The 411 on Progressive Slot Machines

Progressive slot machines are a product of the computer age. Why? Because progressive slots are networked, meaning several machines are linked together. A percentage of the money played in each slot machine goes toward a jackpot that can grow to a sizeable amount. A progressive slot machine can be stand alone, meaning its jackpot continues to grow but it is not networked to other machines. Other progressive slots are networked to other machines in the casino, and in some cases, to progressives linked to slot machines in other casinos. The jackpot grows until somebody—somewhere—hits the right combination.

Depending on the progressive, the jackpots can be sizeable. A recent Megabucks jackpot at the Excalibur was over $39,000,000. Another popular progressive is the Wheel of Fortune, which allows players to play different denominations: quarters, half-dollars, dollars, and five-dollars. Jackpots for quarter players start at $200,000; for dollar-level players, the jackpots start at a million and grow from there.

Players of progressives agree on two things: if you play progressives, you have to play the maximum number of coins. If you don’t play the maximum, you can’t win the jackpot. Second, the chances of winning a progressive jackpot are about the same as winning the lottery—that is, millions to one. Progressive slots pay out much less than standard slot machines, so you stand to lose much more of your stake for a smaller chance of winning.

Nevertheless, if you like the excitement of a progressive and you can afford to invest more of your stake pursuing an elusive jackpot, then progressives are for you.