The day slot machines transitioned to online casinos was a day no casino player will ever forget. This digital shift opened a whole new world of possibilities as the industry began to make room for more ultra-modern solutions and all-new slot machine terminology as well.
The slot games of today are a far cry from the three-reel slot machines that stood at land-based casinos, so if you’re a little hesitant to make the jump to online casinos, don’t worry; we’ve got your back! Below you’ll find a slots glossary featuring a detailed list of slot machine terms and phrases to help make the transition a little easier as you go along your spinning adventure.
3D Video Slots: 3D video slots are video slot machines designed with 3D graphics.
3-reel Slot Machines: Slot games with three reels.
5×3 Slot Machine: A video slot machine with five reels and three rows.
7×7 Grid Slot Machine: A grid/cluster slot game with seven reels and rows.
243 Ways To Win: Often found at Megaways™ slot machines, ‘ways to win’ refers to the number of possible winning combinations that can be formed in a slot machine.
Active Payline: Although many online slots feature fixed paylines, some slot machines allow you to select the number of paylines you bet on.
All-ways Slots: Online slots that allow players to win in many different ways, increasing the number of ways to win. These slot machines have no fixed paylines.
Autospin: Autospin allows players to set the number of spins. It works similarly to the Autoplay function.
Bankroll: A bankroll is the amount of funds slot players have to spin the slot reels.
Bar Symbol: In the early days of slot machines, casinos used packs of gum as a slot reward. The bar symbol is a traditional symbol found in classic one-armed bandit video slots that resembled a pack of gum.
Base Game: The base game includes all general mechanics and features of a slot game that excludes all bonus rounds.
Basic Video Slots: A basic slot game often sports three reels — the lowest number of reels in a slot machine — and offers the simplest gameplay with the fewest features.
Bet: The wager value per spin.
Bet Per Line: The bet per line represents the amount wagered per payline in each spin. This option is available at a slot machine with adjustable paylines.
Betting Units: Another term used to describe the amount wagered per spin.
Big Hit: When players earn a huge payout, this is often referred to as a big hit. A jackpot win can be considered a big hit.
Big Time Gaming: Big Time Gaming is an Australia-based developer that began rolling out slot machines in 2011. This company is the creator of the iconic Megaways™ slots, with Dragon Born Megaways™ being its first Megaways™ title.
Blueprint Gaming: Based in the UK, Blueprint Gaming is a provider that forms part of Germany’s Gauselmann Group. It was founded in 2008 and was also one of the first Megaways™ licensees. Blueprint’s most popular games include TED Megaways™, Genie Jackpots and The Goonies.
Bonus Features: A bonus feature is an additional slot game function that comes with the gameplay to help form more winning combinations and boosts overall entertainment. Each bonus feature is unique and activates in different ways. May include free spins, Wild symbols, Bonus symbols, etc.
Bonus Funds: Additional funds awarded to players on top of their own cash. Often awarded as part of a casino bonus.
Bonus Rounds: In-game minigames that award special bonus features and payouts on top of all features found in the base game. The bonus round requires activation by the bonus slot symbols in the slot game.
Bonus Slot Machines: Bonus slots are characterised by their additional bonus features designed to enhance gameplay and potentially boost wins.
Bonus Spins: Another way of referring to free spins.
Bonus Symbol: Slot machines often feature a collection of symbols that have no function other than forming winning paylines. However, they may also feature bonus symbols that would have special functions and trigger a bonus feature.
Branded Slots: Slot machines with themes inspired by well-known movies, TV shows, and other franchises.
Bonus Wheel: A slot bonus feature that resembles the classic Wheel of Fortune. The Bonus Wheel requires slot players to spin the wheel for a chance to win a bonus.
Candle: The ‘candle’ refers to the blinking lights on top of a land-based slot machine.
Carousel: A group of multiple video slots.
Cascading Reels: Every time a winning combination forms, all winning symbols will be removed from the slot machine reels, and other symbols will cascade down to fill empty reel positions. Also known as rolling, avalanching or tumbling reels, this special feature can be triggered with every winning spin.
Cashback: A Cashback refunds a percentage of players’ bets or losses.
Cashout: When players withdraw their earnings after forming a winning combination.
Cash Splash: Cash Splash was the very first jackpot slot to debut. It did not include many features or bonuses other than its progressive jackpot.
Casino Floor: The term used to describe the gaming area in a land-based casino.
Certified Slots: Slot machines that have been certified by Responsible Gaming authorities and other gambling regulatory bodies.
Classic Slots: Classic slots refer to those games that resemble the first slots in land-based casinos. Often sporting fruit or gem themes, these slot machines are the simplest games offered at online casinos. They sport a three-reel or five-reel layout and include classic fruit symbols with barely any features. A classic slot machine can also be referred to as a fruit machine.
Cluster Pays: The payout earned from a cluster. Can also refer to NetEnt’s Cluster Pays series.
Cluster Slot Machines: Cluster slot games are not confined to typical rows and paylines. They are simply a grid of reels with no set paylines, as winning combinations are attributed according to the combination of symbols in one cluster.
Coins: ‘Coins’ pays homage to the coins used to play land-based games. They determine the value of your wager with respect to the coin size and are sometimes referred to as slot credits.
Coin Size: Represents the value of one coin.
Cold Slots: Also referred to as tight slots, cold slots award lower payouts infrequently.
Colossal Symbol: One massive symbol that covers multiple positions on the slot machine reels.
Console Slot Machines: Games with added features to boost entertainment.
Credits: The equivalent of coins.
Demo: The demo mode allows players to spin the reels for free using virtual funds rather than their actual bankroll. It offers the exact same gameplay as the real deal except all winnings obtained are virtual as well.
Denomination Slot Machine Units: The unit of each coin or credit that can be used to wager on a particular slot machine.
Developer: Also referred to as a provider, the developer is the creator of a slot machine.
Dragon Born Megaways™: Released in 2016, this game was the very first Megaways™ title to debut.
Dragonfish: An online casino operator that develops slots and Live Casino games.
Drops: A modern slot feature. Instead of spinning reels, symbols will fall into place.
Egyptian-themed Slots: Online games with an Egyptian theme that are commonly found in online casinos.
EGM: An acronym for ‘Electronic Gaming Machine’. A term used to describe slot machines.
Expanding Reels: A slot mechanic that adds more reels to the screen.
Expanding Wild Symbol: A special Wild symbol that expands to fill multiple slot machine reel positions while substituting for other symbols to form more winning combinations.
Feature: The special mechanics included in a slot machine. Varies from slot to slot.
Fixed Jackpot: A fixed jackpot is an additional prize that awards a lump sum of cash when players trigger the jackpot combination. Once the prize is awarded, the pot will reset to a predetermined value. Slot machine jackpots vary depending on the slot and provider.
Five-liner: A three-reel slot machine with five paylines.
Fixed-value Slots: Video slots with unadjustable coin sizes or bet amounts.
Freeplay Mode: Also referred to as the demo mode, this version of the slot machine is a gaming mode that is free to play.
Free Spins: Free spins allow players to play a slot machine game without wagering real cash while also collecting rewards. While free spins are often awarded as a casino bonus prize, they make frequent appearances in slot bonus games due to their popularity. They are often paired with other special features. Each Free Spins bonus game comes with its own set of game rules. The number of bonus spins awarded depends on the slot machine.
Fruit Slot Machines: Online slot games with a fruity theme, resembling the traditional casino slot machines in land-based casinos.
Gamble Feature: A minigame that allows players to risk the winnings earned from a winning spins for the chance to boost their payout. The Card Gamble game and the Ladder Gamble game are the most common gambling features. This minigame may not be available in all jurisdictions and is completely optional.
Gameplay: The general experience players get when they play a particular slot machine.
Gameplay-Linked Progressive Jackpot slots: When two or more slots are linked by the same progressive jackpot. Also referred to as ‘Linked Progressive Slots’.
Grid Slot Machine: A slot machine that is simply a grid of reels with no set paylines. Sometimes referred to as cluster slots.
High-Value Symbols: The value of a winning combination is dependent on the value of the individual symbols. Some symbols are valued greater than others, so high-value symbols represent those premium icons. These symbols are also often designed to fit the theme of the slot machine.
High Volatility: A slot machine that awards large payouts at a low hit frequency.
Hit: The formation of a winning combination.
Hit Frequency: How often a win is paid out.
Hot Slots: Games that award payouts fast and frequently. Often described as slots with a ‘hot streak’, a hot slot machine is similar to a loose slot machine. Can also refer to current trending games.
Icons: Another word for symbols.
Jackpot: A prize pot that awards a large amount of money on top of all the payouts that can be triggered in the base game.
Jackpot Slot Machine: A category of slots that are characterised by their additional prize pots. Can be a fixed jackpot or a progressive jackpot.
Land-based Slot: A physical slot machine found in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Liberty Bell: Liberty Bell was the first variation of the modern mechanical slots found in casinos today.
Line: Another word for payline.
Line bet: A line bet refers to the amount of money wagered per payline.
Locked Reels: Reels that stay in place and do not spin. Also referred to as sticky reels.
Loose Slot Machines: ‘Loose slot’ is slot machine slang for a game that is likely to give out frequent wins. These games are similar to hot slots.
Lose/Losing Streak: A succession of losing spins.
Low-value Symbols: Some symbols are valued greater than others, so low-value symbols represent those lesser-valued icons. These symbols are also often less thematic than higher-value symbols.
Low Volatility: A slot machine that awards small payouts but at a high hit frequency.
Max Bet: ‘Max bet’ refers to the maximum amount of money players can bet on a slot machine. The max bet may vary depending on the slot.
Mega Moolah: Rolled out by Microgaming, Mega Moolah is one of the most popular progressive slots of all time as it features five progressive jackpots on top of scorching gameplay.
Megaways™: A complex slot feature that was developed by Big Time Gaming. It randomises how many symbols appear on the reels on any given spin, offering far more ways to win than basic slots.
Megaways™ Slot Machines: Modern games that utilise Big Time Gaming’s Megaways™mechanic. The majority of Megaways™ slot machines offer over 100,000 ways to win and have no set paylines.
Microgaming: An industry giant that is based in the Isle of Man. It is best known for its progressive slot machines, specifically Mega Moolah.
Min Bet: The minimum wager that can be placed in a slot machine.
Mobile Slots: Some providers specifically optimise their slots to work seamlessly on mobile devices as well as desktops. Mobile slots offer the exact same gaming experience as their online counterparts. Mobile slots also come with a demo mode.
Multi-line Bonus Slots: Slots with multiple paylines and additional bonus features.
Multi-line Slots: Multi-line slots are games with more than one payline.
Multipliers: Multiply a winning combination by a specific value. It can also form part of a bonus round.
Multi-way Slots: Allow players to form winning combos that go from left to right and right to left.
NetEnt: NetEnt was founded in 1996 and has become one of the industry’s biggest players. NetEnt’s most notable titles include Gonzo’s Quest™, Starburst™ and Twin Spin™.
Non-winning Spin: A spin that does not result in a win.
Nudge Slot Machine: A nudge slot machine allows players to change the outcome of a spin by shifting a reel up or down.
One-armed Bandit: Slot machine slang players use to refer to slots in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Online Slot Machine: A slot machine that is played at online casinos.
Paylines: A payline represents a pattern on the reels where a winning combo can form.
Payout: The award a slot machine pays on a winning spin.
Payout odds: Refer to the chances of earning a payout.
Payout Percentage: The amount of money returned to a player by a slot machine over time. Also referred to as the RTP.
Payout Table: Lists symbol values, including those in the bonus round.
Paytable: ‘Paytable’ or ‘pay table’ is a more common way of referring to the payout table.
Penny Slots: Penny slots are land-based games with low bet levels.
Pick-and-Click Feature: The Pick-and-Click feature is often spotted in a slot’s bonus round. This mechanic would present players with several options, all hiding a myriad of different rewards. Players would be tasked to select one of the options presented, and a mystery prize would be awarded.
Play’n GO: Play’n GO is a gaming company based in Sweden that was founded in 1997. Some of the many slot machines it has rolled out include Book of Dead, Reactoonz and Moon Princess.
Pragmatic Play: Pragmatic Play is a Gibraltar-based online game developer that was founded in 2015 and specialises in online slots, immersive live tables and other top games.
Prize Pot: The prize awarded in a jackpot slot. The value of the prize depends on whether the jackpot is fixed or progressive.
Progressive Jackpots: A progressive jackpot takes a portion of a player’s wager every time they spin the reels and adds it to the pot. It will continue to grow and accumulate until it is hit and can span over a network of casinos.
Progressive Jackpot Slot: Online machines that have a progressive jackpot up for grabs.
Progressive Multipliers: Progressive multipliers are multiplier bonuses that grow over time.
Provider: A company that creates slots.
Random Number Generator (RNG): The random number generator randomises the symbols that appear on the reels to ensure that the online slot betting system is fair, and there can never be a strategy that guarantees a win.
Red Tiger Gaming: Founded in 2014, Red Tiger Gaming is the brains behind huge titles like Dynamite Riches, Aztec Spins and Rainbow Jackpots. While it is based on Isle of Man, Red Tiger has developed games in Europe and Asia.
Reels: The vertical columns found on the slot machine window or display.
Reel Swap: The reel swap feature swaps an entire reel with another to help boost wins.
Relax Gaming: Relax Gaming was founded in 2010 with the aim of producing games featuring top-shelf solutions. Its most notable titles include Tiger Kingdom Infinity Reels, Money Train and Cluster Tumble, though this provider has also released a few poker and bingo games as well.
Respins: A popular bonus feature that awards a free spin right after a paid spin. It may come in conjunction with other bonuses. Some respins may be paid.
Return to Player (RTP): The RTP describes the amount a player is expected to earn back while playing slot games over time. Varies from slot to slot.
Rows: The number of horizontal lines in a slot.
Scatter: The Scatter symbol is a special symbol that appears anywhere on the reels and can perform multiple different functions. Scatter symbols are most commonly used as a way to activate the slot’s bonus game but can also offer their own payouts.
Scatter Pay Bonus Feature: Scatter pays refer to the payout earned from a Scatter combination.
Second Screen Bonus: A second screen bonus refers to the alternative reel layout that opens when a special feature is activated.
Shifting Wild: The Shifting Wild moves between reels with every spin while substituting for other symbols to form winning paylines.
Signature Slots: Signature slots refer to the brand of slots owned by the casino.
Single Payline Slot: A video slot machine with one active payline.
Slot Club: Slots clubs are loyalty programmes offered by casinos where players can earn exclusive prizes in exchange for playing the casino’s games.
Slot Host: The slot host is similar to the card dealer in table games. Found only at land-based casinos.
Slot Schedule: The ‘slot schedule’ is slang slot terminology used as a way of referring to the paytable/pay table.
Slot Tournament: A slot tournament is an online competition that requires players to spin select slots and earn points for the chance to win prizes like bonus spins and bonus funds. Tournaments may come with Terms and Conditions.
Spin Button: The button that spins the reels once the bet has been decided. Found on the user interface below or to the side of the reels.
Stacked Wild: The Stacked Wild is a special symbol that covers either an entire reel or multiple reel positions on it while also substituting for other symbols and forming more wins.
Sticky Wild: The Sticky Wild sticks to the reel position it lands on and stays there for the duration of the feature.
Symbol: Refers to the special icons that are used to form winning paylines. It can be as simple as playing card suits or designed to fit the theme of the game.
Symbol Transformation: A special feature that transforms lower-valued symbols into higher-valued symbols.
Synced Reels: When two reels spin at exactly the same time.
Tight Slots: A tight slot machine is a type of slot that is known to pay out less frequently than other games. This can be defined by the slot’s volatility.
Total Bet: The total amount wagered per spin.
Tumbling Reels: Also referred to as cascading reels.
Twin Reels: Reels that are linked together.
Up/Down Slot Cycle: The up/down slot cycle refers to the fluctuations that occur in a slot’s payout percentage over a period of time.
Variance: The variance is a measure of how likely a player is to form a winning combo and its payout size. Can also be referred to as volatility.
Video Poker: A form of poker that utilises similar mechanics as those used in online slots. It does not come with a live dealer but works using an RNG and coins.
Video Slot: Another way of referring to the digital version of online games. Every slot that players spin online is a video slot.
Virtual Funds: A form of fake cash that exists within the demo mode of a slot. They cannot be withdrawn and deposited into your account, as they are only used as a way to test out a slot’s gameplay before spending actual cash on the real thing.
Volatility: Another way of referring to slot variance.
Wager: The wager is the amount of cash used to spin the reels in one round. Also referred to as the bet.
Walking Wilds: Also referred to as Shifting Wild symbols, these types of Wilds move, or ‘walk’, along the reels with every spin.
Wazdan: A slot provider that was founded in 2010 in Malta. It aims to create top-quality games while also providing a safe and reliable experience for players. Popular Wazdan games include Sizzling Gods, Magic Spins™ and Jelly Reels: Hold the Jackpot™.
Wild Symbol: A special symbol that substitutes for other symbols on the reels to help form more winning paylines. It can sometimes offer its own payout as well.
Winning Combination: A combination of symbols that awards a payout.
Win-Both-Ways: A slot function that allows players to form winning combos starting from left to right and right to left. This mechanic is not super common among slots.
Win Streak: A succession of winning spins.
Win ways: Refer to the winning combos that can form when playing Megaways™ games, as these slots do not come with conventional paylines.
Zig-zag: Traditional slots once featured paylines whose pattern formed straight lines. However, slots developed nowadays have a larger number of paylines, resulting in ‘zig-zag’ combos.