Introduction to progressive slot machines

Progressive slot machines

/ 11 min

Learn how to play the best progressive slot machines from our expert guide. We get you up to date with all the jackpot types and show the proper ways to bet on these slots.

7 Best Progressive Slot Machines to Play in Ireland

Rank Jackpot Slot Machine Current Rounded Value Where to Play
#1 Mega Moolah €10 million PlayOjo Casino
#2 Book of Atem: WowPot €10 million LeoVegas Casino
#3 Jackpot Giant €5 million Paddy Power Games
#4 Mega Fortune €3 million Mr Green Casino
#5 Funky Fruits €2 million Betfair Casino
#6 Arabian Nights €2 million Mr Spin
#7 Major Millions €1 million Spin Casino

How Do Progressive Slots Work?

How Do Progressive Slots Work

  1. The jackpot starts growing once the casino operator or game provider furnishes a baseline amount of money, known as ‘the seed’.
  2. Eligible bets of certain value contribute to the general pot, which continues growing until the jackpot will be paid.
  3. The jackpot resets back to the seed amount and the cycle restarts once it is eventually triggered and paid out.

Can your stake influence the final outcome?

Some progressive slots count the minimum bet as individual chances, so if you place 5 times the lowest spin value, you get 5 chances to trigger the jackpot.

RNG-triggered jackpots

Slots are not created equal, although, under the hood, they rely on similar RNG software to work. Triggering a jackpot prize depends on a randomly generated number, but they all hit differently.

For instance, in Microgaming’s Sisters of Oz, the jackpot consists of a bonus wheel mini-game. But in other slots, it may depend on landing a specific symbol combination or picking the correct symbols on the screen.

How Likely Are You to Win a Progressive Jackpot?

How Likely Are You to Win a Progressive Jackpot

It’s difficult to estimate an Irish player’s odds of winning a jackpot slot prize, because often it’s players from all over the world who play the game simultaneously. The final odds are influenced by the contribution rate and architecture of betting, and it also changes when players can trigger the same jackpot in multiple games.

However, we’re certainly talking about long odds. According to various estimates, you have a better chance of winning the lottery. Statistically, you will guess 6 out of 49 lottery numbers once in 14 million cases, while the average odds of winning a progressive slot jackpot are 1 in 50 million.

To put things in perspective, winning the lottery is 14x less likely than being struck by lightning, which you have a 1 in 1 million chance to live through.

Watch your stakes

If you don’t mind progressive slots’ long odds and wish to play for the big prize despite the risk, keep yourself grounded with session limits.

Bankroll management tips

You can set a separate budget for jackpots. Divide that between your favourite progressive slots.

The 5 largest online progressive slot payouts

Jackpot Record payout Date
Mega Moolah Mega €19,4 million April 27, 2021
Mega Moolah Mega €18,9 million September 28, 2018
Mega Moolah Mega €20 million January 30, 2019
WowPot Mega £15,1 million April 14, 2021
Mega Fortune Mega €17,8 million January 20, 2013

Regular vs Progressive Jackpots

Regular vs Progressive Jackpots

Fixed jackpot slots

If we consider the maximum possible payout, any slot game has its ‘jackpot’. However, fixed jackpot games will only multiply your stake by a predetermined factor, up to the limit specified in its technical sheet.

For instance, the jackpot in Starburst is 500x your stake. As the max bet per spin is €100, the jackpot in Starburst is €100x 500 = €50,000.


Two other fixed jackpot slots besides Starburst made it on Ireland’s top 3 slots. Check our slot reviews to learn how they pay out.

Fixed payout slots pros and cons

A downside of is that, for a lower-valued jackpot, you may need to max out your stake or be highly fortunate to trigger bonus rounds.

On the positive side, regular jackpot slots provide a more consistent Return to Player rate. That may translate into steadier returns and less of your bankroll wasted on dead spins.

Must-hit-by jackpots

You might have encountered the idea of mystery jackpots, but you didn’t know they were called ‘must-hit-by’ slots.

In a way, they’re halfway between the fixed and progressive types. They increase in value only up to a certain point. Here’s how they work:

  1. The pot is ‘seeded’.
  2. An algorithm picks a random point between the seed value and the maximum jackpot.
  3. A player whose bet contributes up to that exact point triggers the jackpot.

Progressive jackpots

As we’ve hinted, progressive slots have an open-ended maximum payout, meaning the pot increases with each eligible spin. But how they accumulate and pay the jackpot depends on whether it’s a local or wide-area progressive. Make sure your bet counts, as it must cross a specific threshold to contribute to the pot in some progressive slots.

Suppose your chosen spins size is lower than the accepted limit. In that case, you will only play the base game and won’t be eligible for the jackpot.

Progressive jackpots

Local progressive slots

A local progressive is an individual slot not connected to other machines but forming a network with others of the same kind within the same casino. The overall pot only grows when Irish players place eligible bets at that casino.

Local progressive slots are also known as standalone or in-house jackpots. It should also be noted that local networks have significantly reduced jackpots compared to their global counterparts.

Global progressive slots

So-called ‘wide area’ progressives connect one or several slot machines into a global network spanning multiple online casinos.

Since a wide area progressive can reach a global audience, its jackpot will be sensibly greater than what you’ll see in an in-house game. At the same time, because it’s played at such a large scale, your odds diminish greatly.

Two scenarios

We have two different scenarios here. First, a progressive slot’s pot is shared among several casinos featuring that game. In that case, players from all casinos participating in the network contribute to the pool.

The second scenario is when multiple slots combine into the same jackpot network across several casinos. Here, any of the qualified slots may trigger the pooled jackpot.

For instance, Microgaming platforms combine into a well-known wide-area jackpot network. Here, Irish players and gamblers all over the globe get to play Mega Moolah and the provider’s additional jackpot slots. Mega Moolah is one of the slots where increasing your bet per spin equals more chances to win the jackpot.

Multi-tiered jackpots

Software providers have found a way to make progressive slots more appealing by adding lower-valued jackpot prizes. Multi-tiered jackpots have become the norm, with most progressives offering up to 4 jackpot levels.

Since they value less, the lower tiers are naturally triggered more frequently, sometimes minutes apart. Conversely, more substantial prizes may drop in weeks or even months.

Jackpot tiers in Mega Moolah
Mega Moolah jackpot tier Seed value
Mini €10
Minor €100
Major €10,000
Mega €1,000,000

Limited-time jackpots

Also known as Daily Drops, limited-time jackpots work just like any other progressive slot, except they payout by a predetermined time. They accumulate with each wager and are guaranteed to be triggered by the chosen hour.

Daily jackpots provider

Red Tiger Gaming is the best software provider for daily jackpots, and an innovator of this slot genre. It is also the fifth-ranked best gambling software provider in Ireland .

Pick and Play the Best Progressive Slot for You

Pick and Play the Best Progressive Slot for You

Follow our short guideline to make the most out of your sessions:

  1. Learn how to play casino slots in order to not lose recklessly at this type of game.
  2. Experiment with higher RTP slots. Thus, you increase your chances of small and moderate returns.
  3. Practice with the daily free spin offers you may receive further, and only then progress to progressive slots.
  4. Remember, the highest-paying jackpots are linked in global networks from trusted software providers like Microgaming or NetEnt.
  5. Keep in mind that multi-million jackpots are also the least likely to drop.
  6. You shouldn’t disregard local and daily jackpots because they present a lower value.
  7. Create a weekly budget for jackpot slots and stick with it. Aid your budgeting with responsible gambling self-limits.

Progressive Jackpot Slots Providers

NetEnt jackpots

Progressive Jackpot Slots Providers

Slot name RTP % Seed value for top tier
Mega Fortune 96% €250,000
Hall of Gods 95% €100,000
Arabian Nights 95% €30,000

The progressive jackpots included in the game catalogues of Netent casino websites may seed at a lower value. Still, they tend to offer high RTP games with several bonus features to compensate.

Thus, your gaming session will not be restricted to waiting for the jackpot to drop but will keep you engaged by other means.

Microgaming jackpot slots

Microgaming jackpot slots

Slot name RTP % Seed value for top tier
Mega Moolah 93.42% €1,000,000
Wow! Pot 92% €2,000,000
Major Millions 89.37% €250,000

Fun fact

Microgaming earned the Guinness World Record title for the highest online jackpot ever paid in 2015. A 26-year-old soldier then triggered the Mega Moolah Jackpot round.

The record stood until 2018, when an anonymous mobile player triggered the Mega Jackpot again, turning her 75p bet into more than £15 million.

Novomatic progressive slot machines

Novomatic progressive slot machines

Suppose you want to get a taste of both local and network jackpot types. In that case, Novomatic casinos have all kinds of progressive slots. To use the provider’s terminology, they have Standalone Progressives (local jackpots) and Linked Progressives (pooled jackpots).

Standalone Progressives

  • Dancing Lantern
  • Book of Ra Mystic Fortunes
  • Dancing Tiger
  • PayDay – Prize of the Nile
  • Pyramid Fortunes
  • Clover Power


The current value of Novomatic’s multi-tiered jackpots is available by accessing the relevant games.

Linked Progressives

  • Star HIT Link – Born to Gamble, Queen of the Night
  • Ultra Boost Link – Grand Eagle, Great American Buffalo, Tiger Storm
  • Enchanted Fortunes Linked Jackpot – Book of Ra Mystic Fortunes, Goddess Rising
  • Sizzling Link – Amber Party, Cats of Egypt
  • Lucky Twist Link – Lucky Twist Matrix: Dynamite Dragon, Lucky Twist Wheel: Money Ki Neko

7 Progressive Slots Myths Debunked

Ditch these 7 gambling fallacies to become a true master of progressive jackpot slots!

7 Progressive Slots Myths Debunked

1. You can win a jackpot with free spins

No, that is impossible. Free spins are not free in the absolute sense since they imply wagering requirements. If casinos allowed winning jackpots with free spins, they would give the entire jackpot amount from their pockets.

2. Slot machines have hot and cold streaks

If progressive slot machines had had discernible hot and cold streaks, they would not be mathematically random. That cannot be the case at a fair casino, which must frequently audit its games’ RNG.

3. Slots are programmed to pay according to a payout cycle

Irish players may believe in payout cycles because they have experienced what seemed to be cyclical winnings in slot machines. Again, that may only happen by accident in an authentically random game.

4. You can figure out when a progressive jackpot will hit

A fail-proof way to trigger a progressive jackpot goes against its very definition. Nobody knows or can know when the big prize will drop.

5. Progressive slots are better than regular slot machines

That depends on your preference. Some would say they’re not necessarily better because the odds are poor, while others would swear by their life-changing potential. Both categories of players can find their favourite at the best Irish slot sites.

6. Online jackpots are not as fair as land-based casino slots

Playing at the best land-based casinos in Dublin can guarantee you a complete fairness of the jackpot slot results. Rest assured as long as you play at a licensed top online casino as well. Our recommended casinos are fully licensed, which grants jackpot fairness, as the UKGC or MGA imposes independent game testing and payout fairness audits.

7. You can only trigger jackpot slots by betting the maximum

The most common misconception about progressive slots is that the max bet craze should be dismissed ASAP.

There are indeed slots in which only betting the maximum will give you a chance to win the progressive jackpot, but that’s just one type. Remember the recent Mega Moolah winner? Their life-changing spin was not even €1.

What’s your take on the most common jackpot slot fallacies?

Let’s have a discussion in the comment section below!


What are progressive slots?

They are slot machines where the top prize grows with each bet placed by competing players.

How can you tell if you're playing a jackpot slot machine?

You should see a counter anywhere at the top of your screen with the current jackpot amount.

What triggers a progressive jackpot?

The jackpot is triggered automatically, at random, by the game's RNG-software. This may appear as a bonus wheel, free spin bonus round or pick-a-prize features.

How can you tell when a jackpot slot machine will hit?

There's no fact-based way to tell, as each spin result is generated randomly. An exception are daily jackpots, which must hit by a predetermined hour.
Cosmin Brehoi
Author Cosmin Brehoi Author & Editor at Casino alpha
Adina Minculescu
Author Adina Minculescu Senior Author & Editor at Casino alpha

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