Online slots are relatively straightforward games composed of spinning reels, a variety of symbols and a number of paylines. Players set their bet, spin the reels and hope for the right combination of symbols. If a set of identical symbols form a winning line, the player is normally granted a monetary reward. Around for nearly 130 years, online slots have maintained their core mechanisms up until this very day. How was the first slot created? What types of slots are offered by today's online casinos? Read on to find out.
A short history of online slots
Sittman and Pitt created the first slot in the United States in 1891. It was a simple machine containing five drums and 50 playing cards. A curious fact is that in the early years, cash wasn’t the prize on offer. Since you could find such machines in bars and pubs, a win often guaranteed a free cigar or a drink at the bar. Later, Bell-Fruit games became highly popular. These machines showcased fruit symbols and were developed to promote flavoured chewing gum.
At around this time, Charles Fey invented the first slot machine with automatic payouts. Instead of drums and cards, it consisted of three reels and a variety of symbols, including an image of a liberty bell. It was, thus, referred to as the Liberty Bell machine.
In the 1960s, more modern electronic slot machines with cash payouts started emerging in the market. The one-armed bandit became an integral part of each brick-and-mortar casino and amusement arcade. In the early 1990s, the first online machines came into existence, and the first online casino was established in 1996. Initially, only a dozen games were available for players, but, today, thanks to the large number of game developers, many casinos offer more than a thousand different online slots.
What's the future of online slots?
The number of online casinos operating today is huge, and it’s a number that continues to grow. Renowned game developers are doing their utmost to keep on expanding their portfolio and create new gambling solutions to cater to each player's needs. NetEnt, for instance, is currently working on the first slot machine based on virtual reality technology!
Free Online Slots
If you're still new to online slots, choose an online casino which enables you to play with virtual currency in demo mode. It’s a great way to start getting familiar with slot machines and test their unique features. Professional gamblers affirm that having good slot knowledge is necessary if you want to increase your winning chances. Although online slots are not very complicated to understand, you should still go through the information section of each slot, check out the paytable and read all the terms and conditions.
In certain online casinos, you can also test slot machines without registering and logging in. All you need do is find the online slots you wish to play and select the demo option. Free slot games ensure fun entertainment and enable you to gain experience before risking your cash.
Online Slot Payouts
As already mentioned, online slots are not overly complicated. At the core of each slot machine, you'll find spinning reels containing various symbols and paylines. A player places a bet and spins the reels, which, in turn, stop automatically. If at least three identical symbols fall adjacent to each other on a payline, the player wins an amount of money. The Wild symbol is beneficial in this case because it serves as a Joker and can fill in for any symbol. The actual amount awarded ultimately depends on the wager you placed and the value of the respective symbols. You can find each symbol's values and win multipliers in each video slot's paytable.
Online casinos commonly offer free spins. They allow players to spin for free, entering in a chance to win real cash, without having to use their funds. There are two ways through which you can win free spins. They may be part of a bonus promotion offered by a particular online casino, such as part of a Welcome Bonus, with each spin's value defined in the bonus's terms and conditions.
Numerous video slots also offer a free spin mode as a unique game feature. To achieve these free spins, you need to obtain a particular symbol combination on the reels. In many games, Scatter symbols trigger the free spin mode, and each spin's value is equal to the bet you placed on the spin which triggered these free spins. Their popularity stems from the fact that they can enhance your winning chances.
Online slots symbols
In an endeavour to make video slots more exciting, renowned game developers often integrate special symbols. Their role is to help players form winning combinations and to enable higher wins. Popular video slots offer three kinds of special symbols:
Wild – Its function resembles that of the Joker card in card games. It can fill in for any symbol and, in turn, form a winning combination. Many games include a win multiplier when the sequence has a Wild symbol.
Scatter – This is the only symbol which doesn't need to fall on a payline. Most games require at least three scatter symbols on the reels, and when this occurs, the win is either multiplied, or a bonus round is triggered if they land on a payline. This bonus round may include free spins and an exciting bonus game.
Bonus – Many games include a bonus symbol which can activate a mini-game, e.g. the wheel of fortune or a treasure box. This symbol enables you to win additional money or free spins.
The advantage of most complex gambling games is the fact that special symbols can be assigned additional features which we’ll discuss next. These features make slot games more interesting for the gambler, both in terms of the fun they'll enjoy and the wins they might gain.
Bonus features in slots
Gambling on video slots is an entertaining activity, and even the most complex games can lead to big wins if you're lucky! To further entertain players, game developers sometimes equip slots with a series of special bonus features:
Free spins – Free spins can provide real cash without the need to bet your funds. You can either obtain them as part of an online casino's special offer or through a game bonus.
Win multiplier – The advantage of many online slots is the activation of win multipliers, such as when a winning combination has a Wild symbol. Wins achieved during bonus rounds, would, in turn, be much higher.
Progressive jackpot – This progressive jackpot feature is a grand payout which increases until it's eventually won. It's estimated that the highest jackpot prize was won in Mega Fortune and it totalled about 50 million dollars! However, luck must indeed be in your favour for anyone to win this kind of prize.
Bonus Wild – Apart from filling in for other symbols, the Wild symbol also offers additional bonuses in many games. An Expanding Wild stretches across the entire reel, automatically increasing the likelihood of a winning line. The Sticky Wild remains fixed in the reels for one or more spins, depending on the game. Some games also provide bonuses whenever a winning combination with a Wild symbol occurs.
Re-spin function – Similar to free spins, this feature is usually linked to the Sticky Wild. When activating this feature, the slot offers a free re-spin, which may result in extra wins.
Gamble – This is one of the most popular bonus features in online slots. Every time a spin is successful, a player can decide to participate in the unique bonus game, which very often involves guessing the colour of the card (red or black). Guessing the correct colour doubles your winning amount, while a wrong guess will make you lose the win achieved from the last spin. Participation in this Gamble feature is totally up to the player.
In the case of very advanced games, we recommend players take advantage of the free demo versions. They're a great way to understand how the game works and discover which combinations can offer the best wins. The more familiar you are with video slots, the higher the chances of enjoying them to the full.
New Online Slots
Online casinos provide gamblers with a wide range of slots, and game developers are always doing their best to satisfy all expectations. These are the slots which generate the most interest:
Fruit Machines – These feature fruit symbols, gold bells, stars, BAR inscriptions, as well as Sevens.
Card games – In many slots, cards (nine, ten, jack, queen, king and ace) represent low-rank wins.
Luxury games – In these types of slots, symbols are items associated with wealth and luxury: such as expensive cars, banknote wads, precious stones and others.
Ancient Egypt games – These focus on the treasures of the ancient pharaohs. The Book of Ra is the flagship representative of this theme.
Mythology games – These often refer to a variety of gods from the Greek or Nordic mythology.
Wild West Slots – Online slots often take us to the Wild West world brimming with gold, cowboys, bandits and guns.
Space games –These modern video slots refer to space and the cosmos, and may even include aliens.TV Slots – The most renowned game providers hold film studio licences, thanks to which they can create slots based upon popular movies and TV shows.
Music games –Some online slots refer to popular music bands and musicians, e.g. Guns' N'Roses and Michael Jackson. The game's soundtrack generally includes musical hits from the artist.
Medieval games – These enable players to discover new eras and take part in historical battles.
Today's selection of games is awe-inspiring, especially when considering that the original online casinos only provided a dozen slots at most. Most casinos provide around 1000 slots, providing players with the means to find a slot which suits their tastes.
Although players might think that video slots operate completely randomly, this is not precisely true, as each video slot has a fixed algorithm which determines how it works and grants prizes. So, while wins occur randomly, the number of times they occur within a set number of spins is predetermined. The most crucial slot specifications include RTP, volatility and hit frequency. What do these parameters mean, and how do they influence the slot's operating mechanisms?
RTP – The Return to Player is the percentage of bets which the casino will return to the player in the long run. It's important to note that this is calculated in millions of rounds. Most popular slots have an RTP which is higher than 95% - this would signify that for each €100 deposited by players, the casino returns €95 as wins.
Volatility – This is another significant parameter which indicates how casinos grant wins. With low-volatile slots, you can expect frequent payouts but in small amounts, while high-volatile slots offer less frequent wins but higher values. In specific slots, players may even set the preferred volatility from their end.
Hit frequency – This indicates the rate at which the slot will grant a winning combination; the average number of winning bets you can expect out of 100 bets made.
Being aware of these factors helps you choose the slot games which best suit your needs and your budget, and will also increase your chances of being successful. While playing the free demo versions, remember to keep track of each slot's features and specifications to determine the best slot for you.
Progressive Jackpot Slots
Players are highly interested in online slots equipped with a progressive jackpot feature. In such slots, the jackpot grows every time a game is played, but not won. Thus, the more it's played, the higher the prize will become. Most casinos provide a couple of these slots, enabling players to win big if they're lucky. Mega Fortune is regarded as the top progressive slot as its jackpot is often in the millions.
Free Play Slots
Best online slots
What makes online slots so popular? Players can expect to win cash at some point in time, and it is of no surprise that many try their luck, considering the value of particular rewards. Other attractive features include their simplicity and the dynamic entertainment they offer. Across the years, many game developers have been releasing new titles of popular hits. Sizzling Hot, Book of Dead, Mega Moolah, Starburst are such examples whose popularity have led casinos to produce more Sizzling titles. Slots are supposed to generate fun and provide winning opportunities. However, you need to keep in mind that entertainment should remain your primary aim when playing.
More and more players seem to prefer playing video slots on mobile applications. Thus, online casinos have been focusing on the design and optimisation of mobile apps, and today most modern online slots are fully adapted to smartphones. All you need to do is download the application, configure the account, and make a deposit. Mobile apps frequently allow players to win extra cash, thanks to many special offers and mobile bonuses.
Online Casino Bonuses
New online casino players can gain additional cash which they can use to enjoy more video slots. What kind of special offers and bonuses are provided by online casinos?
No Deposit Bonus – Casinos may grant this bonus after players register an account, before even making the first deposit, to enable players to check out the site's game portfolio with the offered funds.
Welcome Bonus – This bonus grants extra cash to players upon completing their first deposit, and is generally dependent on the deposit amount you place. Sometimes, you can even get free spins as part of the Welcome Bonus
Bonus Reload – Functioning like the Welcome Bonus, you can claim this bonus after making further deposits
Bonus Cashback – This enables players to receive back a percentage of the cash they've used in online slots
Tournaments and special events – Casinos frequently host competitive tournaments, where players can compete for the top of the leaderboard and win extra prizes
Loyalty program – Casinos reward points to active gamblers, which can be exchanged for cash, non-cash prizes or free spins
Online casino bonuses are much-anticipated by all players. Together with these bonuses, special features such as win multipliers and Wilds make video slots more attractive.
✅How much can you win at online slots?
Each game has distinct symbol values, multipliers, and bonus features. You can calculate each game's maximum win by multiplying the maximum bet by the multiplier of the most valuable symbol combination. The most advanced slots with a progressive feature may even offer a jackpot worth millions, but this is not the norm.
✅How can you receive free spins?
There are two ways you can achieve free spins. You can either claim a casino offer, e.g. a Welcome Bonus which offers free spins. Otherwise, you can play games which offer free spins as a bonus feature.
✅What is the record win at online slots?
Based on unofficial data, the highest prize ever won was about 50 million dollars in Mega Fortune - a progressive jackpot slot.
✅Are online slots legal?
Yes, but only slots offered by regulated and licensed online casinos. Such games can only be found available in certified traditional casinos, amusement arcades and online casinos.
✅How do you play online slots?
Register an account with an online casino, make a deposit, select your preferred game, place a bet, choose its value and click the Spin button. Many slots even feature an automatic spin mode.