Progressive jackpot prizes were first offered in land-based casinos as an incentive to digital slots players. As digital slots replaced mechanical slot machines, it became possible to link several machines and subtract a portion of the bets placed on each machine to contribute to a progressive prize that grew steadily after every spin, until a player hit a specific combination and scooped the pot.
New technology also gave casinos the ability to display the progressive total above the machines it applied to, constantly ticking over and increasing in value, which gave players all over the world a visual incentive to keep trying their luck. To offset the cost of the biggest progressive jackpot prizes, casinos usually insist that players must be playing the maximum bet on the spin to qualify, and many also alter the payout percentages on slots in the lower-value prizes as well. However, because progressive slots jackpots often offer the biggest prizes for a relatively modest bet of any games in the casino, players have flocked to chase the dream on progressive slot machines wherever in the world they have been introduced.
Their popularity led to the spread of progressive prizes to other casino games, such as poker and blackjack, and to this day progressive jackpots are a large part of the appeal of land-based casinos.
Even More Opportunities Online
The past two decades have seen unprecedented growth in online, and later mobile casinos. Hundreds of sites now cater to millions of customers, and expanding the pool of players mobile betting has meant that progressive jackpots could grow to enormous proportions.
Today, the biggest progressive prizes in the world are won on multinational lottery sites online after several rollovers, drawing players from every corner of the globe and rewarding the lucky few with stupendous fortunes of EU150-million or more. But even while offering a fraction of those wins, progressive slots prizes still draw more than enough punters to encourage stiff competition between online casino operations. In 2011, the record for the biggest progressive prizes in slots went to NetEntertainment’s Mega Fortune online, with a payout of EU11.7-million.
Mega Fortune has often been neck-and-neck with Betway’s progressive slots game Mega Moolah, and in October 2015 Mega Moolah was once again in the lead, having produced a win of over EU17.8-million. But with the number of people playing progressive slots online increasing all the time, it is clear that the competition for the biggest progressive prizes in the world is far from over.
A Land-Based Comparison
If EU150-million is almost inconceivable, EU17-million is still an impressive amount of money for one winner to take home, and it is just as impressive converted into US Dollars: around US$18-million. But land-based progressive jackpots can be even more impressive. The biggest progressive slots prize ever won in a land-based casino in Las Vegas, for example, was more than US$39-million, which was scooped by an anonymous software engineer in 2003.
Whether the growth of the online casino market will eventually see the record for biggest progressive prizes in the world swing unequivocally in favour of pokies online NZ remains to be seen, but there is no doubt players will continue to support progressive casino games, online or land-based, in increasing numbers.