Progressive jackpot slots combine entertaining themes and bonus features with a shot at winning huge prizes. The biggest slot jackpots have top prizes which are life-changing for some lucky winners. You can enjoy playing the best progressive jackpot slots both online and at live casinos around Canada. In addition to the giant prizes – smaller progressives are being hit every day.
This page covers everything you need to get the best from progressive slots in Canada. Understanding how these games work, the ways to win a big prize and the many smaller pay outs available will let you make an informed choice. You will also find information on specific jackpots, popular jackpot slots and practical information on laws, taxes, and bonuses below.
Difference between progressive vs. standard slots
All slot machine games give you the opportunity to win big prizes. Some of them pay well for lining up the top symbols. Others have big pay outs from bonus games – or those rare spins where you cover the entire screen in wilds.
Progressive jackpots work by increasing based on the money put into a slot. Every time someone spins, a portion of their bet is used for growing the jackpot prizes. The main ‘Grand’ prizes make the headlines – though there are often multiple smaller progressives. A popular setup is to have 4 jackpots on each machine – a mini, minor, major, and grand.
Jackpots are triggered in many different ways. Some slots simply need you to line up symbols on a specific line. Others will award the big money though bonus features – for example, the Hold and Spin bonuses of Lightning Link / Dragon Link slots. Some slots have picks bonus rounds, and others will pay jackpots completely randomly.
The long-term returns from jackpot slots are similar to games without progressives. Depending on the denomination, this can be from 90% to 97% of money put in. These returns include the occasional big jackpot win. This means that most players will experience smaller returns in the short-term. This extra volatility from progressive slot machines is balanced by the added enjoyment of having a genuine shot at big money.
Biggest progressive jackpot slots in Canada
Head to any live casino in Canada, and you will find a choice of slots with progressive jackpots. Most of them are created by the big international casino game producers including Aristocrat, IGT and Scientific Games.
Some jackpots are shared between different cabinets within a casino. Others are shared between multiple casinos in a province. The ‘Smoke Signals’ progressives in Saskatchewan is an example of a provincial jackpot. You can win this $1 million+ prize in any casino in SK.
Online casinos have progressive slot games from different studios. Specialists including MicroGaming and NetEnt have awarded some of the biggest jackpots ever paid. You will find online versions of live casino slots too, including many favourites found in VLTs.
You can see some examples of the most popular types of progressive slots below:
The PowerBucks range of games are produced by slot giant IGT. This game can be played at live casinos around Canada, and at selected provincial online gaming portals, for example in Ontario.
This range of games offer five levels of progressive jackpot – with the largest prize seeded $1 million. You can win the jackpot prize across any of the games at participating casinos. The prize pool grows quickly with so many casinos participating.
Themes include PowerBucks Wheel of Fortune Exotic Far East, PowerBucks Wheel of Fortune Hawaiian Getaway and PowerBucks Arctic Gems. The largest ever prize won on a PowerBucks slot was over $2.2 million. This was won by an online player in Ontario playing the Wheel of Fortune Exotic Far East game in June 2020.
Lightning Link from Aristocrat
The Lightning Link range of slots were created by Aristocrat Gaming. The ‘Hold and Spin’ bonus would trigger other slot makers to develop similar bonus rounds. Aristocrat also make an Asian-themed version of these games, under the ‘Dragon Link’ name.
These games have four jackpot prizes – mini, minor, major, and grand. Two of them (major and grand) are progressive. Grand progressives are linked between the games in each casino, they are seeded at $10,000 and grow from there. Major jackpots are also progressive, they are machine specific, and will max out at $1000.
There are 16 games in the Lighting Link range. They share the hold and spin bonus feature – and have a variety of free spins bonuses specific to each title. Popular titles include Wild Chuco, Happy Lantern, Sahara Gold and Magic Pearl.
Lightning and Dragon Link games have not yet made it to online casinos in Canada.
Quick Hit progressive slots
The Quick Hit range from Bally has been around since the days of mechanical slots. You can win an instant progressive jackpot on any spin. Special symbols showing the Quick Hit logo trigger an escalating range of progressives. Get 9 of these symbols on a spin, and you win the biggest prize.
From their traditional start, Quick Hit slots now come in more than 30 different versions. Each has different bonus features. They include free spins with multipliers, wheel spin bonuses, picks games and locking wild symbols. Themes range from traditional (bars, bells, and cherries) to exotic and unique.
You will find Bally Quick Hit slots in casinos across Canada. There are now versions of these games online too. If you want to win the biggest progressive, make sure you read the rules for each game. Max bet is frequently needed to trigger the big prize.
MegaJackpots from IGT
The MegaJackpots progressive jackpot range of slots can be played online in select provinces (available in Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and more). This progressive jackpot is shared between the most popular IGT slots. It can be won by hitting 5 of the unique MegaJackpots symbols on the middle row on selected games. Note that max bet is required.
Games include Mega Jackpots Wheel of Fortune on Air, Cleopatra, Monopoly and Cluedo. The largest ever prize won at these games in Canada was more than $3.5 million.
Smoke Signals Jackpot in Saskatchewan
If you have ever played at a casino in Saskatchewan, you will know all about the Smoke Signals progressive jackpot. This prize is seeded at $1 million and must be won by the time it reaches $2 million. When the total gets close to the ‘must win by’ level, you will find the linked Smoke Signals slots in high demand.
It is joined by the smaller Rider Nation progressive prize, which pays out between $50,000 and $100,000.
Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune
MicroGaming and NetEnt are two of the biggest producers of online slots. They have multiple games with progressive jackpots. Two of these games – Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune – have been vying for the world record of the biggest prize won online for many years.
The Mega Moolah slot has paid some impressive jackpots, paying out almost 19 million Euros to the lucky winner. This slot has a cartoon-like African wildlife theme. While it looks retro, the concentric bonus wheel feature is as high-stakes as online slots can be.
Mega Fortune from NetEnt has a slick ‘Life of Luxury’ diamond studded design. The biggest prize ever paid on this slot was the equivalent of $25 million CAD.
Pros and cons of progressive jackpot slots
The obvious advantage of playing progressive jackpot slots is the shot at winning an incredible sum of money with just one spin. This adds excitement to any game. Just like with lottery tickets, you get to dream about what you would spend the money on while you play.
Even if you are not lucky enough to win the major prize, many of these slots offer impressive secondary prizes. A ‘minor’ win for $1000 will make for a memorable evening in your local casino.
The range of jackpot slots includes many of the classics covered above. Many of the newest branded games now have progressive prizes too. Slots based on TV, movies and bands offer themed bonus features – and many have giant progressives too.
There are some disadvantages of playing a progressive jackpot slots that savvy gamblers need to be aware of. The main factor is that with the large prize on offer, the regular pay outs in the game will be on the smaller side in comparison to other slots. That money to make the jackpot grow needs to come from somewhere – and the prizes for regular line hits need to be smaller (or less frequent) to balance the jackpot pool.
You can also find that progressive jackpot slots usually need higher bets to have a shot at the jackpot prizes. This can take two forms. First, some slots will only pay the biggest progressive if you bet the maximum. Older games require you to bet every line to win the big prize. For example, a mechanical slot with 5 win-lines will have a jackpot that can be triggered only on line 5.
Best sweepstakes casinos with progressive slots
Alongside the standard casino jackpots, players in Canada also have the chance to win jackpot prizes at sweepstakes casinos. These sites offer a slightly different gaming experience. They use laws designed for marketing style sweepstakes contests to legally offer casino gaming in Canada.
Brands including FunzPoints and Chumba Casino treat their slots as super-short sweepstakes contests. Many of these slots have progressive jackpots. They can’t sell you coins directly, and so use a dual-currency model. Players buy coins for entertainment only. The sweepstakes casinos then give you their premium coins ‘free’. You use them to enter contests (play slots) and can cash out what you win.
Sweepstakes casinos have been around for 5 years and are hugely popular in both Canada and the US. Their slots are unique, with many of the progressive jackpots reaching large sums.
Types of progressive jackpots
Not only can the jackpot prizes vary on individual machines, they are often be linked with other slots. Keep in mind that some slots will have a mix – with the biggest prize linked, and smaller jackpots for that machine only.
There are three types of progressive jackpot slot games from single to provincial level:
- Standalone Progressive Jackpots: When playing these games, the jackpot is localized to this individual machine. The more the individual game is played, the higher the jackpot prize will get.
- Locally Linked Progressive Jackpots: These progressive jackpots are linked to an individual casino, across a bank of games. Examples include a bank of Lightning Link slots, which will share a ‘grand’ jackpot, though have individual ‘major’ prizes.
- Provincially Linked Progressive Jackpots: These are the games that offer the largest prizes, being part of a network. With slots at multiple casinos contributing to the prize pool, these are the biggest progressives. They can be won from any location.
Are progressive slots legal in Canada?
Slots are legal in Canada. Each province licenses casinos independently, with VLTs and online gambling portals vary in availability. Online portals such as Espacejeux in QC and the portals in BC and ON offer a wide range of slots, including many with progressive jackpots.
A big advantage for Canadians that win progressive jackpots is that no tax is paid on gambling winnings. The only exception to this is if you are a professional gambler. Compared to other countries, the ability to win a multi-million prize and enjoy it tax-free is a big plus.
Guide to slot bonuses and rewards schemes
While you will not win a progressive jackpot too often – you can get rewards every time you spin a slot by signing up with the loyalty reward schemes offered by casinos around Canada. These schemes are free to join. You will receive a card which tracks your play, unlocking rewards, discounts, and promotions. Here are the main reasons to sign up:
- Accumulate points for free play: Directly earn rewards as you play. Whenever you insert your card into a slot, it will track your play. This will let you accumulate points, which can be exchanged for free slots play and other bonuses.
- Restaurant / Bar / Store discounts: Casinos offer discounts and promotions across their dining and entertainment facilities for loyalty scheme members. Some venues will let you directly spend the points you accumulate on food or drink.
- Special promotions: Casinos run regular promotions, encouraging play during quiet times, offering draws with big prizes, or simply giving players free slot spins on their birthday. If you leave your e-mail address when you register, you can keep track of these offers easily.
- VIP benefits: Many loyalty schemes have tiers. As you accumulate points, you move up through predetermined levels. In the top tiers, you can unlock VIP benefits, and may even qualify for a host.
To sign up, simply head to guest services at the casino. You will need a government issued photo ID such as a driving license, to complete the sign up.
When playing slots online you can find a variety of different sign-up bonuses. Many of these will come in the form of a deposit bonus. You make a deposit and receive a bonus payment at 100% or more of the deposit total. Other bonuses when playing online progressive slots include free spins, or cash back rebates.
Slot bonus features with big win potential
Slots which require you to line up jackpot symbols to trigger a progressive are older games. These days, most jackpots are won via bonus features. Even if you miss the progressive, there are many ways you can take home big prizes.
Here are the most popular bonus features that have progressive jackpot prizes:
- Bonus wheels: This type of bonus started with mechanical slots (the famous Wheel of Fortune games from IGT). These days, virtual wheel spins trigger free spins, cash awards, initiate bonus games and trigger jackpots.
- Picks bonuses: Many casino games offer players the chance to make picks on the screen. You might get to pick several items, each offering a cash prize, a multiplier – or even free spins. An example if the 88 Fortunes slot, which awards one of 4 jackpots when you pick 3 matching symbols.
- Free spins: Free spins bonus features are a popular format across all the major slot brands. These might come due to additional wilds, expanding symbols or multipliers on your wins. Other ideas include sticky wilds, or games where the lower paying symbols disappear – giving you a better shot at a jackpot win.
- Hold and Spin: On Lightning Link and Dragon Link slots, the only way to trigger the biggest (grand) jackpot is via the Hold and Spin. To get this you need to fill all 15 squares on the reels with special prize symbols. Many slot producers now award jackpots via similar bonuses. Examples include Ultimate Fire Link, Mighty Cash and Lock it Link.
Wrapping up: progressive slots in Canada
Fans of slots know that having a shot at winning a life-changing progressive jackpot makes play much more enjoyable. Even if you don’t win the big prize, there are smaller jackpots, bonus features and line hits to enjoy along the way.
You will find huge progressives both at live casinos across Canada, and online via the provincial portals or sweepstakes casinos. You should always read the rules before you spin. This will highlight any minimum bet or lines played required to be in with a shot at the biggest prize.