeping this in mind when you are signing up.
As an online casino customer, you should have your finger on the pulse of things. Like any industry where you place your hard-earned money, you should know the basics of online casinos, things like software developers, the types of progressive slots available on the market. The pay-rate, RTP's and what is a RNG. These things should be on your mind when you sign up to play. We've put the basics on progressive slots down here for you.
Types of Slot Machines Available:
There are 3 different types of progressive jackpot slot machine games:
Standalone Progressives: These machines are as the name suggests – standalone and therefore not linked to any other machines or casinos. Only bets placed on that particular machine will ‘feed’ the jackpot. Obviously, this makes the jackpots quite small – usually under $10,000. There were at first the only available type of progressive slot machines.
Local Progressives: these were the next generation of progressive jackpots to arrive on the casino scene. Machines within a specific casino linked. This network can include dozens of machines, or depending on the casino – up to a hundred linked machines. All feeding into the one jackpot. Therefore the jackpots are higher than the standalone slots and are generally in the vicinity of $100,000.
Wide Area Network Progressives: these progressives are the most popular. They link slot machines from multiple casinos. This creates accumulative jackpots of staggering amounts, often over $1 million to sometimes over $10 million. These are the most popular of all progressives.
Software Provider of Progressive Slots
The software developers are important for a number of reasons, both in determining if you can play their games in your country of residence/registration (some are restricted in certain countries) and if they have games that appeal to you. Of course, the biggest consideration is the pay rate of their jackpots, which we'll get into a little later.
Here are the big names in progressive jackpot slots.
Microgaming: these guys are a powerhouse in both the progressive jackpot world and generally the online casino world. In fact, it was Microgaming that first brought us online casino software, and they gave us the first ever progressive jackpot slot game: Cash Splash and yes you can still play this retro classic. They've made headlines for offering games with life-changing jackpots. In 2015 they made history with a record-breaking jackpot payout of £13.2 million off the Dark Knight machine. They beat that record in the same year, paying out a massive £14 million off the Mega Moolah machine.
Playtech: is probably Microgaming's biggest rival. It's an Israeli gaming firm that launched in 1999 and has since taken the world by storm. It's well-known for its 3D titles and its lucrative partnership with the Marvel Jackpot series. Which contains a huge range of widely popular titles that are all linked by four (4) progressive jackpots. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 & 3, The Fantastic Four & The Avengers.
NetEnt: is an award-winning Scandinavian software developer. NetEnt is well-known for its interesting features and 3D games. The software company also branched out into branded slots picking up Aliens, which is based off the 1986 sci-fi film. And they also managed to secure a Guns N Roses progressive slot. Interestingly enough NetEnt did hold the world record before 2015, the machine in question – Mega Fortune.
Bally: don't be surprised if you haven't heard about these guys. Being mostly American based it's not really a big name elsewhere, but they do have an interesting history and were instrumental in bringing online casinos to life – hence why we've added them to our list. Bally made history in 1994 by releasing the first-ever touch-screen video slots "Game Master". In 1999 they released Trillions – a progressive that was the biggest progressive slot in America.
IGT (International Gaming Technology): these guys also made history. In 1986 IGT created and launched the worlds first linked progressive jackpot slot machine. Changing the progressive jackpot world forever. They are still one of the oldest and most respected slots developers in the US. And are responsible for some of the biggest slots and online slots in the world. Their game designs and features are still being copied, such as The Da Vinci Diamonds “Tumbling Reels”. And their innovative slots like Siberian Storm with its honeycomb, 720-ways-to-win structure are still pop
How do they Progressive Slots work?
So how to progressive slots work? How do they differ from other slot machines/games? As you may be aware normal jackpots have a fixed amount. Progressive jackpots are different in that they take a tiny percentage of each coin ‘played’ and use that to increase the jackpot.
It’s worth noting here that there’s no system that will increase your chances to win. No matter how large the jackpot it doesn’t and will not become ‘due’. Progressive slot machines work on a RNG (like all other slot games) and the odds of winning the ‘big one’ are comparable to winning the lottery.
Also worth noting here is that you can only win the jackpot if you bet the maximum per spin. Of course, you also need to get the winning combination of symbols. But if you get this combination and haven't bet the maximum you miss out on the jackpot.
RNG: Progressive slot machines are no different to other types of slot machines in that they use the RNG (Random Number Generator). When a slot machines reels start spinning – your fate has already been decided. And there is nothing that you can do. There’s no trick, no system. It is all down to the RNG micro-chip. So what is a RNG?
In slot machines, the RNG is a computer component/micro-chip which not only runs the machine but also makes the winning combination on the reels random. The RNG micro-chip constantly generates numbers even when no one is playing the game.
These numbers are used to determine the position of the reels. The random numbers generated by the RNG corresponds to positions on each of the machine's reels. Players need to know that are not initiating anything, really because the outcome has already been predetermined the moment you hit the spin button. This function is carried out by a special algorithm – a series of instructions used when generating numbers. This is what makes the machine impartial and also ensures its accuracy. Slot machines have no memory. It’s completely unaware of whether you’ve played all day without success or if you’ve just hit the jackpot.
Also, something else to consider is the Hit Frequency. This is the number that shows how often a winning combination will be landed on the machine. The higher the number, the larger the hit frequency. Mathematically speaking the chances of you hitting the slot's jackpot are approximately 27,000 to 1. This doesn't make slot machines with higher hit frequencies always the best to play.
Then there’s the Payback Rate to consider. This reflects the actual payback percentage of the machine. A slot will pay back a certain percentage of all money that has been played into the machine. Normally, the larger the amount of money the larger the payback rate.
Why are we giving you all this information about hit frequencies and payback rates? And what does this information have to do with progressive jackpots? Well, different machines are programmed to have different hit frequencies and payback rates. Which means we can determine machines that have higher and lower hit frequencies. For example, a slot machine with a higher hit frequency is referred to as "loose" and considered more "generous" than others. This, however, means the payback percentage is not very high, because the payouts are generated more often. In plain speak, it means that whilst you might win more often these amounts will be small amounts. This increases the payouts but drops the payback. Think about it will make sense.
At the opposite end, if you have a machine with a lower hit frequency, it's referred to as a "tight" machine and the payback percentage is often higher. Keep in mind that it's better to play a tight slot machine with a lower hit frequency and higher payback percentage because although you won't win as often, the amount you win will be higher.
Conclusion of Progressive Slots:
Progressive jackpot slot machines are enticing and have the capability of changing your life. And that’s something that most people can relate to. There are a few things to keep in mind though, especially in regards to betting the maximum to be eligible. If all of this information just makes you want to get spinning here are a few of the more popular progressive slot machines out there: Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune, Everybody’s Jackpot, Major Millions, Mega Fortune Dreams, Joker Millions, Hall of Gods, Divine Fortune, Fairest of them All, Fruit Bonanza, Treasure Room, Snow Business, Going Nuts and Loot’enkhamun.