Every time you click the spin button on a slot you have a dream. And the dream is the big win.
Not all games are equal in this respect, and if you’re a big win hunter you need to pick carefully. The biggest online slots winners of all time are almost all progressives.
Progressives work slightly differently from standard slots. In a standard slot, you spin and generally win a multiple of the stake you’ve risked on the spin. Jackpots are fixed winning figures that are independent of your stake.
Progressive jackpots are not fixed but are funded by players. Every time a player stakes on a game, a tiny amount of that stake is taken and added to a prize fund. These funds are often set to pay out prizes in three tiers, with the top two being fixed jackpots, and the top-level being the big shifting fund.
The internet has exploded the potential of progressives. The idea of linking machines to build bigger prize funds actually predates online games, and those Las Vegas casino rooms full of ranks and ranks of slot machines often work that way, with players on all of the cabinets contributing towards a progressive. These can be linked within a single casino or across a chain.
But going online opens this up to another dimension. Because a single game can be set up at any number of sites there’s really no restriction on the number of players that can contribute to the prize fund.
Progressives are generally either local or wide, and this just describes the size of the network of instances of the game contributing to the prize fund. A local progressive will probably just collect funds from players at a single site, while a wide network progressive is limitless.
There’s a price to these big prizes. The set-top prize usually lowers the theoretical return to player (a projection of how much of the money put into it that will be returned to players over the life of a game) in the base game. Progressive jackpots are usually awarded via a separate bonus game, sometimes simply triggered at random.
Let’s look at the biggest prizes in slots:
1 – €18,915,872.81 on Mega Moolah
Mega Moolah is the undisputed king of progressive jackpots. They should call it the millionaire maker. And it’s a good example of the viral nature of these games. The prizes are built up by players, so you need a lot of players to get the biggest prizes, and the best way to get a lot of players is to pay bigger prizes… and so on.
Mega Moolah has had the two world record top online slots wins, so it’s the natural place to go if you’re a big prize searcher. That means that as soon as it pays out, the prize fund shoots back up into the millions again.
This most recent record-breaker was hit on September 28th, 2018 when a player opened up the Microgaming game that has now paid out nearly €100 million in its lifetime.
The prize was won at Grand Mondial Casino, for a stake of 75c (€0.75). The player has not revealed their identity, and we can’t say we blame them.
2 – £13,209,300 on Mega Moolah
Here we go again with Mega Moolah slot coming up trumps back in 2015 for the previous record-breaker and one the win that really put the game on the map. That’s mostly because there’s a human story to this one in the shape of Jon Heywood from Cardiff, who’s the lucky player who lined up a 25p spin of the five reels of this game and triggered the bonus round to win the top jackpot.
Jon, a soldier, didn’t hide his identity, so the press – much to the delight of Microgaming, and Betfair, the site at which he won the prize – were able to tell his story and how exactly the win (€17,879,645) was going to change his life.
Jon span the reels on 6th October 2015.
3 – €17,861,800 on Mega Fortune
The winner of this record prize was a Finnish player on PAF Casino, who also staked 25c for his big win.
The player has not been named, but his nationality, the fact he was a Finn, his plans (to buy a care and splash out on his family), and his previous game playing history (he was a big poker fan).
4 – €11,736,375 on Mega Fortune
Another NetEnt winner, and another Scandinavian player, this time from Norway, won this enormous prize back on 24th September 2011.
The lucky player hit the win on Betsson Casino and was so surprised that he had taken the enormous prize that he stayed awake all night. The win was at the time a Guinness World Record.
5 – €7.6 million on Hall of Gods
A Unibet Player was the fortunate one in November 2012, hitting spin on the NetEnt Hall of Gods slot game to win a major league prize that was a record at the time.
The player was Swedish, and unusually in this list, a woman. We don’t know her name, but we do know that she wanted to pay off her mortgage and all her debts and buy herself a new car. Unless she had a massive mortgage and a lot of debts, we like to think that she had a bit of cash left over after that.
There have been plenty of other wins in the mega millions, and it’s still possible to win large prizes. To get started head to your favourite casino site and look for the “jackpots” tab, and there you should find a list of the games available and the prizes up for grabs.
Progressive games are the only slot games that it might be possible to predict wins for. Some pay out to a timetable, or after passing a fixed threshold, and there are whole UK online casino sites dedicated to the big titles that can be worth checking out.