Comparing National Lotteries to Progressive Jackpot Games


Comparing National Lotteries to Progressive Jackpot Games

13 September 2019

When EuroMillions launched as a transnational lottery 15 years ago, it had one basic concept at its heart – use economies of scale to create bigger prizes. If, for example, you compared the Irish national lottery, based in a country of just over 4.5 million, to a lottery spanning countries like France, Spain, the UK and several others, then it’s easy to see what the organisers like Camelot and Française des Jeux had in mind back in 2004. It was basic economies of scale in action. A bigger pool of players to create a bigger prize pool.

In a similar vein, the developers of online casino games have thought along the same lines, by creating games connected through progressive jackpots. These games have lottery-sized jackpots. For example, at the time of writing the top prizes in jackpot games like Mega Moolah and Gladiator, games which can be found at, are worth around €4 million and €2.8 million respectively. It’s hardly small change, but the size of these jackpots can grow to be much bigger, reaching up to €20 million.

Slot jackpots work like pan-national lotteries

How, then, do casinos create these jackpots? Well, they don’t exactly. The online casinos are simply the middlemen, just as your local shop is the middleman for the national lottery. It is the software developers who pay and organise these jackpots, although the casinos will usually provide a seed fund, a base amount for the prize.

It works like this: The software developers will create a game, and then link that game across different online casinos and across different countries. Each spin on these games will add about 1% of the player’s bet to the jackpot fund. It’s not enough for the player to really notice, but when 1000s of players are spinning millions of times, it really adds up. The idea is that the jackpot will pay out to a random player once it has reached a predetermined figure. RNG (random number generator) software is used to ensure that nobody knows this figure, keeping it fair.

Can we compare this to the lottery? Well, a standard EuroMillions ticket in Ireland costs €2.50, and you can play a spin on a big jackpot game like Mega Moolah for €0.25. However, it should be noted that a higher bet increases your chances of winning a progressive jackpot. This is due to the fact that the player awarded the jackpot is the one that play the spin that pushed the top prize over that predetermined threshold. It follows, therefore, that a higher bet will be more likely to break that threshold.

Secondary prizes also very lucrative

Of course, these games, just like the lottery, have plenty in the way of secondary prizes. And games like Mega Moolah, Age of the Gods and Superman Slot have tiered jackpots. So, outside the main prize, you could find payouts worth around €10K, €1K or €100. Moreover, there is also the fact you could win some cash with the main slot game.

In the end, instead of comparing and contrasting progressive slot games with national lotteries, it’s arguably better to lump them together. Casino players have a spin on progressive slots with much the same attitude as lottery players. They know it’s not likely to be them that triggers the big one, that the odds are stacked against. But, nevertheless, they play in the knowledge that there is a slim chance that they win that life-changing sum of money.