Progressive Slots Jackpots

Although progressive jackpots are strongly associated with slots, and particularly online slots in 2020, they are also available in other games like video poker, blackjack and roulette. Like these games, a progressive jackpot is triggered by an event which is usually completely random and can be won by any eligible player.

In land-based venues, a network (also known as a wide area network) progressive jackpot is linked to multiple slot machines in different casinos. Networks are usually confined to a single state and, thanks to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, they’re highly concentrated in Nevada and New Jersey.

What is a Progressive Jackpot?

A progressive jackpot is a payout that starts at a base figure and grows as a certain percentage of all bets made on the game are added to it. This is usually triggered at random, awarding a large payout to one player, before resetting to its starting point.

Types of Progressive Jackpots

Standalone Progressive Jackpot
Mega Moolah Play now

Standalone Progressive Jackpot

As their name suggests, standalone progressive jackpot slots are not linked to any other machine. Online, multiple virtual versions of the same machine may be used by different players at any one time. There’s a risk that one of these players might scoop the jackpot before you do, but the trade-off is that it will likely be higher as a result.

In a land-based casino, using a standalone progressive means that only you are able to win the jackpot for as long as you’re playing the machine. In both cases, a slot machine jackpot of this type will be lower than those of linked games.

Local Progressive Jackpot
Aztec's Millions Play now

Local Progressive Jackpot

Again, the key is in the name here – these jackpots are tied to a certain location rather than a single machine. On the web, local progressives can be quite flexible. An online casino that has a local progressive jackpot can choose to limit it to a single title or could offer it across multiple different games from the same software provider.

In offline casinos, local progressive slots function like LAN (local area network) gaming used to in the ‘90s and ‘00s, Multiple machines in a single venue are connected to a single jackpot that can be won on any one of them. In most cases, these will all be duplicates of the same title.

Network Progressive Jackpot
Pharaohs Treasure Play now

Network Progressive Jackpot

With the largest jackpots available, network progressives are what most people associate with progressive slot machines. In online casinos, network progressive jackpots are offered across multiple venues that feature games from the same provider. Mega Moolah, for example, is available on tons of different sites powered by Microgaming and its jackpot can be won at any of them.

In land-based venues, a network (also known as a wide area network) progressive jackpot is linked to multiple slot machines in different casinos. Networks are usually confined to a single state and, thanks to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, they’re highly concentrated in Nevada and New Jersey.

How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?

Progressive jackpots start at a base level, adding a percentage of every bet made on the machine until the jackpot is paid out. Where that money actually goes, however, is a little more complicated than some players initially realise. Before a progressive jackpot can be paid out, game providers need to ensure that they’re able to offer the base jackpot again when the game resets.

Part of the percentage taken on every bet is used to reload the base jackpot, while the rest goes towards building the progressive element of the jackpot. Once that base jackpot has been replenished, which happens very quickly in popular games, everything goes towards the climbing element of the jackpot. So why do many players opt not to play a slot right after it has paid out?

Despite what some people think, there’s no science to back up the idea that a slot won’t pay out soon after resetting. A game is, statistically speaking, just as likely to pay out right after resetting as it is after months of not paying out. However, it’s common sense that progressive jackpots become much more attractive once they’ve been allowed to build up for a while.

How Are Progressive Jackpots Paid?

Progressive jackpots are sometimes paid out in a single lump sum but might be paid out in instalments instead. This depends on a couple of different criteria like the software provider and casino behind the game, as well as the size of the jackpot. It’s worth noting that bigger jackpots aren’t always paid out in smaller increments.

For example, Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot is one of the best-known progressive jackpots and is issued as one very large payment. Complete with a giant novelty check if the winner decides to go public…

It’s not unusual for a big progressive slot machine jackpot to be paid out over a decade or longer, with payments usually arriving in your bank account on a yearly basis. Payments like these are commonly known as ‘annuity payments’.

Biggest Progressive Jackpot Wins

One of the most exciting things about progressive slots is that despite their huge jackpots, many require only a low qualifying bet. That makes them accessible to all players, no matter what their bankroll might be.

Although some choose to go public with their wins, many jackpot winners remain anonymous. Understandable since the biggest progressive jackpots reach tens of millions of dollars. It’s never too early to start thinking about how you would handle a big win like this.

As you can see below, Mega Moolah remains the most lucrative progressive slot machine in 2020 and has paid out several of the biggest progressive jackpot wins ever. It even holds a Guinness World Record for the largest single payout…but records are made to be broken, right? See below a list of the biggest progressive jackpot wins to date:

Slot GameBiggest Jackpot WinOnline CasinoDate
Mega Moolah€18,915,721Grand Mondial28 September 2018
Mega Moolah$20,057,734Zodiac Casino30 January 2019
Mega Fortune€17,860,868Paf Casino20 January 2013
Mega Moolah£13,212,882Betway6 October 2015
Mega Fortune€11,735,446Betsson Casino23 September 2011

Best Progressive Jackpot Games by Software Provider

Jackpot GameHighest JackpotAverage WinAverage Duration
King Cashalot£1,527,228£568,88063 weeks
Major Millions£1,801,517£528,96110 weeks
Mega Moolah£13,230,200£4,300,55517 weeks
Mega Moolah Isis£13,230,200£4,300,55517 weeks
Tunzamunni£311,522£568,88089 weeks
Jackpot GameHighest JackpotAverage WinAverage Duration
Arabian Nights£8,636,041£4,237,24071 weeks
Hall of Gods£7,820,888£5,428,07324 weeks
Mega Fortune£17,861,800£4,212,04211 weeks
Mega Fortune Dreams£2,160,300£2,160,30020 weeks
Jackpot GameHighest JackpotAverage WinAverage Duration
Age of the Gods£972,723£553,7698 weeks
Beach Life£6,215,470£2,560,69324 weeks
Funky Fruits£2,164,007£1,584,42814 weeks
Gold Rally£4,690,025£713,6216 weeks
Gladiator£2,374,806£1,033,67012 weeks
Jackpot Giant£5,890,360£5,890,36025 weeks
Monty Python's Spamalot£2,710,257£1,537,20561 weeks
Sweet Party£3,004,916£1,199,63315 weeks

How To Win Progressive Jackpots?

Of course, it’s impossible for progressive slots to pay out extremely regularly. By nature, their jackpots can only grow so big because they pay out fairly infrequently. With all of that said, there are a few things you can do to strengthen your chances of landing a progressive jackpot win, and some of them are more obvious than others.

  1. Bet an eligible amount

    In certain progressive slot machines, you need to bet a minimum amount in order to qualify for a chance to win the jackpot. Fail to bet that amount, or higher, and you’ll be ineligible for the bonus feature that leads to progressive wins. The slot’s paytable, and review sites like ours, should usually make this figure very clear.

  2. Know if the slot is hot

    Actually figuring out when a slot is due to pay out is impossible, since jackpots are triggered at random. It’s still worth knowing when progressive games are hot/cold, however, because a game that’s hot will award the player who does get lucky so much more cash than one that’s recently paid out.

  3. Pick a game you enjoy

    Playing a game that you find fun, and ideally one that pays out during standard play too, is important to avoid getting frustrated. There’s no such thing as a sure thing when you’re chasing progressive jackpots. Some players might play every single day at Max Bet and never win one, while a penny slot gambler could get lucky on their very first spin.

  4. Keep an eye on your bankroll

    Remember that progressive games usually have a lower RTP (Return To Player) percentage than standard games. Over the course of many playing sessions, this means that you might find yourself losing more cash when you’re chasing jackpots. Be sure to adjust your stake and/or the length of your playing session so you don’t spend all your cash chasing a big win.

  5. Research the game’s volatility

    The higher a game’s volatility, the greater the risk that you’ll pour cash into it without getting a big payout. The trade-off is that these games often have the largest jackpots on the market! When learning how to win jackpots on slot machines, finding out more about the RTP and volatility of different titles will help you determine which of them best suits your appetite for risk.

Top Offline Progressive Jackpots

Offline progressive jackpots are extremely prevalent in areas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. As mentioned above, casinos will either have multiple machines linked up within their grounds, or have slot machines linked to other machines in a local radius.

Unlike online jackpots, land-based wins have been cashed in by slot players for over 25 years. Some of the biggest ever offline progressive jackpot wins are from the late 1990’s and are for sums still substantially more than the online records…and that’s not including inflation.

Here are the top 5 biggest offline progressive jackpot wins. Unsurprisingly, they all came from casinos based in Las Vegas.

Slot GameBiggest Jackpot WinOnline CasinoDate
Megabucks Slots$39,710,826.36Excalibur Casino2003
Megabucks Slots$34,955,489.56Desert Inn Casino2000
Megabucks Slots$27,580,879.60Palace Station Casino1998
Megabucks Slots$22,618,156.67Bally’s Casino2002
Megabucks Slots$21,346,952.22Caesars Palace1999


  • How to tell a slot is close to hitting a jackpot?

    Trying to predict exactly when a slot will pay out is impossible because it happens at random. Mega Moolah’s biggest jackpot, for example, was triggered three times in May 2020 alone. In previous years, however, it’s only paid out twice over the whole year! Knowing about hot/cold slots is useful and interesting in some respects, but it offers no guarantees on when a jackpot will trigger.

  • How to hit a jackpot on slot machines?

    The most important thing here is to ensure that you’re eligible for a game’s progressive jackpot. This means you need to meet any minimum stake requirements the game has. You also, of course, need to use a legitimate casino site that will actually pay the jackpots it promises. Beyond that, there’s very little you can do to improve your odds of winning a progressive jackpot other than looking for slots that are hot and playing your favourite games with some regularity.

  • How to play progressive slots?

    Playing a progressive slot machine works much like any other slot – you place your stake and spin the reels to chase wins. The biggest difference is that the game will have an additional feature, which often takes the form of a wheel of chance, in which players have the opportunity to win one or more progressive jackpots.

  • How often do progressive jackpots hit?

    That’s impossible to say, because it varies hugely depending on the game you’re playing. Even for a single game, you can’t predict when a progressive jackpot will trigger. That’s because slots are powered by Random Number Generators (RNGs), which are unpredictable by definition. However, further up this page you’ll find some information about average payouts and timeframes that you might find helpful.