It’s the dream of most slot machine players – seeing those reels align just right for a massive payday. Whether playing in a brick-and-mortar casino, online, or in a social gaming environment, seeing a huge jackpot is at least a goal to some degree for many players.
Whether it’s a mini, major, or minor jackpot, landing some of those nice winnings can go a long way toward turning that time at a slot into a winning session. Players may face longer odds to winning those truly massive progressive six- and seven-figure jackpots, but it’s at least possible.
But smaller jackpots happen more frequently and players face smaller odds in landing some of those less-stellar paydays. So what are the odds of hitting a slot machine jackpot? Do players really have a chance to win? Are there certain ways to play that might lead to a jackpot? This article hopes to answer some of those types of questions.
Keep reading to learn more about what odds slot players face in winning a jackpot.
What’s a Jackpot?
Those new to slots may not realize exactly what a jackpot is. A jackpot is generally considered a much larger payout than one might find on a normal spin of the reels.
The pay lines on a modern slot machine offer numerous ways a player can theoretically win. However, not all of those are considered jackpots. These larger payouts are much rarer and may even require what is called a “hand pay” at a live casino. This means that a member of the casino staff has to pay out a player personally “by hand” because the jackpot is so high. That may also require a winner filling out a tax form, although that may not be a major concern considering you’ve just hit it big.
These jackpots mean that a player will usually see multiple symbols that occur less frequently on a single spin. A player faces much longer odds in seeing events like this happen. Sometimes these wins may also come in bonus games or free spins.
These are extra winning opportunities a player receives by seeing certain symbols in the game to trigger these bonus opportunities. The chances of winning larger prizes may be better in these bonus games, but not necessarily for those much larger jackpots.
Types of Jackpots
Players hoping for a big jackpot always have a shot at a larger payout at least to some degree. But it’s important to remember that a casino has a house edge when it comes to slot machines. There is no legal way to overcome this such as card counting in blackjack or gaining a skill edge at the poker tables.
Luck is a key factor in playing a slot machine and especially in winning one of those massive jackpots that make headlines. However, jackpots of various types are available for those who take a seat at a slot machine or play online. Here’s a look at a few types.
Mini Jackpot – These are smaller jackpots one might find playing a typical slot machine in a casino. These usually come about by triggering certain bonuses or finding a certain number of key symbols on the reels. These may include multipliers that increase a player’s winnings. Mini jackpots are much more common than larger payouts. Obviously the higher the jackpot, the longer the odds are of hitting it. This is the first tier usually on a slot machine’s jackpot sequence.
Major Jackpot – This is a larger jackpot than the Mini version and the second tier of larger payouts on a slot games. As expected, players face larger odds at achieving this level. While on a penny machine a Mini Jackpot may be $50 to $100, a Major may bring a few hundred dollars.
Minor Jackpot – This is the third tier of jackpot and sees that potential payout rise even more. This is a more difficult level to reach because of the longer odds involved. This type of jackpot could register a few thousand dollars for a lucky player. This may not be life-changing money, but any player would be happy to see the bells and whistles on a machine go off to advertise this type of win.
Mega Jackpot – This is a really hefty payout as the name implies. A player hitting a Mega Jackpot has really accomplished something and can usually expect a payout of up to tens of thousands of dollars at least heading their way. These can be huge payouts and don’t come around everyday for slot players. They are more difficult to achieve with longer odds.
Progressive Jackpot – This are that colossal seven-figure and higher jackpots that might even make headlines in the new media. A progressive slot is tied into other machines throughout a certain state or territory. With so many machines feeding money into the prize pool, these potential payouts can get truly astronomical. The odds of winning these types of jackpots can be astronomical as well.
Some jackpots may also vary or have slightly different names than those above, but this is the general sequence and names for slot machine jackpots. Some players may also see payouts called Local Jackpots, which are similar to progressives but may include players in a pool smaller than a traditional progressive but still achieving larger jackpots than traditional games. Huge jackpots in these games can also be rare as well.
Odds of Winning a Jackpot
As noted above, hitting those massive jackpot payouts isn't easy. The reason those huge paydays make news is because they’re not only handing a player massive money, but they’re also extremely rare considering the number of players pumping credits into slot machines around the world each day.
The largest jackpot in history came in 2003 at the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas. A software engineer played about $100 in a Megabucks, a popular progressive machine seen at casinos around the world. When three Megabucks symbols stacked up on screen, this player struck gold – taking home $39.7 million.
So what are the odds of actually winning a million-dollar jackpot, not even one at these gargantuan levels as won at the Excalibur? There are numerous intricacies in each game that can make this vary, but in general, many experts concede that the odds of hitting that kind of jackpot come in the range of 50 million to one or even as high as 100 million to one.
Just as a comparison, the odds of getting struck by lightning are about one in a million, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That shows just how difficult it is to win one of these life-changing prizes.
Also, playing progressives to win at this level usually requires betting at the max-bet level and at higher stakes. This gives a player an opportunity to win, but those odds at huge payouts are still long. Here are a few pros and cons of playing progressive slots:
chances at larger payouts
usually better RTP (return to player)
usually, better comps/rewards because of higher limits
better chances at smaller wins because of higher RTP
can deplete a bankroll at higher betting stakes
RTP may not be that much better depending on individual games
may have more limited game options, depending on the casino or online site
Does that mean a player shouldn’t hop in a casino for some fun or fire up the computer or mobile device for some online slots? Certainly not. Slots should be seen as a form of entertainment only with a chance that you could actually win some money on a gambling excursion.
Players regularly win smaller jackpots and these are much more likely than a massive progressive jackpot. A few nice scores and a winning session can make for a fun night spinning those slot machine reels.
Jackpots: Online Versus Live Casinos
As noted, the odds of hitting massive jackpots are long. Online slot players face similar odds, but there are some opportunities to win major payouts at a virtual casino as well. Players playing online or on social media platforms, such as at Jackpot Party, can expect some opportunities to see some major boosts to their credits if those reels line up just right.
Do slots pay out better than live casinos when it comes to slot games? Probably not. Your chances of winning largely depend on the RTP of each game, whether in a casino or in an online setting.
There are numerous online sources that offer the RTP of individual casinos, whether in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, London, Monte Carlo, or some other location around the world. Many RTP rates are also available for online casinos.
An RTP rate can also vary by games, and that can often be found online as well. A game or casino with a 96% RTP has a better shot at winning than at a game or property with a 92% RTP.
Players having some fun playing in a social gaming environment are usually playing simply for virtual coins and player rewards within the game. These types of games usually pay out more regularly than a real casino. The operator hopes to keep players at the games and there isn't really any money involved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have a chance at winning a huge slot machine jackpot?
More than likely not because these levels of payouts are so rare and players face extremely long odds. You do have more opportunities at smaller jackpots, however, which can also come with nice payouts.
What are the odds of winning a progressive jackpot?
The odds of winning a seven-figure jackpot may be as high as 50 million or 100 million to one. However, smaller jackpots can come with much lower odds and regularly reward players with some big payouts both in live and online casinos.
What’s a way to reduce the odds against a player winning?
Play games with higher RTP (return to player). This is the percentage of money in a slot that a casino pays out to players. The higher the RTP, the more likely a player has a chance at a winning session.