How do progressive jackpots grow?

There is one thing that everyone understands about Progressive Jackpots and that is that they would very much like to win one, preferably the Mega Moolah top progressive jackpot prize.

What is less well understood about progressive jackpots is how exactly they grow, what starts the progressive jackpot fund off when it is won in full, how are different progressive jackpot amounts calculated in different currencies around the world and finally how do games with multiple progressive jackpot amounts work?

In this article, we are going to take a look at some of Microgaming's most popular progressive jackpot games and explore these questions in full, giving you the answers so you know everything you will need to know about playing these hugely popular games at your chosen online casino.

Let's begin with the basic first of all, by defining what a progressive jackpot is and how it is different to a standard slot game jackpot.

  • What is a progressive jackpot?

Everyone knows that on a standard slot or game, the jackpot is the largest amount of money that can be won while playing the game. On most slots or games, this is a fixed amount and can either be a stated cash value (say $10,000) or it may also be a value stated in coins (10,000 coins).

When it is the latter, the single coin value the player has elected to play will determine the cash value of the jackpot win. So if a player wins the 10,000 coin jackpot on a slot and is playing at 0.01 per coin, then that win amounts to 100 in your local currency. However, if you are playing at 1.00 per coin, then that win would be 10,000 in your local currency.

A progressive jackpot is different in that it is a jackpot that can increase in value (sometimes indefinitely) with every wager made by a player using real money on that game. There is usually no upper limit to the value a progressive jackpot can reach and it can be triggered by any player, at any time while playing the game (provided they meet the criteria to qualify for the progressive jackpot when playing).

  • How do progressive jackpots start and then increase in value?

We're going to use Microgaming as an example here as their progressive games are among the most popular and most played progressives in the world today. When starting a progressive jackpot game from scratch the developer will seed that game with a stated amount of money. How much that is, depend on the game. For some slots this may be just a couple of thousand, for others it could be tens or even hundreds of thousands. In the case of the Mega Moolah progressive, it is 1,000,000.00.

This initial amount of money is known as the 'seed' amount and it is used every time a player wins the progressive jackpot in full on a particular game. So if a player wins the Mega Moolah jackpot in British Pounds and leaves the fund on zero, Microgaming immediately seed the slot at £1,000,000.00 once again to ensure that there is always plenty to play for.

With every real money spin on a progressive slot, a small proportion of your wager is added to the progressive jackpot fund. This is how the jackpot increases as all these small contributions accumulate over time from all the myriad of players playing the slot.

In some progressive games (particularly Poker or Video Poker or Roulette progressives) a player makes a side bet alongside their standard bet which can qualify them for the progressive jackpot prize. This side bet is added to the progressive jackpot fund if it is not won.

  • I saw a progressive jackpot won on the Mega Moolah slot when it reached 10,000,000.00, but when the game started after that win, there was more than the 1,000,000.00 in the fund to be won. How can that happen if the player wins 10,000,000.00?

One of the main issues facing developers is how they offer the same progressive prize to players playing in different countries using different currencies, which may but most likely will not correspond to the standard currency used on the Mega Moolah slot (which is British Pounds).

Rather than have a changing progressive prize for players based on where they are, Microgaming adopted a simpler approach. Players play in their local currency and the jackpot stated is still shown in British Pounds. However, if they trigger a jackpot win in their local currency, then they are paid the progressive jackpot amount in their local currency.

So this means, that if the Mega Moolah jackpot is £10,000,000.00 in British Pounds, and a Canadian player wins a 10,000,000 prize, they will receive their prize as CA$10,000,000.00.

However, as you will know, CA$10,000,000.00 does not equate to the same amount of money as £10,000,000.00. In fact, a prize of CA$10,000,000.00 equates to (as of the exchange rate today) £5,747,768.00 in British pounds.

This is why you will often see a player win a big prize, but then the jackpot fund does not reset back to the £1,000,000.00 initial seed amount. In the example above, when the jackpot is triggered, the progressive jackpot would revert back to around £4,252,232.00.

It is only when British players win the Mega Moolah jackpot that the full amount in British Pounds is paid out and then Microgaming will seed the progressive with a £1,000,000.00 prize.

  • Isn't this unfair on players playing outside of the UK as they win a less amount?

No, because when a player plays outside the UK, their 0.25 bet is proportionally smaller than a player making a 0.25 bet in the UK, so both players win proportionally the same amount of money from the jackpot prize fund based on the size of their bet.

A Canadian playing for CA$0.25 per spin is paying the equivalent of £0.14 per spin, hence their progressive jackpot payout will also be proportionally smaller.

  • How do games like Mega Moolah, which has four progressive jackpots to win, work?

The explanation above for how a progressive jackpot work still applies to games that have more than one progressive jackpot fund, although in some cases, slots may devote more of the standard bet a player makes each time to the progressive fund if they have multiple progressive jackpots available.

In Mega Moolah, a larger than usual amount of the players wager is used for their progressive jackpots and it is then spread between the four progressive jackpot funds. Each of these funds has a minimum seed amount as defined by Microgaming and the players contributions merely add to this.

It is also worth noting that it is much easier to win the smaller jackpot prizes, the Mini and Minor, than it is the two much higher value progressives, Major and Mega.

  • Can progressives be won at any time, or are there hot and cold periods between wins?

Sites that proclaim a progressive is hot and cold are using averages to calculate when a slot is likely to pay out and when it isn't however they are not accurate ways of determining when a slot will trigger a progressive jackpot pay out.

Progressives can be won at any time on any spin regardless of how large the progressive jackpot is, how much you are spending on the slot, how much you have spent on the slot and how long it was since the last win on the game.

Armed with this knowledge you can now head off to enjoy some of the best progressive slot games available with Microgaming.

Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.

Next article: What does the future hold for Progressive Jackpot Games?