February 7, 2024 by

Progressive Jackpot Slots – Yes or No?

Most casino players, both online and on land, like to play progressive jackpot slots.  The allure of becoming rich with just one lucky spin is great.  So, given that gamers will always play progressive slots, we here at Slots Play Casinos would like to explore the upside and the downside of playing progressive jackpot slots.

Excitement and Anticipation Plus Riches Are the Upside of Progressive Slots

There is a large body of literature that talks about why many people seek excitement.

The Role Dopamine Plays

Dopamine is a hormone.  It is also sometimes called a neuro-transmitter which is just a fancy term for the way dopamine works in the brain.  Dopamine is the hormone that is released when we feel good.  It also drives the urge to feel even better.

Online Casino Gaming is on the Good Side of Dopamine

All of the behavioral advice we give gamers in article after article and in all of our many guides ultimately boils down to activating dopamine and at the same time controlling it!

Setting Sound Limits Activates and Controls Dopamine

We urge gamers to set reasoned financial budgets for each gaming session.  We also urge gamers to set reasoned time limits on online casino gaming.  We often point out that online casino gaming is a lot more conducive to these two fundamental prerequisites for happy gaming than is playing at a land-based casino.

Land-based casino gaming activates dopamine but the atmosphere at land-based casinos is often to channel the hedonistic tendencies of a lot of uncontrolled dopamine surging in the brain.  The offers of free alcohol feed the condition of dopamine unchecked.  Land-based casinos also have no windows because they know that dopamine often drops when the sun goes down.

Let Dopamine Drive You to Other Happy Activities

We often encourage gamers to develop hobbies they enjoy.  The list of possible hobbies is so long!  Gamers who play progressive jackpot slots because of the excitement it entails and also set reasonable time and money budgets will often go from gaming at an online casino to any of hundreds of great and thrilling activities that the dopamine drawn out by playing progressive slots makes even more exciting.

Progressive Jackpot Slots Are a Minority among Slots

Progressive slots are super exciting to play.  Still, there is a wide world of non-progressive slots for your general enjoyment.  With Instant Play and the internet being available almost everywhere gamers now usually do not download an online casino to their hard drive.

Slots Play Casinos has reviewed and recommended some 30 online casinos.  With Instant Play, gamers can enjoy the best that each casino has to offer!

Playing on Instant Play directly on your internet server allows gamers to join many online casinos with games from several game providers.  Standard casino games like blackjack, craps, roulette, and video poker look pretty much the same from online casino to online casino and from game develop to game developer.

Slots, however, are wildly different!

We encourage all gamers to set separate time and money budgets for progressive jackpot slots so that they will have some time and money left over to play other slots and all of the other casino games that online casinos offer.

How Can Online Casinos Afford to Offer a Million Dollars or More on Progressive Slots?

The simple and surprising answer is that they don’t!

The game providers finance progressive slots!  They do this by taking a penny or two from every bet on a progressive slot and putting it towards the big jackpot.

This works because game providers have a much broader reach among online casino gamers than does any single casino.  Where a single casino may have a million members of whom a few thousand play regularly, the game providers, the top ones at least, have many casinos that carry their progressive slots and a lot more than a few thousand gamers are playing these progressive slots at the same time!

Gamers Should Keep the Volatility of Progressive Slots in Mind

Volatility is a term that applies only to slots.  The random number generator, which determines all outcomes at all online casinos, and at all games played at a terminal in land-based casinos, has no memory.  It cannot know what happened on the previous spin or hand in video poker or blackjack.

But the random number generator can be calibrated for a given return to player rate by the game developer at the request of the casino.  Online casinos generally ask for a return to player rate of 96-97% while land-based casinos ask for a lower return to player rate since land-based casinos need more revenue to offset their large costs.

Two Slots Often Have the Same Return to Player Rate but Very Different Volatility

Volatility refers to how many gamers will share in the returns to players.  A game with high volatility has relatively few gamers who share in the returns while a slot with low volatility will share the winnings among a relatively large number of gamers.

Progressive jackpot slots generally have high to very high volatility.  This puts a burden on one’s gaming budget and is a major reason we encourage gamers to play progressive slots in moderation. Even playing progressive slots in moderation will infuse a gamer’s brain with dopamine!

Thus, playing progressive slots is fun but requires self-control lest it get out of hand.

Slots Play Casinos Looks at the Casino Gaming World and Reports Back to Gamers

We have reviewed a large number of casinos.  We also have reviewed hundreds of slots.  We have published gaming guides for slots, roulette, and blackjack.  We have a guide to having fun at an online casino.

We also recognize that land-based casinos continue to attract gamers and we cover that area as well but our emphasis is on online casino gaming.

For convenience and comfort plus the ability to better manage one’s time and money, online casinos are much more conducive to having fun at the casino.  Land-based casinos are hundreds of years old (not all of them, of course).  In 2024, online casinos will celebrate 30 years since the first online casino popped up in 1994.

We believe that the future is toward online casinos and we are happy to be able to report on goings on in that niche.


Jack Marsh Picture
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Jack Marsh enjoys examining the world around him from many different points of view: the mathematical, the psychological, the political, and the philosophical.

He will write from a mathematical perspective on why the cards fall the way they do, from a psychological perspective on why gamblers gamble the way they do, from a political perspective on why forms of entertainment that are encouraged in one place are prohibited in another, and from a philosophical perspective on the nature of happiness ... [Read Jack Marsh full bio]