Progressive Slots

Progressive slots are special casino games that offer higher jackpots than regular slot machines.

A progressive jackpot is available at most land-based casinos in the US. And many legal online casinos in the US now offer progressive jackpot slots where you can win millions for a relatively small stake.

With a progressive slot like Divine Fortune, a portion of every bet goes toward the jackpot. And with unclaimed jackpots reaching six figures, it’s easy to see why US slot players keep coming back for a shot at a huge prize.

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Every online gambler deserves a safe and fair place to play. Our mission at Gambling.com is to create a safe online environment for players through free, impartial and independent reviews of the best online gambling companies in the US so that you can play with confidence and security. All ratings and reviews are made independently of the operator by our team of gaming experts and with every company being fully licensed to operate in the US they can be trusted to offer fair play. We accept compensation from the companies advertised on this page and this may affect the brand positioning. We endeavour to continuously update this list so we can bring you the most current sites and the best available offers but we cannot review every site in the market.

Progressive Slots Casino Tips

What are Progressive Slots and How do they Work?

Progressive slot machines are unique casino games that pay out special jackpots to players.

In essence, progressives work the same way as other slot games . You set your betting level, hit the Spin button and get paid when you match symbols on active win lines in a winning combination. You can even trigger bonuses like free spins.

Jackpots in the slot base game are fixed. So, if you win a 4,000-coin jackpot at $1, you will win $4,000.

However, a progressive jackpot can grow depending on the number of players that contribute to the prizepool. The more players who contribute, the bigger the jackpot gets.

A fraction of each new bet will be added to the big prize when you play a progressive jackpot game. It might be as low as 1% of the total stake. However, you may contribute up to 4% of your stake toward a jackpot.

In many cases, you will only be eligible for the biggest jackpot if you’re betting the maximum stake. In general, the more you bet, the more chances you will have of triggering the progressive.

A progressive jackpot is won either at random of by triggering a special bonus feature. It might involve matching hidden symbols or spinning a prize wheel. So, even if you activate a bonus feature, you still may leave empty-handed.

Once the progressive jackpot has been won, the prize is reset. In most big progressives, the jackpot is “seeded” to a minimum level.

Many progressive slots feature three or four separate jackpots that seed at different amounts. For instance, it’s common for a slot to have a small ‘Mini’ jackpot that may seed at $10 and a giant ‘Mega’ jackpot that seeds at $1 million.

Standalone Progressives

There are three main types of progressive slot. The most basic is the standalone progressive. This is a slot machine that isn’t connected in a network with other games. The jackpot simply increases with every bet made on that one slot machine.

Understandably, therefore, a standalone progressive jackpot will usually be smaller than prizes linked across multiple machines.

Some legal online casinos in the US offer exclusive progressive slots. These can only be played at that one casino and offer a single top jackpot.

Local Progressives

Local progressive slot machines, also known as “in-house progressives” or “proprietary progressives,” are linked across one casino building. A single land based casino may operate a dozen games, all feeding into the same progressive jackpot. And to win the biggest jackpot, you must be playing the game on the casino premises.

Legal online casinos in the United States have their own versions of local progressives. They may offer several different games from the same software developer, all feeding into a single jackpot.

Wide Area Progressives

Wide area progressive jackpot slots offer the biggest prizes. These are special slots that are played across multiple casinos. Machines may also be found in casinos across several states.

The jackpot meter will be electronically linked to a central server. Therefore, the same jackpot total will be displayed on the slot machine, whether you play in Nevada, New Jersey or Michigan.

Wide area progressive slots can now be played online in the US. A linked jackpot game may be offered on the same game at online casinos in regulated states like New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Online progressives in the US still fall some way short of land-based jackpots. However, with more states legalizing online casinos, the top prizes are getting bigger and bigger.

Most Popular Online Progressive Jackpot Slot Games

Progressive slots are extremely popular with online casino players in the US. It’s no surprise, either, given the huge payouts that can be won.

Online progressive slots are fairly new to the US, but some of the most popular games regularly pay out five and six-figure jackpots.

Jackpots will always rise until they are triggered. It’s important, then, to keep an eye on the prize tickers in the casino lobby. Every online casino with progressives will provide a running jackpot total.

Here are 10 of the biggest progressive slot machines in the US in 2020:

Biggest Progressive Slot Wins

Progressive slot machines have been paying out life-changing prizes for decades. The biggest land-based jackpots far surpass those seen at online casinos in the US.

The biggest progressive jackpot ever is the $39,710,826 won by a software engineer in 2003. The LA resident took down the jackpot playing IGT’s Megabucks slot at the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas.

But before that Vegas progressive slots win, a local waitress won $34.9 million at the Desert Inn. Cynthia Jay won the jackpot in 2000 on the same Megabucks game.

Megabucks had broken more records in 1998 when a 67-year-old retiree won $27.5 million from a $300 bet at the Palace Station casino. Incredibly, the winner had already won $680,000 playing another progressive slot machine at the same casino some years earlier.

You can also play and win online progressive jackpot slots in some regulated US states. Most networks, like IGT, will pay out prizes in a single lump sum. IGT currently offers a range of online progressives in the US, such as Cleopatra Mega Jackpots and Isle of Plenty.

Although not available legally in the US, Microgaming progressive slots have awarded some huge online payouts over the years. In fact, the Microgaming progressive jackpot network has triggered millions of wins and over $1 billion in prize money.

Microgaming currently holds the world record for an online progressive jackpot payout. In late 2018, Mega Moolah paid out an online jackpot of $22,229,366. The winner received the entire amount in one lump sum. That is usually the case with Microgaming progressive slots.

Before 2018, NetEnt’s Mega Fortune also broke the world record for an online progressive slots jackpot. The biggest win on the game’s Mega Jackpot stands at $20.75 million, won online in 2018.

You can also play the NetEnt progressive slot, Divine Fortune, in some legal states. Some Pennsylvania online casinos have paid out Divine Fortune prizes worth over $250,000. In 2019, one Pennsylvania gambler took down a payout worth $376,893.


Check Out: The Best Pennsylvania Online Slot Sites.


Progressive Slot Game Developers

Most of the major software developers have produced progressive slot machines. Some developers produce games for both offline and online casinos. However, there are some excellent producers who make progressives exclusively for online casinos.

IGT: IGT (International Game Technology) is a US slots producer that makes games for offline and online casinos. It is also responsible for Megabucks, the game that provided the largest slot machine jackpot ever.

Megabucks has produced dozens of millionaires and paid out well over $600 million in prize money. However, IGT is also known for their exciting MegaJackpots slots online.

Games like Siberian Storm MegaJackpots and Cleopatra Mega Jackpots are linked across many participating casinos.

Microgaming: The Microgaming jackpot network features some of the world’s biggest progressive slots.

Games like Mega Moolah and Mega Moolah Isis are shared among hundreds of online casinos outside the US. Mega Moolah currently holds the world record for a progressive jackpot payout.

NetEnt: Swedish slots developer NetEnt has developed several progressives including Divine Fortune and the record-breaking Mega Fortune. NetEnt progressive slot machines are also available to play in regulated US states, including top slots sites In New Jersey.

Bally: US manufacturer Bally is behind some of the largest Vegas progressive slots. The Millionaire 777s slot is a wide-area progressive built on Bally’s Thrillions platform. After a jackpot is won on Millionaire 777s, it is reset to $1 million.

You can also play online slot adaptations of some of Bally’s most popular progressives. Hot Shot Progressive and Blazing Sevens Hot Shot Progressive replicate the land-based slot in an online casino setting.

Playtech: Playtech progressive slots are available to play in many jurisdictions outside the US. For years, Playtech’s biggest progressives were the Marvel Jackpots range until Disney took over the comic book company.

Since then, Playtech has adapted its software to develop the Age of the Gods slots. The Age of the Gods Mystery Jackpot is a multi-level game with four separate prizes.

Mobile Progressive Slots and Apps

Progressive jackpot games aren’t reserved for online and land-based slots players. A slots player can also access progressive slots on a smartphone or tablet.

Regulated online casinos in the US offer a range of progressives that are adapted to work on your portable device. Make a deposit through the mobile cashier and play the same great progressives as you will find online.

Often, mobile jackpots are linked across all participating casinos. And it’s simple to get started. Either download the native casino app and game via one of our trusted gambling sites. Or, simply log in and play through your mobile web browser.

At Gambling.com, we offer reviews and thoughts on a great selection of mobile casinos. Each one offers an unrivaled gaming experience and lots of real money progressive jackpot games.


CHECK OUT: The Best Free Online Slots Games


Who Pays Progressive Slot Winnings?

Progressive slot machines pay out a variety of prizes of different sizes. Typically, the casino will stump up the prize money if you hit one of the lower jackpots. However, the slots manufacturer will usually take care of large wide-area jackpots.

In Las Vegas, you will have two ways to receive a progressive jackpot payout. You can usually collect a portion of the jackpot right away. You will then have a month or two to claim the rest of the cash. You can then choose between receiving all the prize money at once, or spreading the payouts over a number of years.

Lifetime Payout: A lifetime payout will see you being paid annually over a 25- to 30-year period. The time scale varies depending on the slot developer. For developers like IGT and Bally, for instance, it’s 25 years.

One-Off Lump Sum Payment: You can also opt for a smaller one-off payment if you want the money in one transaction.

Taxes: You will usually be liable for tax on any progressive jackpot win in the US. Certainly, if you are registered to pay tax in the United States, you will have to declare the win to the IRS.

However, some countries have tax waiver arrangements with the US. If you are visiting the US and have a big win on the progressive jackpot slots, you may be able to keep it all.

You must declare any jackpot win over $1,200. Fill out a W-DG form at the casino to report your good fortune. If you don’t give the casino your Social Security number, they will automatically deduct 28% from the jackpot total.

Most big Vegas progressive slots pay out over $5,000. In this instance, your win will be added to your yearly income. This could well push you into a higher tax bracket, where you may end up paying 40% tax on the total amount.

Progressive Slot Games – Maximum Betting and T&Cs

A progressive jackpot is made up of contributions from every eligible bet. Typically, around 1-4% of your stake may go toward the shared jackpot. You must play in real money to be eligible for the jackpot.

Many progressive slots require you to bet the maximum amount in order to qualify for the top prize. But some slots simply give you more of a chance of triggering the jackpot if you bet more.

When you place your stake, you are effectively buying lottery tickets that give you a shot at winning the top prize. The tickets are chosen at random on any spin. Therefore, the more you bet, the more “tickets” you will acquire.

Of course, simply triggering a progressive bonus feature may still end up in a loss. That’s why some of the largest progressive jackpots won’t just pay out a prize – there is always a bonus game to get through first.

If you are playing progressive slots online, always check the terms and conditions first. Some casinos may not pay out a jackpot for several days.

Always make sure the casino pays by bank transfer. If the money goes into your casino account, you may be restricted by low maximum withdrawal limits. Regardless of time frame, you may have to undergo an ID check and payment verification to receive your winnings.

Progressive Slots Fairness and RNG

All video progressive jackpot slots are programmed using random number generators (RNGs). With every spin, an algorithm is sent to the reels, determining where and when the reels stop. You win a cash payout by matching symbols across horizontal paylines.

A progressive jackpot is also governed by a random number generator. You may win a jackpot at random or a bonus feature which you must progress through in order to win the top prize.

All reputable slots developers use trusted RNGs when making their games. RNGs go through a rigorous testing process during development. In addition, they are audited by approved testing labs.

When you play at one of our reputable, licensed and regulated online casinos, you know that every progressive slot is fair. The casinos will carry gaming licenses issued by their state’s governing bodies that require independent testing of every slot and RNG.

Plus, online casinos and software manufacturers are regularly audited to ensure their RNGs continue to be fair at all times.

Only sign up with our top-rated internet casinos. They carry recognized igaming licenses and spread games from only trustworthy progressive jackpot slots manufacturers.

FAQ


Yes, they are. The best progressive jackpot slots are licensed and audited to ensure their random number generators are fair for players.

Some Vegas progressive slots award a jackpot at random after any spin. However, many online progressives feature a bonus game that must be played first.

No. Most progressive jackpots seed to a minimum prize level. This ensures that everyone who plays is guaranteed some money, even if they are the first player to trigger the jackpot.

No. Most casino free spins bonuses are reserved for slots without a progressive jackpot. However, you can still win big fixed jackpots through these regular video slots.

If you love free slots, progressive jackpots will be out of reach. However, you can still test out free-play progressive slots online with zero risk to your bankroll.

The record payout for a land-based progressive jackpot is $39,710,826, which was won in 2003. The largest online jackpot is €18,915,872, which was won on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot.

In the US, you will have to pay tax on any jackpot win over $1,200. You will also have to pay income tax on any progressive slots win over $5,000. You will also be responsible for state taxes, which vary by locale.

Most land-based casinos in the US have progressive jackpot slots. You will find legal online progressive slot machines at casinos in states like New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Win frequencies on progressives are higher when more players are betting on them. The odds of hitting a progressive jackpot is around 50 million to one.

Contributors

Hi, I'm Jim Tomlin

"More than 20 years of experience in online gaming and journalism. I've tested, played and reviewed a multitude of slot games, looking for the best one for you that that differentiate them in terms of themes, features and jackpots."

Interests
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Reviewer since November 2018

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