Wide Area Progressive: What it Is and How it Works

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Megabucks Mega Vault wide area progressive

In casinos, there are three types of progressives you’ll see on machines. The first type are those that are limited to a single machine, known as a stand-alone progressive. Then there are progressives that are connected to one or a few banks of machines in the casino, known as a linked progressive. The final progressive type stretches across multiple casinos and is known as a Wide Area Progressive.

A Wide Area Progressive differs in a couple of key ways from other casino floor progressives. They’re the only ones that tend to escape a single casino’s walls – they can be linked in a single area, across an entire state, and at times even beyond.

Another key difference is that Wide Area Progressives are handled by the slot makers, not the casinos. The other two progressive types are banked by the casinos, and they are required to pay them out when won. For Wide Area Progressives, you get paid by the slot manufacturer. This is why they tend to take longer to get paid, as someone from the slot manufacturer comes out to verify a win.

Third, they tend to be a lot larger – a Wide Area Progressive is often larger than the progressives an individual casino will often offer, which is part of what makes them so alluring to begin with! It’s not unusual to see wide area progressives that are six or seven figures, and at the top end Nevada’s version of Megabucks starts at $10 million and grows from there.

Finally, they may be structured differently than other progressives in terms of a payout. For instance, it may be an installment payout, similar to a lottery, or the option to take a smaller lump sum prize. Many times players will only receive a portion of their prize upfront as a result of this structure. Casino-banked progressives don’t have that caveat built into them.

How can you tell the difference between them? Here’s an example of each:

  • The Major progressive on a Dollar Storm machine is individual to the machine.
  • The Grand progressive on the same game tends to be linked to other machines in the bank.
  • The Super Grand progressive is generally shared with other casinos, and in that way a Wide Area Progressive.

So it’s not necessarily the size of the progressive – some enterprising casinos offer $1 million Grand jackpot variations of Dragon Link, for instance – but how the progressive is structured.

Wide Area Progressives tend to be much more difficult to hit, and many times can require a minimum bet level to qualify. Megabucks, for instance, requires a $3 bet on a given spin to be eligible. This doesn’t always mean a max bet – there are variations of Megabucks offerings where you can bet $5 or $10 a spin, but as long as you’re wagering at least $3 you’re eligible for the big prize.

Some companies tout their wide area progressive offerings to players. IGT maintains a website, IGT Jackpots, where you can see what progressives are offered and their current value. They even provide the ability to see all of the progressives close by to you via a map.

So that is how a Wide Area Progressive differs from other progressive types in the casino. It’s definitely a swing for the fences moment, but for those who manage to land one of these epic prizes it’s a life changing scenario.


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