If you have visited an online casino – or even some land-based casinos – you will likely have seen games with progressive jackpots. As the name suggests, these are games with jackpots that are constantly growing. Often, casinos display these prizes on the homepage, showing a jackpot ticker.

You can watch them tick up, and some can be worth millions. But how do they actually work? And how are the winners determined? More importantly, how likely are you to win one? Below, we will answer these questions:

First of all, though, we will answer the question: What is a progressive jackpot game? In short, these are casino games that have a separate jackpot prize from the main game. A good example is Playtech’s popular God of Storms slot, which is a popular choice among UK players. God of Storms actually features four separate progressive prizes, but it has many elements that make it useful for our explanation here.

Online Progressive Jackpots Work

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God of Storms is a Popular Progressive Jackpot Game

Now, if you are playing God of Storms, there are plenty of ways to win games – just like any other slot. But at the top of the screen you will notice the jackpots. These are awarded randomly, so you do not need to get a winning spin (in the traditional sense) to win one.

The “random” part means that the jackpot will be awarded once it reaches a specific figure: let’s say, for instance, when it reaches £1,836,383.24. An RNG (Random Number Generator) will determine this figure, and not even the casino operator will know.

Lottery

But how does it reach that sum of almost £2 million? Well, each wager on the game takes a small percentage to fund the jackpot(s). In the case of God of Storms, it’s about 1%. So, if you bet £0.20 on a spin, a fifth of a penny is going into the jackpot. As you might expect, then, it takes a lot of spins to grow that jackpot to such a huge size.

This is achieved by sharing the jackpot game across different casinos. So, in the UK, for example, all players at all casinos playing God of Storms would be adding to the fund. It’s basic economies of scale principles.

In addition, the jackpots can be networked across different games, which helps build the big prizes. God of Storms, for instance, is part of the Age of the Gods range, with all games in the series sharing the same jackpot network.

Treat it Like Playing the Lottery

So, if an RNG has determined that the jackpot will be awarded when it reaches £1,836,383.24, as with our example, it is the player whose bet (through the 1% contribution) tips it to that threshold that will win the prize. You can perhaps think of it as a game of Jenga, although with millions of blocks, with one player being the tipper of the balance.

As you have probably gathered, your chances of winning a progressive jackpot are relatively remote. And it’s one of the reasons that experienced players say you should treat them like playing the lottery.

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However, as we mentioned, these progressive jackpots run parallel to the slot, and there are other ways to win with the games. The point is that you should choose the game because you like it, and not because it has a progressive jackpot. The chance of winning the big prize is just a bonus.