Whether you’re already a passionate online gambler or you’re simply someone who wants to know more about the “internet of gambling things,” you’re probably aware of the vast number of choices of online casinos, as well as the equally large number of games you can play online for money.
But were you aware that some of those games offer huge jackpots, in addition to the regular pay tables? Got your attention now, right?
Like land-based casinos, online gambling operations understand that they need to offer more than just the standard pay tables to get — and keep — your patronage. To that end, they offer giant constantly-growing jackpots on certain games that can be, well, life-changing.
Let’s take a look at the various jackpots available out there and how to qualify for them. And to start you off, here’s a list of the best online casinos for jackpots.
Ranking the best online casinos for jackpots is not a simple case of looking at which sites offer the biggest prizes. That’s part of it, of course, but there’s more involved than just that.
We look at a wide range of factors that affect the overall experience you’ll get, just as we do when rating the top online casinos in any category. Some of these factors are more important than others, but it’s important that we look at them all to get the full picture. We only recommend the very best places to play to our readers, and that means we take our rankings and ratings very seriously.
For full details of the processes involved, please take a look at our page on how we evaluate online casinos. Below we’ve explained a small number of the most important factors we consider when rating the top online casinos for jackpots.
Licensing, Safety, and Reputation
This is arguably THE most important thing we look at when ranking gambling sites of any kind. As there is no global regulation of the online gambling industry, it’s possible for sites to operate with much in the way oversight. Some of these sites engage in shady practices and shouldn’t be considered safe to use.
We only recommend sites that ARE safe to use, and we ensure that by looking very carefully at the licenses held by sites and their reputation.
Banking Options and Withdrawal Speeds
This is something else we look at for all gambling sites, not just when ranking the best online casinos for jackpots. We believe that customers should have access to a wide range of banking options when making their deposits and withdrawals, so that they can choose the option most suitable for them.
We also test withdrawal speeds, to see how quickly casinos payout any winnings. We don’t expect withdrawals to be processed instantly, but it’s only right that they paid to customers within a reasonable time frame.
Game Selection and Variety
Although many casino players stick to playing just one or two preferred games, the majority of them like to mix things up and play lots of different games. That’s why we believe that the top online casinos should offer a varied selection of games.
Players should be able to enjoy all kinds of different games when playing at online casinos, as that’s one of the big advantages of playing online in the first place.
Number and Size of Jackpots Available
This is naturally a key ranking factor when looking at the best online casinos for jackpots. If you’re specifically playing to try and win a big prize, then of course you need a casino that gives you the best possible chance to do that.
A casino doesn’t necessarily have to offer dozens of jackpots. Nor does it necessarily have to offer jackpots worth millions of dollars. It should ideally have a few different jackpots up for grabs, though, some of which should be at least six figures.
What Are Online Casino Jackpots?
Online casinos have long offered promotional sign-up and reload bonuses to gambling patrons. So much so, in fact, that the bonuses that were once novel and attractive are now expected as just another part of the service.
But in addition to the various bonuses, many online casinos are also offering progressive jackpots that can run into the thousands — even millions — of dollars.
For instance, one progressive jackpot awarded in the past was for more than $20 million. Others exist that have accumulated more than $60 million in potential winnings.
What If We Sliced the Bread After We Baked It…?
The idea of progressive jackpots (sometimes called “pooled jackpots”) may be an old one, but it wasn’t until computer networks came into being back in the dark ages of the 1980s that multiple slot machines could communicate with one another, and with a master server, as well.
Suddenly, the progressive jackpot jumped from a modestly interesting gimmick to being a full-fledged life-changer as gamblers vied to be the one who won that suddenly very respectable $100,000 (or more) progressive jackpot built by dozens of machines instead of just the one.
And when game developers tacked on wide-area-networks (WANs) to connect literally hundreds of machines together, progressive jackpots grew into multi-million-dollar prospects. By the time internet gambling started taking off (in the 1990s), the online gambling industry was fully matured and experienced — and fully capable of linking the disparate online casinos around the world, which they promptly did.
They Always Come in Threes
There are three types of progressive jackpots: the stand-alone, the casino-wide, and the wide area network progressive jackpot. There are a few features that apply to all three of the progressive jackpot machines.
For instance, accrual of the progressive jackpot is based on anywhere from 1% to 5% of money wagered.
Also, the casino (or in many cases, the gambling software provider that licenses the game to multiple online casinos) primes the jackpot with a base amount so that players will not abandon the machine simply because someone else just won the jackpot.
Now, the differences.
The Stand-Alone Jackpot
The stand-alone has been around since long before the internet was even a glimmer in Al Gore’s eye. It is just what the name implies.
A certain percentage of each bet placed on one specific machine will accrue to an internally-tracked progressive jackpot.
The accrual, being based on a single machine’s record of wagers, generates relatively low progressive jackpot payouts, typically in the hundreds or very low thousands of dollars.
Because of this, the stand-alone progressive has not been a primary motivating reason to play a particular slot, but it often pays out more frequently, so it’s certainly a bonus worth looking into.
The casino-wide (or “in-house”) jackpot links any number of machines at that online casino so that all of them contribute to the jackpot.
These can often pay out in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unsurprisingly, these are much more popular than the stand-alone progressives.
And then, there’s the queen of the silver dollar: the wide area network progressive jackpot.
This is possible because software developers who license their slots and video poker games to online casinos can network “machines” they have placed with online casinos throughout the world, making it possible to build truly awe-inspiring multi-million-dollar progressive jackpots — all from those same tiny contributions taken from each wager.
How Can I Find an Online Casino That Offers Progressive Jackpots?
First of all, you’ll need to find a game at an online casino site that is clearly identified as offering a progressive jackpot in addition to its regular pay tables.
We have put together a very good list of the best online casinos that offer these progressive jackpot games. Each of these casinos has been vetted, is licensed, and features software that has been audited and accredited by various technical and financial organizations to ensure fairness and reliability.
Once you’ve found your machine, note the exact combination you need to get in order to win the progressive.
For slots, it’s often identical symbols on the same payline across all of the reels. Video poker and other card-related games have different winning combinations, so be sure to check the casino’s terms and conditions and — in particular — any information they have posted concerning progressive jackpots.
Incidentally, you should understand that qualifying for a chance to win the progressive jackpot usually requires you to bet max coins in.
If max coins for the game is five, then you’ll need to wager the five coins with each play in order to have a chance at winning the progressive jackpot.
Additionally, video poker games such as blackjack, Caribbean poker, and 3-card poker usually require that you place a separate wager with each hand in order to qualify for any progressive jackpot.
What Strategy Should I Use?
Regardless of whether the game is a slot or some variation of video poker, the progressive jackpots themselves are based on purely random events — chance, in other words.
Because of this, there really is no strategy involved. Video poker games do require some strategy, of course, just not in relation to the progressive jackpot. We do offers some tips later that can maximize your chances of winning a big prize, but you should remember that it’s ultimately good luck you’ll need.
Which Games Qualify?
The games that offer progressive jackpots are clearly promoted as such on virtually every online casino that offers them — which only stands to reason since the casinos use the jackpots to entice patrons to play there.
Often, the casino’s main page will prominently display the games it hosts that have progressive jackpots, as well as the current jackpot for each.
There are more games offering progressive jackpots than just the slots — Caribbean stud and blackjack, for example, are just two of the varieties of video poker that you can find offering progressive jackpots.
Microgaming, for example, offers a progressive jackpot on its Triple Sevens blackjack game.
There are even some live dealer table games such as casino hold’em and roulette that also offer progressive jackpots. Evolution Gaming, an online gambling developer specializing in live dealer table games, now offers a progressive “Jumbo 7 Jackpot” to players of its casino hold’em game.
Many online gambling software developers offer progressive jackpots, but the vast majority of what you will find on the internet is produced and administered by a small handful of the largest and most experienced companies. Here are some of the major players.
Since Microgaming released its first progressive jackpot slot, Cash Splash, just before the turn of the 21st century, the company has been building a solid reputation for itself in the world of online gambling.
The developer’s biggest draw is probably the Mega Moolah slot, which just happens to have made one of the largest progressive jackpot payouts ever: $20 million.
Besides Mega Moolah, Microgaming’s other popular progressive jackpot games include Lotsa Loot, King Cashalot, and Fruit Fiesta.
Net Entertainment (commonly referred to as NetEnt) has progressive jackpots simmering in just about every jurisdiction that permits online gambling. Here are some examples.
The United Kingdom
The United States (New Jersey)
Among NetEnt’s most popular progressive jackpot games are Arabian Nights, the Cosmic Fortune series, and the Hall of Gods series.
With a reported 30 different games featuring progressive jackpots, Playtech qualifies as one of the largest gaming software developers in the progressive jackpot marketplace.
While Playtech does not offer these games in the United States, the company’s games are very popular with online gamblers in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Playtech’s progressive games include the Age of the Gods series, Beach Life, and Cat In Vegas.
Certainly the most US-friendly developer, RealTime Gaming (often referred to simply as RTG) offers more than 50 different progressive jackpot games to patrons of the online casinos it serves.
Among the developer’s more popular progressive jackpot games are Aztec’s Millions, Gold Mine, Jackpot Pinatas, and Jackpot Cleopatra’s Gold.
Note that there are many other reputable developers offering progressive jackpots, including Novomatic, BetSoft, and IGT.
Five Tips for Serious Progressive Jackpot Gamblers
We’ve already established that you need lady luck on your side if you’re going to land one of the big progressive jackpots. Or ANY kind of jackpot at all for that matter. Despite that fact, there are few things you could and should do if you’re serious about trying to win life-changing sums of money at an online casinos. Here are our top tips.
Only Play at Legitimate, Well-Vetted Online Casinos
When we say legitimate and well-vetted, we mean online casinos that are fully licensed and which feature only certified and regularly-audited RNG gambling software.
If the casino isn’t licensed by one of the many countries that have set up entire administrations to oversee online gambling, it’s a good idea to leave and to find one that is licensed.
Only Play Games from Reputable Software Developers
If you find a game that looks interesting and has a hefty progressive jackpot attached to it, do your research. Find out who developed the game, and then spend some time reading up on their reputation and accreditation.
Remember that developers of gambling software are vendors rather than operators, meaning their customer is the online casino, not you.
Consequently, their corporate websites will not be filled with information readily accessible or even useful to the gambling layman. Instead, they’ll talk about affiliate marketing and back office integration, with some player acquisition, conversion, and retention thrown in for flavor.
Fascinating stuff, to be sure, but of little use to you in your pursuit of the perfect progressive jackpot.
Chances are, we’ve already experienced what you may find online, and we’ve probably even reported dutifully back to you on that very subject.
Additionally, you can see what your fellow gamblers say about the developer. There are quite a few independent message boards and gambling forums out there, and it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at some of these.
Naturally, opinions aren’t facts, so bring along some salt.
Always Read the Fine Print
Every casino is different. Its rules and policies may vary — even though a game it offers is also offered at other casinos, that does not mean the same rules and policies apply. Some, for example, only pay out a progressive jackpot incrementally. For example, a $60,000 progressive jackpot might be paid out in $10,000 increments over a period of weeks or even months.
Set a Limit and Stick to It
Never is it more important to remember your limits than when chasing a $20 million jackpot.
Sure, you might hit it by dinnertime, but just in case, maybe it would be a good idea to stop betting once you hit the hundred-dollar mark (or whatever limit you imposed upon yourself back when you sat down at the computer).
You can always win the progressive tomorrow.
Plan Ahead For if You Win
You’re staring at your mobile phone in disbelief. It says you just won $5.8 million on a slot you were playing while watching TV (this actually happened to a Scottish librarian, by the way).
Now what? Well, aside from the fact that you can now afford all the cheese you want, you need to be ready to safely and securely transfer the money from your online casino account to your bank account.
So, before that happens, you may want to check your country’s banking laws as well as its online gambling laws.
Make sure you have a strategy that works in order to get your winnings into a safe and secure account (either at a bank or in a reputable and secure e-wallet).
Learn about the various delays and other obstacles you may encounter and work out a plan to overcome them.
Winning is great, but that could turn into a pretty hollow victory if some law or banking regulation you overlooked makes it all disappear.
All this talk about huge multi-million-dollar progressive jackpots is exciting, but not nearly as exciting as actually trying your hand at one or two of the most popular slots or table games.
Decide on your favorites, then go to the sites that feature them, and place your bets. Sure, the odds are long (as odds on winning multi-million-dollar jackpots tend to be), but who knows? It could happen.
The casinos we’ve recommended on this page are currently the best places to play if you want to chase that big prize. You could also check out our complete list of top-rated online casinos, too, for some alternatives.