What Are Progressive Jackpot Slots? Variations, Strategies, & More

Modern-day slot machines have roots that date back to German mechanics in 1890s San Francisco. Charles August Fey created a countertop three-reel slot machine dubbed ‘The Liberty Bell’ with an average return-to-player (RTP) of 86%. It previously paid $5.00 for the highest winning combination of 4-11-44.

Fast forward to International Gaming Technology (IGT) releasing the first ever progressive jackpot slot, Megabucks, nearly a century later in 1986, linking slots in Nevada by phone line.

So, what are progressive jackpots?

Progressive jackpots are casino games with large prizes that increase in size with every bet to form an expanding prize pool until a player triggers a predetermined winning combination. Learn more about these fun, unique casino games below.

More on Progressive Jackpots

How to Understand Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpot options at online casinos generally come from progressive jackpot slots. Casinos and their partners set the seed money (lowest possible win amount) after a game supplier establishes a random number generator (RNG) to determine the chances of winning a progressive jackpot.

The odds of winning a progressive jackpot may depend on several factors, such as triggering a bonus game, wagering a maximum bet, the jackpot size, and the number of players participating.

Ways to Win Progressive Jackpots

The first step to winning a jackpot prize is to find a game with an accumulating pool. Check the availability of an online casino’s progressive jackpot games, usually found via a “Jackpots” section at real money online casinos.

The Caesars Palace Online Casino provides a “Progressive Jackpots” category, while the DraftKings Casino supplies various progressive jackpots for its games and multiple jackpots (including a main jackpot) for an additional small stake between $0.10 and $0.25 along with a base game wager.

Here are a few specific ways to win a progressive jackpot at slot machines, usually labeled progressive jackpot slots, and other games.

Bonus Round

Triggering bonus rounds can help you win progressive jackpot slots at legal online gambling sites.

In Almighty Buffalo Megaways Jackpot Royale (White Hat Studios/Big Time Gaming), four Jackpot Royale overlay symbols in the top reels trigger the Jackpot Royale Bonus on any stake. Accumulate Crowns during the bonus round to climb the win ladder.

Enter the Wheel King section of the feature with 15 or more Jackpot Royale symbols for a chance to win a big total bet multiplier or a progressive jackpot.

Maximum Stake

For specific progressive slots, a player wins a jackpot only when they wager the maximum amount per the game rules of particular slot machines. Some progressives, like Imperial Wealth Quick Strike and MegaJackpots Cleopatra, offer better payouts from higher bets for the same game.

Some progressive jackpot slots also increase the odds of winning with higher bets.

Matching Paylines

Paylines are lines of single symbols or symbol combos that determine slot payouts. If you strike a particular payline, you could be eligible for a jackpot prize.

For the progressive slot Triple Jackpot Gems Deluxe(Everi), betting the maximum amount of $9 per spin makes a player eligible for five progressive jackpots across nine paylines. Three Jackpot Wild symbols on an active payline could pay between $229.99 and $18,499.99.

Triggering the special symbols on Tier 2 (paylines 1-8) means players could win the same prize on matching paylines for multiple jackpots on a single play—a unique way of delivering progressive jackpots if a lucky player wins.

Playing Hot Drop Jackpots

Hot Drop Jackpots may be progressive slots of various jackpot sizes. There could be smaller jackpots hourly or a big jackpot daily, while the biggest jackpot amount could be a “Super Jackpot.”

Since timing the jackpot prize might be too easy, you probably won’t find many “Hot Drop” progressive slots other than “Must Hit By” jackpots, which may eventually payout once they reach a designated limit like $20,000.

Random Number Generator

While practically all slot machines use random number generators, Diamond Cash Mighty Emperor (Greentube) is one example of a progressive slot game dependent on RNG odds for payouts.

The jackpot amount for four jackpots spread across multiple machines depends on a player’s wager size after a Diamond Cash Feature gets triggered by six or more diamonds, depicted by a Diamond Progress Meter.

As a progressive slot game with a bonus round based on an RNG reset after each spin, the game requires six or more diamonds to trigger three Free Spins for the Diamond Cash Feature. A Grand Jackpot top prize is awarded for filling the 5×3 play table with 15 Diamonds.

Random Win

Divine Fortune (NetEnt) is one of the most popular progressive slots with random odds of winning. The progressive slot machine offers a Jackpot Bonus Game randomly triggered by Falling Wilds Re-Spins or three or more Bonus symbols, each with random coin win values between 10x and 200x an initial wager.

The Jackpot Bonus Game offers various chances of winning one of three prizes, including the progressive Mega Jackpot, the largest jackpot payout, which increases with a player’s bet size.

Progressive Jackpot RTP

Progressive jackpot games at real money casino apps often draw considerable attention from new players and high-rollers alike. While the slot machines of the MegaJackpots series bring five-figure payouts to the forefront, it’s usually six-figure progressive slots that get featured the most before regular real money online slots.

Here’s a look at some of the top games:

🎰 Progressive Jackpot Slot Game Stats
MGM Grand Millions Highest Earnings: $4.40 million (Big Series)
RTP: 91.81%
Casino: BetMGM, Borgata, PartyCasino
Wheel of Fortune Triple Gold Gold Spin Highest Earnings: $1.37 million
RTP: 92.09%
Casino: BetMGM, Borgata, Caesars Palace, DraftKings, Golden Nugget, PartyCasino
DraftKings Progressive Jackpots (slots, table games, video poker, etc.) Highest Earnings: $1.15 million (Mega Jackpot)
RTP: depends on the game
Casino: DraftKings
MegaJackpots Cleopatra (and other MegaJackpots titles) Highest Earnings: $652,900
RTP: 92.48%
Casino: BetMGM, Borgata, Caesars Palace, DraftKings, Golden Nugget, PartyCasino
88 Fortunes Jackpot Festival Highest Earnings: $454,300
RTP: 96%
Casino: BetMGM, Borgata, Caesars Palace, PartyCasino

Variations of Progressive Jackpot Slot Games


Progressive jackpot slots take a small percentage of players’ wagers in various formats. To help you win a progressive jackpot, here’s a brief overview of jackpot slots and how they might share the same jackpot or offer a separate pot with less competition.

Local Jackpots

A slot machine offering a local jackpot might be an in-house game (or exclusive) available at multiple casinos. For example, the MGM brand includes BetMGM, Borgata, and PartyCasino. There’s also Golden Nugget Online Gaming, which falls under the DraftKings umbrella.

Multiple casinos may offer the same slot game with a small portion of a local jackpot distributed among players.

Network Progressive Slots

If a player won a network jackpot, they likely chose a slot machine (like Mega Moolah) available at multiple casinos regardless of company. The network accumulates with the maximum number of players possible.

Examples of network progressive slots include MegaJackpots, Jackpot Festival, and Wheel of Fortune.

Standalone Jackpot Slots

Standalone jackpot slots often include fewer players in a prize pool for less lucrative four-figure payouts. You may find these slots at smaller casino companies or through obscure games that aren’t as prominent as featured titles.

Best Progressive Jackpot Slot Games


Some of the gaming industry’s most popular titles include progressive slots like:

  • 88 Fortunes Jackpot Festival
  • Almighty Buffalo Megaways Jackpot Royale
  • Double Jackpot Gems
  • Divine Fortune
  • Mega Moolah

Players can discover the best progressive slots at top-notch companies like BetMGM, Caesars Palace, DraftKings, and FanDuel. When playing for jackpots, choosing a reputable company regulated in the U.S. and well-known for reliable payouts in annual installments is essential.

Progressive Jackpot Tips

Progressive jackpot slots offer the thrill of playing for a life-changing grand prize. Here are a few tips to make the most of your bankroll, including a first deposit offer that often comes with a casino welcome bonus.

  • Play on a Limited-Number Network: Standalone jackpot slots offer the best chances of winning a top prize, although payouts are generally lower than local or network progressives.
  • Pay attention to the betting requirements: Ensure you know the game’s rules to become eligible for jackpots. Know minimum betting requirements and what percentage each wager contributes to the prizes.
  • Choose slots with high RTP percentages: Playing a slot with a high RTP improves your odds of winning a grand prize. You’ll get better value from high RTP slots in the long run.

Progressive Jackpots FAQs

Still have questions about progressive jackpots? Check out these FAQs:

How much can I win playing progressive jackpots?

The casino and software provider determine how much you can win when playing progressive jackpots. Find a decent balance between the game’s return-to-player (RTP) average and current payout that suits your bankroll.

Can I win more by playing progressive jackpot slot games?

Progressive slots usually offer better payouts than a fixed jackpot but may pay out less frequently. Use the highest bet possible at progressives to maximize your winning potential.

Are progressive jackpots the best slot games to play?

The best slot games depend on your bankroll and appetite for risk versus reward. Games with lower odds typically offer higher payouts. However, they don’t pay out as frequently as games with higher odds or return-to-player (RTP) averages of 95% or above.

What is the largest progressive jackpot payout?

The Mega Moolah slot is well-known for offering the largest progressive payouts into the tens of millions of dollars. However, players at online casinos regulated in the U.S. might not have access to Mega Moolah. MGM typically offers the highest payouts, including its MGM Grand Millions slot.

Can I find progressive slots on any online casino app?

Online casino apps offer various progressive slots on their mobile apps. Top-rated options include BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

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