Are Fixed Jackpots Easier to Win Than Progressives?

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Some casinos will freeze or fix what would normally be progressive jackpots. This tweak to what is otherwise the same game ultimately works out as a negative for slot machine players. Let’s start with this question from a player:

All things being even, do fixed value jackpots have better odds of hitting than a progressive jackpot? I’ve seen different casinos with the same game, one will have a progressive major or grand jackpot while another has a fixed value major or grand.


First off, let’s visualize what this means. There are a lot of games that feature one or more progressives. Here’s an example of one Quick Hit game with the traditional five progressives in a casino:

Quick Hit Platinum machine with all progressives moving

However, some casinos will make the call to fix those prizes, usually at their default amount. Here’s another example of the same Quick Hit game with some fixed jackpots:

Quick Hit Platinum machine with some jackpots fixed

And here’s a third example, this time with all the progressives fixed:

Quick Hit Platinum machine with all jackpots fixed

Those progressives on the first machine have exactly the same chances of winning them as the fixed jackpot versions on the second and third machines. The fixed prize is basically what these progressives would reset at, so you’re getting the bare minimum they can award.

The setting to let them increment or not is separate from the frequency of them being available in the outcomes designed by the game maker as part of the payback setting the casino would activate.

So what does a fixed jackpot that normally progresses mean for a player? It’s a bit of the payback held back by the casino, since instead of it being added to the progressive, it’s simply kept by the casino.

Progressives are usually a small percentage of the game’s overall payout – maybe 1 to 2 percent, and ultimately only impacts that small few who actually win the jackpot that’s not incrementing – they’re losing out on whatever amount was not added to the total. Everyone else, it’s more or less the same.

One of the reasons we recommend playing a machine with the biggest progressives is that if you’re going to have the same chances of winning, why not opt for the biggest prize, so if you do win, you win more? 

These fixed progressives are often at casinos in big markets, like Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Biloxi, where a more generous operator is down the road with progressives instead of fixed jackpots. 

Decisions like these by casinos usually indicate more stingy payouts in other ways as well, so if you see this often, that might be a sign you should be playing at a different casino. But at the very least, if you have an option of playing a version with progressives next door, you should consider that over the fixed jackpots.

The other thing to evaluate is which jackpot(s) are being fixed. Sometimes it’s jackpots that are easier to obtain, and sometimes it’s a jackpot that’s harder to obtain. When it’s the one top progressive, perhaps it’s not as big a deal in the absence of other options since it’s so rare to hit. Of course, if you’re the one that hit it, it can still be a missed opportunity for a bigger payout.

but when it’s more common, smaller jackpots that also tend to grow more quickly, that can be more costly since those are designed to pay you out regularly. So reviewing the options is always a good thing to do, as you’ll sometimes even find different setups of the same game on the same casino floor.

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