Progressive Slots

Progressive slot jackpots get bigger and bigger each time you play, so it's no surprise online casino players flock to them for the chance to win big. Check out Online Casino Gems for a huge selection of the most valuable progressive slots out there today! We’ll also walk you through the basics of progressive slots, show you how they differ from regular jackpots, and share strategies to help you increase your odds of winning.
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How to Play Progressive Slots

In today’s casino, whether online or land-based, there are slot machines that remind us all of our old favourite one-armed bandits, and then there are progressive slot machines. Progressive slots look just the same but they have a storied place in casino lore, because progressive slots are the millionaire-makers. A lucky spin on a progressive slot machine can result in a life-changing windfall of cash. We’re talking about French Riviera, first-class jet, private-island kind of money. Who could resist that?

The dark side of this fact is that progressive slots can equally be a Bermuda Triangle for cash, money pits where bankrolls disappear, never to be seen or heard from again.

Want to make big plays with a chance of winning big? By all means give progressive slots a spin. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into and avoid the common mistakes made by slots players.

What are Progressive Slots?

Indeed, what are they?

Well, in brief, Progressive slots are a form of slot machine that operate on a simple principle—the more people bet on that particular slot game, the higher the jackpot gets. The game typically advertises the current jackpot, so you know what you stand to win on a lucky spin. 

Of course, not every penny bet on the slot game adds to the jackpot. The house keeps a percentage of the bets as its house edge. Needless to say, however, depending on how many people bet on the machine, the jackpot can range from mildly respectable to massive. It’s possible to be a big winner on any slot these days, but with progressives, it’s sometimes an exponential win. If you’re lucky, of course. 

Progressive slots come in three basic flavors of escalating excitement …

Standalone Progressive Jackpots

This version of the progressive jackpot dates back to mechanical slot machines, which would pay out a jackpot of coins that had been deposited into it by other players (with the machine keeping some of them, of course).

The jackpots on standalone progressive slots tend to be rather small, as you can imagine. However, if enough time goes by without a win, they can be one of the most enticing payouts on the floor. Jackpots on standalone progressive slots range in the hundreds--or perhaps thousands--of pounds.

Local Progressive Jackpots

With the magic of electronic networks came the existence of local progressive jackpots. With a local progressive slot game, bets placed on a networked series of slots all being fed into the same jackpot. In other words, winning on one of these machines could reap a jackpot that’s been fed by multiple machines in a casino.

With the aggregating jackpot potential multiplied, prize values start to get truly enticing. Local progressive jackpots again start to push into the thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Wide-Area-Network Progressive Jackpots

Wide area networks have even further exploded the progressive jackpot game. Video slots in multiple casinos, scattered across regions, countries, even the entire world, could accept bets that all feed into the same jackpot. Wide-area-network jackpots were also custom-made for video slots played at online casinos, which licensed slot games from software companies that also license them to many other casinos, with a worldwide player base.

Here’s where progressive slot jackpots get really jaw-dropping. Wide-area-network progressive jackpots can range from the tens of thousands of pounds, all the way up into the millions. And while it’s extremely hard to affect the outcome of slots--it’s a game of chance, just that--some players do load themselves with tips to increase their chances of not coming out broke. These tips apply whether we’re talking regular slots or progressives, but probably even more so with the progressives since you need to know when to stop chasing that elusive big-win dream.

Progressive Slots vs. Regular Slots: What’s the Difference?

In many ways, progressive slots are similar to non-progressive slots. Progressive video slots have a number of reels—usually five—with symbols that line up to form a payline or multiple paylines. The main difference is that a portion of each bet contributes to the jackpot. With regular slot machines, the maximum winnings are set by the game developer.

Yes, there’s a chance to win big. A wide-area-network progressive jackpot of millions of pounds could be impossible to resist. 

Remember, though, that casinos don’t stay in business by losing money. The house always wins, and there is always a “house edge.” While every bet contributes to the jackpot, it isn’t the whole bet. The casino keeps a portion of each bet.

Moreover, the bigger the jackpot, the more losers there have to be compared to winners to maintain the house edge. Strictly speaking, if you play progressive slots, you are more likely to lose money than you are to win money. 

Why Should I Play Progressive Jackpot Slots?

If you are more likely to lose than you are to win, should you even play progressive slots? It’s a fair question, and it cuts to the heart of “Why gamble at all?”

The truth is, you are always more likely to lose money at casino gambling than you are to win money. If you are looking for money-making propositions, gambling, including slots, is not your best bet. Some skill and strategy can be applied to betting systems or bankroll management, but gambling, by definition, is a bet on a game of chance where you have little or no control of the outcome on a minute-by-minute basis.

Gamblers make a hobby out of it for different reasons than making money. They enjoy the thrill of the wager, giving over control to Lady Luck. Some people don’t believe they deserve as much money as they are willing to bet, and as such they only bet what they are willing to lose. In this sense, progressive slots with their low winning percentage are as good as any game of chance. The difference is that without small wins in the interim, you are likely to get fewer spins before your bankroll is depleted entirely. You should play progressive slots if you don’t care about stretching your gaming session as long as possible. … unless you win. Part of the thrill of progressive slots is the fact that when you win, you win big. With every spin of a progressive slot game, especially a wide-area-network slot machine, you have the chance to win tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of pounds.

That’s the allure. The attraction to betting big, with the chance of winning big. A wide-area-network progressive slots jackpot can be a life-altering sum of money. Why not go for the gold?

One of the fun parts of video slot games is that each one is unique. There’s no better reason to play a slot machine than the fact that you might find the gameplay, the graphics, the bonus rounds fun and engaging. If you fall for a progressive slot game, there’s no better reason than that to choose it for your gambling pleasure.  

Where Can I Play Progressive Slots?

Progressive slots can be found anywhere slot machines are popular. Since slot machines comprise 70% of casino revenue, this means they can be found in just about any casino, either land-based or online. Just look for casinos and slot games that advertise their progressive jackpots. The big jackpot is the selling point, of course. They don’t hide it.

Online casinos are especially fertile ground for wide-area-network progressive slots, because the nature of the internet allows these games to draw upon a global player base, leading to some truly epic payouts.

Many major game developers offer progressive slot games, including Betsoft, Microgaming, and NetEnt. Titles include Hall of the Gods, Mega Fortune, The Dark Knight, Mega Moolah, and King Cashalot. Many of these jackpots push into the millions of pounds at their peak.

How to Play and Win at Progressive Slots - Top Tips

It’s hard to make a strategy to win at progressive slots, because these are extremely volatile by their nature. They will fail to pay out for spin after spin after spin, then pay out several jackpots in rapid succession (though the first jackpot is the one you want).

The best you can usually do with a progressive slot game is manage your bankroll well as outlined in our tip links earlier. The more spins you get, the more of a chance you have to luck into a big win. 

Here are the best tips available to give yourself the best chance to win a progressive slots jackpot …

Make Sure You Qualify for the Jackpot

Wouldn’t it be terrible to land a payline that you think entitles you to a seven-figure jackpot … only to discover that you don’t qualify for it?

The sad fact of many progressive slot games is that there are often extra hoops to jump through before you qualify for that big jackpot. You might have to make a side bet, or bet on every payline. These things can all deplete your bankroll quicker … but that’s the idea. Remember, the house always wins.

Weigh that against the sinking feeling of scoring a lucky payline but failing to get the big jackpot. Do you really want to risk it? Read the fine print of every progressive slot game you play. Make sure you take every step necessary to ensure the biggest jackpot possible from your spin. Why else are you even playing the progressive slot game? 

Decide How Much Money You Are Willing to Part With

In many ways, gambling is the art of letting go. Some players see it as a zen act—the more you are willing to let go of this precious asset that everyone clings to, the more worthy of that asset you are. 

As we keep harping on, gambling is meant to be fun. Some people treat it as a business proposition, but this is simply not tenable for the majority of people, especially for a game like video slots where the house edge comes baked deep into the cake. You win just enough to keep you hooked, but lose just enough so that the casino makes a profit and wishes you better luck next time.

This effect is even more pronounced with progressive slots, where the wins are life-changing, but few and far between.

Therefore, we repeatedly recommend to only bet money you are willing to lose, on every casino game but especially progressive slots. The point is to enjoy the thrill of the possibility of winning big. If winning big makes the difference between affording your electricity bill and the lights turning off, progressive slots are not your game. 

Calculate Your Bankroll

Again, progressive slots are volatile. It is impossible to tell if a win is coming or not. Some slot players try to track when a machine is “hot” or “cold” at a land-based casino, noticing whether players are excited or frustrated and scheming exactly when to take over that machine to catch a hot streak. However, it takes a ‘special’ kind of person to hang around furtively, spying on someone else’s misfortune while sporting a disinterested poker face… some might even call it cruel to stand by and take glee from the big-time failure of whoever’s playing!   

This strategy, which has never been proven anyway, does not apply to progressive slots, and it really does not apply to online progressive slots, where you can’t notice a hot streak because you aren’t actually in a casino anyway. You could call this losers’ revenge...

Mathematically speaking, though, the longer you can play at progressive slots, the more chances you have of scoring the big jackpot. That’s why bankroll management is so critical. 

The first step to bankroll management is to think of your bankroll not in terms of money, but of time. You have already determined how much money you are willing to lose. So, how much time are you willing to devote to progressive slots?

Players tend to lose between 300 and 350 units per hour playing progressive slots. That means that if you expect to spend three hours on your progressive slots session, you should show up with a bankroll of at least 1000 units. You might not win, but to show up with less might result in a session that ends prematurely.

Consider a Stop-Loss Plan

You should only gamble with money you are willing to lose, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose all of it. Many gamblers set a “stop-loss” limit to create a buffer in case it just isn’t your night. 

This can be especially important when playing progressive slots. The big wins are just so infrequent that you can never know for sure if your lucky break is around the corner. It could be. Odds are better that it isn’t, so it’s probably best to leave all your big excitement and adrenaline for the craps table.

So regardless of how much money you are willing to bet, consider setting an amount of your bankroll—say, half of it—that you are willing to lose. Once you lose that amount, it’s time to cut your losses and call it a day. Remember, the point was the chance of a big win, not the win itself.


In some ways, progressive slots are the Moby Dick of the gambling world. You can chase that white whale all the way to a gambling problem! Hence, why it’s also important to choose a really ethical and responsible casino--do your research to find a casino that has good reviews for its self-exclusion program for problem gamblers, or you could get caught. 

Still, with clear eyes and sensible betting strategies, progressive slots can be a thrilling experience. You probably won’t win … but if and when you do, you’re rich! It’s a safe bet that progressive slots will retain their strong position in casinos throughout 2020 and beyond.