A good percentage of slot machines on the floor are machines that have progressive jackpots, which grow as players play (or win, depending on the design) and eventually are won under specific circumstances.
I periodically get a simple question: Do you have to max bet when playing a progressive slot machine?
STATUS: It depends on the game. Some games require it; others don’t.
In each of these examples, the progressive is used an enticement to wager the maximum credits, to unlock a preferred payout for that additional wager. Betting less than the maximum would yield a lower payout.
In other cases, like Dancing Drums and similar games like 88 Fortunes, you unlock progressives by wagering 5 gold symbols. That’s not a maximum bet, but is a required bet to make the progressives all available. That wager is 1/10th the max bet on the machine since there’s a line multiplier separate from the gold symbols wager.
A good bulk of games with progressives make the progressives available at any bet. However, they look at the wager, and bigger wagers will have bigger chances at winning progressives. So, for instance, on Dancing Drums, betting a higher line bet gives you an increased chance of getting a progressive pick screen.
In other cases, like the Lightning Link series, the progressives are simply more likely to come out with increased bets, specifically the Major and Grand, since they’re the same on any denomination and bet level. The Mini/Minor aren’t progressives but instead bonus jackpots, and both the denomination and bet level will determine how often they are won, since they change value by denomination.
On some games, like Monopoly Money Grab, the top progressive is eligible on a certain bet level and above, and from there the chances of winning are proportional based on your bet. So you don’t have to max bet, but there’s a minimum bet to get that gigantic progressive, not unlike Dancing Drums, but in a wide-area progressive structure instead.
So, it always helps to look at a given game’s rules to understand if a max bet is required to be eligible. If not, you can decide what bet level is comfortable since it’s going to shift based on your bet. If you’re playing a game and the progressives require a certain level