The potential of winning a huge amount of money via a slot game was first realised in the 1970s when the micro-chip powered slots started to show up in casinos around Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Soon, the idea of "linking" machines and to create a single progressive fund was born.
Fast-forward 30 years and with the advent of digital technology and the Internet, the boom in online casino gaming took everyone by surprise. Forward-thinking gaming software companies quickly realised that a progressive jackpot game played online, could be a winner.
Plans to come up with the first online progressive game started brewing at the Microgaming headquarters in the early 00's. Early to mid 00's the first Microgaming progressive games were released, including the ever-popular Major Millions, Tunzamunni, and King Cashalot, which you can read about in the games page.
Did you know that Microgaming is the company that created the world's first true online casino way back in 1994? Today, Microgaming operates the world's largest online progressive jackpot network and has already paid out over £574 million to lucky players around the world.1
However, "standard" progressive games such as Major Millions (etc) wasn't enough for Microgaming. The company wanted a progressive slot that would "wow" players with huge jackpots. To do just that, the company was willing to put up one million Pound Sterling of its own money into the jackpot fund. This also meant that when the jackpot was won, the game would not reset to zero, but instead to one million, which is still a lot of money. Clearly this was a stroke of genius!
In December of 2006 Microgaming finally released the Mega Moolah progressive slot game to its affiliated online casinos. The name took an old 1920's American slang word Moolah (also Moola), which means money, and combining that with a Mega-sized jackpot (of one million Pound Sterling), and a fun wild African animal theme. The use of African themes have always proven intriguing to players, as well as always being well-received in both the land based and online environments. Sure enough, it was an instant hit.
How Mega Moolah works
Mega Moolah's focus has been given to the entertainment value of the game; utilising humorous animations and sounds to increase the player's enjoyment, and thereby extending the player experience. It is the first multi-tiered progressive allowing players to win one of four progressives, each of varying amounts.
Mega Moolah has four jackpots that can be won. Mini, Minor, Major and Mega, and the value of these increases in size from tens of pounds, dollars or euros, for the mini jackpot, to over a million guaranteed for the Mega jackpot (and often, much much more). In addition to the one million pounds guaranteed by Microgaming, every wager in the game contributes a tiny seed into a progressive pool (jackpot fund). With tens of thousands of wagers placed on Mega Moolah, around the clock, the progressive pool can grow to staggering heights until a lucky player wins it.
The great feature of the Jackpot Bonus game is that players don't need to trigger it any way special way. Some games require players to align a winning payline, or to get certain symbols to trigger a chance at the progressive prize. In Mega Moolah the progressive prizes can be triggered on any spin, at any time and at any level of wager - though the more you wager per spin the more chance you have of triggering the actual Jackpot Bonus game.
So what separates Mega Moolah from other progressive games is the randomness. This was an incredibly clever move by Microgaming as it meant that any player, anywhere, playing for any stake could conceivably spin the reels and end up a multi-millionaire following the spin.
The Jackpot Bonus itself is a wheel of fortune type of game. It launches randomly and takes over the current game-play and screen. The player then simply spins the wheel and waits for the needle to land on a Mini, Minor, or Major, or the Mega slot. The amount the player wins depends on the current jackpot value, which is then immediately deposited into the player's account. When the Jackpot Bonus game ends the player is taken back to the 'base game' where they can wait for their next opportunity at the jackpot wheel. Another amazing fact is that a win is always guaranteed as there are no "blank" slots on the wheel.
The early days of Mega Moolah
After its release back in 2006, it didn't take long for Mega Moolah to enjoy a good deal of popularity at the casinos. Soon Microgaming released more Mega Moolah themes and even other games allowed players the chance to win one of the four progressive prize funds. There are the Egyptian, Summer and American Mega Moolah themes that are still available, and there have been a two other games linked to the jackpot. The Lord of the Rings and the Dark Knight, which are no longer available.
The first year and half of life saw Mega Moolah attract plenty of players. But as the months rolled on without a winner it seemed that perhaps this was a game that wasn't destined to succeed as players wanted to see someone win to prove it could be done. The progressive jackpot had climbed steadily from December 2006 to April 2008, from one million to five and a half million, without any wins along the way.
Then in April 2008 the first big Mega Moolah jackpot of US$5.5 million was won!
Big Mega Moolah winners
The first of the really big winners (by that we mean any player that has landed in excess of five million in a main currency) was also the first ever winner of the Mega Moolah jackpot. A man known as Klaus from Finland, took home a massive US$5.5m prize to prove that Mega Moolah could change your life in an instant. Klaus was flown to Australia to celebrate the big win and photos of him holding the big fat cheque in front of the Sydney Opera House spread around the internet.
Klaus was big news throughout the gaming community and his victory saw Mega Moolah really take off in popularity. Fans didn't have to wait long because 13 months later the second big winner was crowned. This time a player known as Georgios from Greece landed an even bigger prize of 6.3€ million. The Mega Moolah legend had now been truly born.
Over the coming years as an increasing number of players played the game, a number of smaller prizes were handed out to several players and it took until December 2012 for the next big winner to be crowned when John from the U.K. landed £5.8 million.
Over the next few years there were more winners but none approached the previous big wins until a Canadian player in April 2015 landed a huge CA$7.5 million prize, however even that win would pale compared to what happened in October of that year.
It was then when Mega Moolah broke the Guinness World Record for the highest ever payout for an online slot when Jonathon from the U.K. won the record of £13.2 million. By now, Mega Moolah had reached fever pitch with millions of more players playing and billions of more spins meaning the progressive funds were growing at an even faster rate.
An anonymous player won 6.9€ million in April this year, followed by a player named Rawiri from New Zealand who won over NZ$10 million, and then in August 2016, a new world record for a mobile casino payout was set when a player named D.P. won 7.9€ million playing from her iPad. Read more about the winners on the Winners page.
The future of Mega Moolah
With the game showing no signs of losing popularity with fans, indeed there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the game is increasing in popularity and has also found a new generation of mobile casino players. When Mega Moolah mobile was launched in 2012 it was an instant hit. Now with new upgrades the game is outstanding on smartphones and tablets. It is no wonder more and more players are choosing to play Mega Moolah on mobile devices.
What is absolutely certain is that with more players playing the game and with more money being contributed to the progressive fund over a shorter amount of time, the jackpots on offer will rise more quickly and that the record holders of the biggest prizes outlined above, may not hold that position for too much longer.
And who knows, maybe you could be the next lucky Mega Moolah progressive jackpot millionaire winner!
1) Microgaming, Our Story http://www.microgaming.co.uk/our-story
Byline: This article was published by Henry.
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