How Often Do Progressive Slots Really Pay Out?

  • Discover how progressive jackpots work and when they pay out
  • What are your chances of winning big with a progressive slot jackpot?

Progressive jackpots have become increasingly popular, both in land-based casinos and online. The enticement of scooping thousands or even millions in a juicy jackpot is alluring, but what are the odds of this happening to you?

Progressive jackpot
It’s fair to say that a big jackpot is enticing, but what are your chances of picking up the top prize online? 

If you were to plug away at a progressive slot, how long would it take till it could be coaxed into paying out the big one?

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Progressive jackpots work by taking a proportion of each bet wagered and adding it to the jackpot amount. This is generally taken from multiple slots at the same time, so lots of players can be on the same game at the same time – even at different casinos – and will all be contributing to the same jackpot.

Many casinos and developers can even take this a step further and link the jackpots across multiple titles. For example, all Marvel slots are linked, so whether you’re playing Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers or any other Marvel title, you’ll be playing for the same combined progressive jackpot.

This sort of system can lead to some truly eye-watering jackpot amounts on offer (the highest record was €17.4m or £13.6m) but as you might have guessed, it does make the chances of winning lower.

How do you win?

Well, it can vary but scooping the top prize is not much different to normal casino games or slot machines. There can be random awards, which can happen on any spin, or it can follow the usual symbol combinations or bonus round awards for the game.

For those looking for a magic system or strategy though, sadly you’re out of luck. An important thing to keep in mind with progressive jackpots is that they don’t become ‘due’. No matter how big the jackpot, the chances are winning are still ridiculously small.

It’s possible to work out the ‘breakeven point’ – the point where the jackpot has grown so big that you’re now at an advantage for every bet you make. The odds are in your favour that each bet will be profitable but that doesn’t mean you’ll win the jackpot. We’re talking similar odds to winning the lottery here, even if you do get more chances than one ticket a week.

Progressives payout
Chasing the big win? Unfortunately there’s no strategy that’ll maximise your chances. However, it’s worth knowing as much as you can about the game you’re playing and seeing if you can calculate the odds

The only other advice we can give is to learn how to play that particular game and make sure you’re aware of the minimum qualifying bet required. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having the winning combination come up, only to realise that you only bet four credits and the minimum for the jackpot was five.

Do progressive slots really pay out?

Realistically, how often do progressive jackpots pay out? What odds are we talking? Well, Megabucks is one of the most popular progressive slots on the market with jackpots ranging from $10 million upwards, but the odds of winning one of these life-changing amounts has been estimated at 1 in 50 million.

Other favourites include online giant Mega Moolah, which offers one of the highest online jackpots, regularly going over $1 million, as well as Mega Fortune and the Dark Knight Rises.

If you’re a maths wonk then there is a rough way to work out the odds of winning, based on the number of reels, symbols, and how the jackpot is triggered. For example, for a 5-reel board with 20 symbols altogether, one jackpot symbol and the progressive jackpot being won by lining up all the jackpot symbols, the odds would be 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 which equals a 1 in 3,200,000 chance of winning.

Progressive jackpots can offer an extra level of excitement to your gameplay, but don’t forget that you often need to bet high and long to stand a decent chance of winning. Good luck and don’t let those odds stop you from dreaming big.

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