Back in the day, casino gaming giants Microgaming came up with an idea for a different kind of slot game. One that would offer not just one, but four progressive jackpot payouts and crucially, the biggest of those would be guaranteed to at least be worth £1 million, or an equivalent amount in any of the currencies you could play the slot in.
That slot was called Mega Moolah and over the years, the progressive jackpot prizes that the original game was named after, have been a key component in a number of other slot games, most still available to play today, although a couple have since been retired from active duty.
In this article, we are going to take a trawl through the history of the Mega Moolah slot, focusing on the different games that have been, or still are, a part of this famous progressive jackpot network.
It is a journey that spans over many years, which has seen over 60 different people claim the massive Mega Moolah top jackpot prize, the Mega Jackpot, one of whom has been confirmed as a Guinness World Record holder. In that same time, countless Major, Minor and Mini jackpots have been paid out, all contributing to the €1 billion-plus that Microgaming has paid out to lucky winners on their progressive jackpot network over the years.
To begin, we need to travel back in time when the very first slot in the network was released into casinos. The start of what was an epic and somewhat suitably, progressive journey which, as we will discover, continues today unabated.
The original slot has become legendary with slot players since its release. A 25 pay line slot that could offer you the chance of a massive jackpot prize, usually of well over a million from just 0.25 per spin, was almost unheard of at the time of release.
However, Mega Moolah’s longevity and appeal goes beyond its link to the progressive jackpot prizes that share its name. The base game is one of the most appealing standalone slots you can play today. Based on a safari theme, regular wins in the base game made Mega Moolah stand out from other progressive that tenaciously hung onto their money and offered fewer payouts.
Add to that a sizeable base game jackpot of 75,000 coins and it was easy to see why the game appealed so much. Then on top of that, you have the Lion Wild which offered a 2x multiplier on any wins it was part of, and then a Free Spins bonus round, which had an automatic 3x multiplier on every win, meaning you could win up to 225,000 coins in the standard game alone, without even touching the progressive jackpot.
Over the years, Mega Moolah has produced more millionaire winners than any other progressive jackpot game you can find online and its popularity has only increased over the years. It remains Microgaming’s most popularly played slots of all time.
However, in those early years, online slot gaming was not as established or embedded as it is now and it took a little while for the game to get traction. To help it and promote its new huge progressive jackpot prize, Microgaming decided to add a trio of games, reworkings of older slot games, each now linked to the new Mega Moolah progressive jackpot prize.
Mega Moolah Isis
The Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility, among many other things, was the inspiration for the first of what would prove to be three additions to the Mega Moolah network. In all cases, Microgaming took a standard but popular game of the time, and gave it a slight tweak in order to allow a version of that game to be tied in to the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot network.
Mega Moolah Isis featured a jackpot of 10,000x your bet in the base game and 25 pay lines in play. It’s most appealing feature for many, other than the huge progressive jackpot prize on offer, was the Free Spins bonus round, which could see you land up to 30 Free Spins and a chance to earn some of the bigger cash prizes on the game.
The game used the same trigger mechanism of the original Mega Moolah slot, with entirely random qualifying spins selected for a shot at one of the four jackpot prizes available on the bonus wheel. The same trigger method would be used in both the other two Mega Moolah-linked games released at the time and outlined below.
Mega Moolah Summertime
Mega Moolah Summertime was based on a a 9 pay line slot and it too had a jackpot of 10,000 coins, the same as Isis. One big difference was the theme, with this game being based on, as the title suggests, summertime relaxation and enjoyment.
The Free Spins bonus round saw up to 15 Free Spins available and you could re-trigger the bonus from within the Free Spins round itself. It offered a very different way to play than either Isis or Mega Moolah, which were both 25-line slot games.
Mega Moolah 5-Reel Drive
A five reel slot with 15 pay lines in play together with the same 10,000 coin jackpot that you got in the base game of the other two Mega Moolah slots relased at this time. Mega Moolah 5-Reel Drive was an Americana based slot game that focused on the Americans love of the roads.
In many ways this game was the most appealing of the three as it had an instantly likeable and distinguishable theme and perhaps most key of all, it is the only slot that we can confirm has spawned a winner of the top Mega Moolah jackpot prize out of the three that were released at the same time following the release of the original game.
A short time later, Microgaming would further expand the Mega Moolah universe, but this time they looked elsewhere and with TV and film tie in slots proving to be especially popular with players, it was not altogether too surprising that the two slots next released fitted in with this genre.
Lord of the Rings
Based on the Peter Jackson film of the same name, Lord of the Rings was a fantastic 5×3 reel slot that offered 243 Ways to Win in the base game. However, it’s stay as a slot would be short lived.
While it was available, fans could enjoy a hugely expansive slot that used characters from the film and cut sequences take direct from the movie to enhance their experience. The game was a nice step up in technology and cinematic reel presentation.
Lord of the Rings was shelved after a relatively short period of time, chiefly due to licensing issues we think, especially given that at the time the Lord of the Rings film trilogy was proving to be a smash hit success and the cost of the license was likely to increase sharply due to competitors also bidding for those rights. So Microgaming knew that after withdrawing the game they’d need to give their customers a fitting replacement. Enter the Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight
With Lord of the Rings banished to Mordor, Microgaming’s brainwave to replace the slot was to visit Gotham City with the launch of The Dark Knight slot. Another fantastically cinematic game experience, the slot featured many of the characters from The Dark Knight film including Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne, The Joker (played memorably by Heath Ledger) and of course, the Batman himself.
Despite being a huge hit, this slot too would eventually run into issues with licensing, although before it was decommissioned, it did spawn one famous winner when one lucky player named John Orchard landed what was then the biggest ever Mega Moolah jackpot prize of over £5.8 million back in December 2012.
After The Dark Knight fell, the popularity of the Mega Moolah slot grew rapidly and the game enjoyed massive success in the following years. So much so that Microgaming probably felt that they didn’t need to do a great deal with the progressive network. After all, if something is working very well, why try to fix it?
However, fast forward to 2019 and there were murmurs of a potentially new addition to the Mega Moolah jackpot network and those rumours proved to be true when the first new game in many years was eventually released in November 2019 and not only did it offer a fresh new look, but also a new way to trigger the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot prize.
Mega Vault Millionaire
Microgaming had promised a few surprised with the release of the Mega Vault Millionaire slot and as always, the company didn’t disappoint. Firstly, the game was the first Mega Moolah slot that was exclusively available on the Casino Rewards casinos, meaning that you had to be a member of one of the casinos in the group to play the game.
The game was similar to the original Mega Moolah in a number of ways. It has 25 pay lines in play and could be played from as little as 0.25 per spin. The maximum bet was also 6.25, the same as the original Mega Moolah.
However, it was also different in many ways, most notably in how the Mega Moolah jackpot could be won. To fit in with the bank vault theme, in Mega Vault Millionaire, players had to unlock up to three bank vaults, one after the next, in order to win one of the four progressive jackpot prizes.
On the first vault, you could win the Mini Jackpot prize or progress to the second jackpot vault. On the second you could win the Minor Jackpot prize, or progress to the third vault. The third vault is the most exciting as you are guaranteed to win either the Major or the Mega Jackpot prize.
There’s no doubt that players at other casinos would have been casting an envious glance at those able to play Mega Vault Millionaire, but they would only have a short time to wait before they too could be playing a brand new Mega Moolah slot game.
In February 2020, after a limited release across a small group of casinos, the next Mega Moolah slot in the series was released to much acclaim. The Atlantean Treasures slot offered something exciting and different to any previous Mega Moolah slot game.
First off, it was the cheapest ever Mega Moolah slot, with spins available from just 0.10 per spin. Secondly, it was a 10 pay line slot that offered players the chance to win both ways across the reels on each spin.
However, one big difference with this slot was that not every spin could be a Mega Moolah progressive winner. To stand a chance of triggering a shot at the jackpot you had to land a special overlaid symbol, called the Progressive Trigger Symbol, on the reel on a spin. If that appeared, your spin would have a chance of triggering the Jackpot Bonus game. If it did not, then it would not.
With Expanding Wilds on the reels, granting Free Respins, this new slot offered the game-play such as Aurora Wilds, but with a chance to play for the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot prizes.
All that remained was for Microgaming to bring back a 243 Ways to Win slot to make their Mega Moolah line up complete, and in May 2020, that is precisely what they did.
Released in early May 2020, the Absolootly Mad slot is based on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book by Lewis Carroll. It is the first 243 Ways to Win slot on the Mega Moolah progressive network since the Lord of the Rings.
Spins start at just 0.20 per spin and this lower variance game offers regular wins to players. It is also the first Mega Moolah slot to feature Rolling Reels and a Multiplier Trail in both the base game and also during a Free Spins bonus round which can prove especially lucrative to players if they get lucky.
The progressive jackpot game is unlocked by players collecting the Mad Hatters Gold Coin in the base game. The more of these coins you collect before triggering a Rolling Reels bonus by landing a win, then the more chance you have of landing a shot at the progressive jackpot prize when you trigger a win (only wins trigger a shot at the jackpot bonus wheel in this game).
Absolootly Mad offers Mega Moolah fans a completely different game to anything that has been available previously and it is the latest slot to join what is an illustrious list of Mega Moolah slots over the years.
It remains to be seen if this is going to be Microgaming’s Mega Moolah line up going forward. However my money is on a few more slots being added to this list in the forthcoming years as this progressive jackpot legend goes from strength to strength