What’s the Difference Between a Jackpot Prize and a Progressive?

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Dragon Link progressives

One of the things we see many players get confused about at times is the difference between a Jackpot Prize and a Progressive. The waters have gotten muddier has games have increasingly featured both on the same game, vs. having just one or the other.

First off, a Jackpot Prize is not the same thing as a Jackpot Handpay, the event that occurs when you win a minimum of $1,200 on a single wager of any size. Instead, a Jackpot Prize, sometimes called a Bonus Prize by slot makers, is a flat prize awarded when a certain event occurs.

The most common example is the Mini and Minor prizes on many link style games. They are flat prizes, often the same across a denomination. Those aren’t progressives because they don’t progress – they’re flat prizes that generally don’t change within a denomination. As such, since they only change when you change the denomination, there’s no information to be gleamed as to the size of those prizes.

And if we’re being candid, they’re window dressing – they don’t actually mean anything! The prize could just say the number and be the exact same thing – they’re designed to psychologically get us excited – we won the Mini! When it’s just a flat prize that could appear anyway.

There are games that actually make the flat prizes a real component of the game, and that’s those that change with bet value, such as Fu Dai Lian Lian or All aboard – in those cases, since they’re a multiple of your bet, they usually have some sort of meaning to the prize structure.

By comparison, a progressive is a prize that grows over time in one of two ways: It grows when you make a wager, or it grows when you win. By far the most common is growing when you make a wager.

Progressives matter as the longer they go without hitting, the bigger they can get (as long as they don’t have an upper limit – some do). Bigger progressives mean a better outcome for the person who does win it, and if you are playing a bank of slot machines you should always seek out the biggest progressives in case today is your day.


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