Progressive slots are very tempting for online casino players and land-based slots players alike, and count for some of the largest and best-known slots games on the market today. They are fast-paced, visually exciting, and offer massive jackpots, with some famous examples in recent years of winners scooping multi-million dollar top prizes.
The huge jackpots in progressive slots games come from a pot created as approximately 2% of all the money staked by players in a single game. Originally, in the 1970s and 80s, when new technology allowed video slots machines to be linked together for the first time, this meant that all the machines on one casino floor could be linked, generating a far bigger jackpot than was possible for any single machine. Today, online casinos can link thousands or even tens of thousands of individual players together, and that 2% of money staked on every spin quickly climbs to create huge jackpots… but the actual odds of scooping one are very small indeed.
It’s possible to work out a rough idea of the odds of hitting a jackpot on any progressive slots game by looking at how the game functions. If a game has five reels, each with twenty stops, where only one stop is a jackpot symbol, and the jackpot is won by a single payline, then the probability of winning is 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20, which comes to around a 1 in 3,200,000 chance of scooping the progressive jackpot.
Odds on classic slots tend to be much better, but of course not every progressive slots game is the same, and factors such as multiple paylines will affect odds. In other progressive jackpot games such as video poker, which generally pays out on a royal flush, a progressive jackpot might be hit once every 650,000 hands on average. As the progressive jackpots are more frequent, the amounts are lower, but still impressive and—as with every aspect of casino games—it’s not entirely about the chances of winning the jackpot.
Even if the odds on a progressive slots jackpot are very slim, developers usually ensure there are plenty of other things to entertain players, from bonus rounds and free spins to smaller prizes, meaning progressive slots are likely to remain an alluring draw for many players, and not just the lucky few who scoop the massive jackpots
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