A progressive gaming system (10) which enables slot machines (100) at a variety of independent non-restricted gaming locations (casino sites) (80) to contribute to and compete for a set of common jackpots. The system (10) provides a secure and reliable real-time progressive system that is capable of operating on a variety of different manufacturers' makes and models of slot machines (100). A tightly controlled computer network (22) at a host site (20) oversees the entire system (10) and is the master for computing all jackpots. All participating casino sites (80) report to, and receive information from, the host site (20) exclusively. A casino site master controller (82) at each casino site is responsible for, inter alia, all data communication between the casino hardware and software and the host site (20). In addition, each "bank" (a group of attached gaming machines) at a casino site (80) has a bank controller (120) and progressive meter display (104). In general, the bank controller (120) is responsible for polling data from the individual attached slot machines (100), storing and validating that data, and exchanging data with the casino site master controller (82). Each attached slot machine (100) further includes a slot machine microcontroller assembly (140), an interface assembly (142), a power supply unit (144) and an electronic circuit (160) which provides a "soft tilt" or "soft lockout" function. Furthermore, a slot machine maintenance system (300) provides wireless communication to technicians correlative of the maintenance required by slot machines (100).