What Is a Progressive Jackpot?

Progressive jackpots have become ever more popular over the years, as they provide players with the chance to winning huge sums of cash from a relatively small stake. And they're not only available in online bingo either, but also see themselves spread out across online poker, slots, casino games and several other areas.

How Does a Progressive Jackpot Work?

Generally speaking, you'll find that all progressive jackpots have a minimum starting point, which will vary between each different one on offer. Some will have a minimum pay out of £100, while others will start a lot higher, at £1,000, for example. Some may even start at £100,000. Or, if the bingo site is feeling particularly crazy, £1,000,000.

However, this is just the starting point. The value of a progressive jackpot increases every time a player buys into a game (hence 'progressive'), or in the case of online slots, plays a spin. This, of course, is halted whenever a player wins it, and upon doing so, the value will return to its original starting point.

When it comes to bingo, you'll find that several sites offer the same progressive jackpot which operated by the bingo network - this is known as a 'network jackpot'. This leads to more people accessing and playing the game, resulting in a higher jackpot amount and making it more appealing to play. This leads to even more players playing, an even higher jackpot and an even more attractive jackpot. As the prize fund grows more and more players will often join in, with hopes of landing the big win.

It seems appropriate to make it clear here that it isn't the entirety of your buy in amount that goes towards the total prize. Instead, it's a portion of this which is added. So, if you buy a ticket for 25p, for example, perhaps only 5% of this will be added to the pot. Each different network offers a different ticket price, and each different network will also take a different percentage of the funds you use to buy in to the game.

How Can I Win a Progressive Jackpot?

Once you begin playing a progressive jackpot round, it's very easy to see just how these jackpots get so high. As more players join the game across the network, the total figure can soar into the thousands and millions. However, there still remains the question of how to actually win the funds, right?

Well, where bingo is concerned, it's usually claimed by winning a full house within a set amount of calls. So, for example, if you join a progressive bingo game which provides the jackpot for making a full house in less than 20 calls, you'll need to have marked off all your numbers within that time to win.

Again, each different network will have different rules surrounding the jackpots that they offer. So, while one might offer a pay out of it within 25 calls, another might offer a pay out in 18 calls. This also depends upon the type of bingo game you're playing, as the more balls there are to call, the higher the target number of calls to complete your full house in should be.

It should also be fairly obvious that the easier the jackpot is to win, the smaller the prize will be as it will be won more often. The biggest jackpots will also be the hardest to win.

The Jackpot Pool

The money that goes towards the jackpot will be put into a prize fund, known as a jackpot pool. But this number is a little different to the one that the big winner actually receives, and also the one advertised in the game (the figure stated is normally the actual prize rather than the fund, for obvious reasons - after all, you'd be rather miffed if you thought you were winning £100,000 when in reality you received £50,000).

Jackpot pools tend to be made up of a number of different components. These sometimes include:

  • The Jackpot - The number everyone's interested in, the actual jackpot that's paid out to the (very lucky) winner.
  • A Community Prize - This element isn't always included, but common enough that we should include it here. Many jackpots pay out a portion of the prize fund to the players who were also in the game at the time of the jackpot hitting. Meaning even if you're not the big winner, you get something from being in the right place at the right time.
  • Jackpot Seed - The final part of the fund, is often used to seed the next jackpot. This is so that instead of starting from zero, giving players no incentive to play, it is worth winning even if it's won the next day.

Escalator Jackpots

As well as the standard progressive jackpot option, some bingo sites also offer a slight variation on it, called an 'Escalator Jackpot'. These are usually run as special promotions rather than being offered all the time, and while the basis behind them is generally the same as the standard progressive, there's a little twist to it.

In an escalator jackpot, the amount of calls by which you're able to secure a full house in to receive the jackpot will increase  - making the jackpot easier to win as time goes on. Sometimes this is on a daily basis, whilst other times they'll increase every few hours, depending onthe promotion.

Others, particularly those run around holidays such as christmas, speed up the longer they go on. So initially the number of balls may increase every day, but as it gets closed to the end of the promotion it will increase to every four hours, or even every hour. 

These types of game aren't always available, but when they are they're a lot of fun and well worth participating in!