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What Are Progressive Slots? Explained

Slot games come in an incredible number of varieties now. Thousands of different versions of slots exist, with many different themes and variations in terms of gameplay. Slots have come a long way since the early, mechanical versions that required players to match up reels by spinning them manually. Code is at the heart of slots now and this makes it easier to incorporate many other features including progressive jackpots. What are these, though? How do they work, and why do players tend to play progressive jackpot slots?

Progressive Slots ExplainedWhat is a Progressive Jackpot Slot?

Browsing online slots, it won’t take long for somebody to come across the term “progressive jackpot” but they may not fully understand what it means or what this entails. Progressive jackpot slots played online are usually those with periodic jackpot payouts that grow until somebody wins the top prize. Players may see that the jackpot goes up day by day, or even hour by hour, as there is gradually more put into a sort of “pot” that eventually pays out.

Progressive slots are usually advertised accordingly, so players will see when they are searching for slot games whether or not there is a progressive jackpot on offer. Most slots still have fixed jackpots but progressive are in no way uncommon.

Progressive jackpots are often considered a digital-age thing, and though they’ve been made more popular by the technology driving online casinos they do date back to the 1980s. Played on physical machines back then, there would often be a meter in the casino that allowed players to see how high the jackpot was getting. Digital gaming has changed this, and it also means some of the jackpots may grow quicker as more players are involved.

How Progressive Jackpots Work

Firstly, progressive jackpots work in different ways depending on which game you’re playing. Developers have their own ways of doing things, some use programming languages such as Python, others use HTML5, and they all have slight tweaks in the gameplay, too.

Usually, the games work by taking a fraction of all of the money staked and putting it into a pot, a little like a sweepstake. Criterion then needs to be met to trigger the payout. If somebody gets the payout then the whole pot (usually) gets paid out. Jackpots can be ongoing, so they build and build until the payout, or they can potentially be daily or weekly, meaning the payout triggers once a day or even once a week.

Randomness is a key element of online slot games, and this means that when the progressive jackpots pay out is usually exactly that; random. The value that the jackpot has reached will not be a fixed amount, and though players can check where that jackpot currently sits while they play, it doesn’t mean that there is a guaranteed jackpot. Some other slot games always pay out the same depending on what outcome players get, so if they get the jackpot symbols and fit the criteria they will always know what is going to be paid. Like always, there are no guarantees.

Slot Themes and Progressive Payouts

Slot themes are a matter of some interest, as there are so many new slots launched all the time, many of which have specific themes and some of them get pretty abstract. Mexican food is even a theme we’re seeing more and more in the industry! However, certain types of slot themes may be more common in the progressive jackpot niche.

Ancient slots are always popular, and themes including civilizations like Ancient Rome, the Aztecs, and more can be seen with progressive jackpots. Slots like these tend to have interesting imagery and it is easy to see why a lot of people are interested in them and play the games. Ancient civilizations are pretty popular among all forms of gaming including PC and console games, too.

Themes and progressive jackpots aren’t intrinsically linked, so you can see slots with different characters, graphics, and ideas that have progressive jackpots.

Standard Vs Progressive Jackpots

We’ve already outlined the main differences in terms of the mechanics, but what should players consider when they are choosing a game to play? Ultimately, personal preference is the only consideration, and these games are intended for entertainment, so choosing one that has an interesting theme or mechanics is the best way for players to go about things. Progressive jackpot slot games are just another choice for people.


Progressive jackpots have a different way of calculating and distributing the jackpot, and the progressive slots may even pay out in addition to the existing jackpot if somebody triggers a win. Both provide different options for players, but there isn’t one specific way to play, and those who want to should consider casino games based on their own interests and wants.

Author: Leo Wilson
My name is Leo and I am a contributing author at Casino Gorilla. Over the years, I have developed a love for online gaming. I have spent many hours sitting in land casinos and traveling to different venues. The first time I gambled online, it was love at first spin and I haven’t looked back since.
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