Slots can be fun and exciting, but the dream of winning a six- or even seven-figure jackpot is the real reason most people play.
Because they give you a chance to make that dream come true, offering up huge jackpots that grow with every spin, progressive jackpot slots have become the most popular games at casinos across the US, online and off.
A percentage of every penny you and other players pump into these slots is siphoned off and put into the progressive jackpot. That process continues until one of you is lucky enough to win it.
If a jackpot gets big enough, word gets out, and that buzz helps a progressive jackpot grow even bigger. Eventually, somebody wins that jackpot and it resets back to a baseline figure and starts the growing process all over again.
This page is dedicated to progressive jackpot slots and includes information about how they work, where to find them, and which progressive slots are the most popular in the US and why.
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There are basically two types of progressive slots at land-based casinos across the US:
Stand-alone progressives are single slot machines with a progressive jackpot.
A piece of every dollar put in the machine goes into a progressive jackpot that is contained on that machine. That means only money put in that specific machine goes into that jackpot and only someone playing on that machine can win that jackpot.
Linked progressives are different in that they have a jackpot linked from among multiple machines.
There are area linked progressives that feature multiple slot machines over a defined area feeding into the same single progressive jackpot. The area might include the same slots or group of slots in a single casino or group of casinos.
A piece of every dollar put into these slots goes into a single progressive jackpot that all these slots link to. That means only money put in these slots goes into that jackpot, and only someone playing one of these slots can win it.
Then, there are network-wide linked progressives that feature multiple slot machines over a wide network feeding into the same single progressive jackpot. Network-wide progressives offer the biggest progressive jackpots around.
The network will include the same slots or group of slots at a group of casinos in the same state, group of states or all across the country.
Once again, a piece of every dollar put into these slots goes into a single progressive jackpot. However, more slots over a wider network means more players, more dollars and bigger jackpots. Of course, the same basic jackpot principles apply, meaning only someone playing one of the slots in the network can win the jackpot.
You’ll also find the stand-alone and linked progressive jackpot slots at online casinos across the US.
Stand-alone online progressives are single online slot games with a progressive jackpot. As with land-based slots, only money that goes into the online slot goes toward the jackpot, and only someone playing that slot can win it.
Linked online progressives feature multiple slots at a single online casino or group of online casinos feeding into the same progressive jackpot. Where the law allows and interstate agreements are in place, these online casinos may even be in different states all feeding into the same progressive jackpot. Once again, the same basic jackpot principles apply.
Here’s a look at the five most popular online progressive jackpot slots and linked-progressive slot series in the country:
It’s a three-row and five-reel Greek mythology-themed NetEnt-designed slot. Players can win the jackpot via the Jackpot Bonus Game, triggered when you land three or more bonus symbols. Fill the screen with bonus symbols in the Jackpot Bonus Game, and the progressive jackpot is yours.
Divine Fortune is known to have paid out some of the biggest jackpots in US online casino history. In fact, Divine Fortune has awarded more than $3 million in progressive jackpot wins in New Jersey casinos in 2020 alone.
That includes the following five $200,000-plus wins at NJ online casinos:
The Divine Fortune progressive jackpot was worth over $250,000 on the Borgata/BetMGM/PartyCasino NJ online casino network in mid-2020. Plus, it was once again over $140,000 at Golden Nugget Online Casino and over $120,000 at SugarHouse Online Casino and Betfair Online Casino in New Jersey in mid-2020.
A 40-year-old Lititz, Pennsylvania, man also hit the Divine Fortune progressive jackpot at PlaySugarHouse.com in PA in March 2020, winning $278,430.23. That marked the thirteenth Divine Fortune jackpot at PlaySugarHouse.com in Pennsylvania since its launch in the summer of 2019.
The Divine Fortune progressive jackpot at the BetRivers network in PA was up close to $75,000 in mid-2020.
Mercy of the Gods is NetEnt’s progressive jackpot slot follow-up to Divine Fortune and is available at a variety of online casinos across the US.
It’s also a three-row and five-reel slot, but Mercy of the Gods features an ancient Egyptian theme.
The jackpot can be won in the Gift of Wealth Bonus Game, triggered when you land three golden heart bonus symbols. Fill the screen with golden heart bonus symbols in the bonus game, and the progressive jackpot is yours.
Players have hit three six-figure jackpots on Mercy of the Gods online in New Jersey:
The Mercy of the Gods progressive jackpot was also over six figures on the Borgata/BetMGM/PartyCasino NJ online casino network in mid-2020. It was over $40,000 at Golden Nugget Online Casino.
The Mercy of the Gods progressive jackpot on the PlaySugarHouse/BetRivers network in PA was close to $45,000 in mid-2020.
Cleopatra is an IGT-designed progressive jackpot slot featuring a familiar ancient Egyptian theme. It’s a standard three-row and five-reel slot that is available at a host of online casinos across the US.
You can win the jackpot in the Cleopatra Bonus game, triggered when you land three or more sphinx symbols. The Cleopatra Bonus game includes 15 free spins to start. Land the five Cleopatra symbols during your spins, and the progressive jackpot is yours.
Cleopatra is responsible for awarding one of the largest progressive jackpot win at an online casino in the US. It was a $373,500 jackpot at BetMGM in New Jersey on Feb. 13, 2020.
The Borgata/BetMGM/PartyCasino NJ online casino network runs a linked progressive jackpot on a series of nine WIN Studios slots. The casinos call it The Big One. The Big One progressive jackpot can climb to over $330,000.
The Big One linked slots include:
Chances at The Big One jackpot are awarded randomly on these slots. You are suddenly taken to a Big One jackpot screen where there’s a list of five progressive jackpots and a color wheel.
You spin the wheel, and it changes colors until randomly stopping on one. Every color corresponds to one of the five jackpots.
888 Online Casino in NJ has a series of linked progressive jackpot slots with a progressive jackpot that can climb to more than $1 million. The exclusive-to-888 slots include:
The games award the jackpot randomly. No matching symbols are required. However, bet size matters, and different bet sizes win different size jackpots. That means the big progressive jackpot is only in play with max bets.
Normally, you look at a slot’s return-to-player rate to determine its volatility and playability. A slot’s RTP is the percentage of cash it takes in that it will theoretically pay back to players. A slot with a 99% RTP will eventually pay out 99 cents of every dollar it takes in.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get back $99 out of every $100 you put in the game. However, it does mean someone eventually will. It could be you or some other player who catches the slot at the right time. In other words, a slot’s RTP is realized over the long haul, not session by session or spin by spin.
The slot’s house edge is the other side of RTP. That means a slot with a 99% RTP has a 1% house edge. That is, the casino ultimately makes a profit of one cent from every dollar put in the game. The higher the RTP and lower the house edge, the less volatile and therefore more playable a slot is.
However, you can throw all that out the window when it comes to progressive jackpot slots.
For the most part, progressive jackpot slots have low RTPs because so much of the money that players put into the game is siphoned off for the progressive jackpot slot.
That means most progressive jackpot slots are considered highly volatile. However, they’re still playable, because playing progressive jackpot slots is not about chasing more frequent, though smaller, payouts.
Instead, playing progressive jackpot slots is about taking your shot at the progressive jackpot. That means, when it comes to playing progressive jackpot slots, you can pretty much ignore the RTP and simply go for it.
Slots are a game of luck, not skill. Therefore, there is no strategy players can employ to help them win a progressive jackpot. There are no guarantees you’ll ever hit the progressive jackpot, no matter how much money you put into a slot.
The odds are stacked against you in a big way. In fact, you’re going to need an astronomical amount of luck to win a progressive jackpot. That said, you also have to put yourself in position to get lucky. When it comes to progressive jackpot slots, that means making the maximum bet.
You should probably be betting the max on all online slots. This is particularly true when it comes to playing online slots with a progressive jackpot. The thing is, if you bet anything less than the maximum bet, you’re likely not even eligible to win the progressive jackpot.
If your goal isn’t to try to win the progressive jackpot, there are plenty of other slots more suitable for you. If you’re playing a slot with a progressive jackpot, it just makes sense to try and go after it. You simply have to play the maximum credits allowed to get access to the most paylines, bonus games, and the progressive jackpot.
Let’s face it, slots aren’t exactly strategy games. Particularly when you’re playing progressive jackpot slots, you’re trying to get lucky, and there is no strategy on earth that can help you do that.
That said, you must put yourself in a position to get lucky or you never will.
With progressive jackpot slots, that usually means making the maximum bet on every spin. In fact, to be eligible to win the jackpot on most progressive jackpot slots you must bet the maximum.
Check with the rules of each game to make sure that’s the case. If it is, and you understand playing progressive jackpot slots should be about taking your shot at the jackpot, anything else would be a waste of your time and money.
If you’re trying to book small wins instead, you should play low-volatility slots with high RTPs.
The thing is, chasing sizable progressive jackpots with life-changing money isn’t cheap. Maximum bets add up fast. Add in the fact there’s no guarantee you’ll ever win that jackpot, and you’re going to need to be careful. That means following the principles of a responsible gambling strategy.
Responsible gambling involves setting limits and sticking to them. Only play with money you can afford to lose, and when that’s gone, you have to quit. Show some discipline, don’t chase losses and you’ll survive to take a shot at that progressive jackpot again when you can play with another chunk of cash you can afford to lose.
Ultimately, this will help keep playing progressive jackpot slots a fun pursuit you do with disposable income. You’ll limit your losses and be able to take another shot at that progressive jackpot some other day.
The reality is you’re more than likely going to rack up heavy losses chasing progressive jackpots online. That money in the jackpot has to come from somewhere. In fact, it’s being funded with every losing spin you and others make.
Mindlessly spinning away making maximum bets on a progressive jackpot slot can prove costly over time. Since there’s no guarantee you’re ever going to win, following responsible gambling principles and some proper bankroll management strategies can prevent you from getting in over your head.
Online gamblers should always set a limit of how much they can afford to lose in a particular session and stick to it. The key is making it a number that won’t have an effect on your life.
Applying this kind of common sense to managing your gambling bankroll can definitely help you limit your losses. Plus, that will make sure you can stay in the game long enough for you to get lucky.
If you lose the money you’ve limited yourself to, accept that today is not your day and simply walk away. Show some discipline. Do not chase your losses, and perhaps things will turn around when you return to play another day.