Guide to Online Slots

Of all the games available in an online casino you will find that slot machines are amongst the simplest. Are you entirely new to online slots and you’re not sure exactly where to begin? We are here to de-mystify the choices for you.

Every game has its basics and we’re delighted to breakdown the game and separate the myths from the reality to present to you with the ABCs of online slots. Take a short glance through this article and in no time, you’ll be strutting into an online casino confident and ready to play winning online slots in no time!

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A Short History of Slot Machines

The story of slots began back in the 1890’s, when Charles Fey built the world’s first coin-operated slot machine whilst working as a mechanic in San Francisco. They’ve been reincarnated several times since, each time with a different name. They’ve gone from Bell Machines, to Fruit Machines to One-arm Bandits and more recently settling on the name, online slots.

Walk into any Vegas, Atlantic City or Macau casino and one of the first things you’ll notice are rows and rows of slot machines. There is a reason why slots are usually the most prominent game in a casino – they’re the least intimidating, the easiest to play and the most immediately ‘understandable’ for casual gamblers.

Online Casinos are no different and with the recent huge advancements made in computer graphics and mobile technology, the very best online slots are both fantastic entertainment as well as a wonderful opportunity to earn some extra cash.

There’s no need to learn many rules, or chat with dealers or other players. Just sit down, log on to your favourite online casino and play either at your desktop or ‘on-the-go’ on your mobile. Generally, the payouts on offer far outweigh those of games like Roulette or Blackjack. You can even potentially win life-changing sums of money on progressive jackpot slots like Mega Moolah for minimal input!

Getting Started with Online Slots

Once you learn how to play an online slot, you can take the knowledge you have learned and adapt this knowledge to every other online game. Here we outline the basics that every slot player needs to know to get the most out of their gaming experience. There are five main steps needed to learn how to play slots. These are as follows,

Step 1: Read the Pay Table

Take some time to become familiar with the game. You can do this by having a quick look at the pay table. This will show you if you need any special bet levels for bonus games or jackpots as well as the game’s prizes.

Step 2: Free Play

Most modern casinos will allow you to play their games for free. Besides helping you find a game you like, it allows you to become familiar with the different game variations. Playing free slots is a good way to find your favorite game, so you can play without having to lay any wagers in order to familiarise yourself.

Step 3: Choose a Coin Size

You should select a game that has a coin size that suits your budget.

Step 4: Deposit Your Money

Once you have decided on a game to play, you need to get some credits. You will find that your Online Casino balance is transferred to the game once the game is opened.

Step 5: Select a Bet Size

Choose how much you want to bet. On classic 3-reel slots you simply hit the Bet Max button to bet the maximum coins and spin the reels. On video slots you will more than often have a range of choices via the buttons. These include;

  • Bet One – Press this button to bet one credit, press again to bet two, etc. etc.
  • Bet Max – This button bets the maximum number of coins and starts a spin.
  • Spin Button – Press this to spin the reels at your current bet size.
  • Coins per line – This button lets you bet 1 or more coins per pay line.

Once you have selected a bet size you are ready to start the reels spinning. It’s as simple as that. Continue betting the same amount by pressing spin or if playing max by pressing the max bet button.

Step 6: Cashing Out Your Winnings

In Online Casinos, there is no collect button as such. You simply click on the Bank button which takes you to the casino’s banking section. Here you can choose to withdraw some or all of your bankroll or use to play in other games in the online casino.

Other Buttons Found on Slots

In addition to the buttons listed above you may or may not find more buttons on your chosen game. Below we outline what some of the most commonly seen additional buttons do.

  • Help – Often found on video slots, the help button gives you access to a range of screens where you can learn the game rules, find out about all of the wins and other important information such as bonus game details.
  • Start Feature – On some bonus feature slots you will find a start feature button. This is what you need to press when you hit the required symbols for the bonus. For example, this button may start the free spins.
  • Gamble – Some video slots may have an option to gamble your wins. Press this button to move on to the gamble screen and try your luck at doubling up your current win.

Online Slots Terminology Explained Simply

Simple as they are, Online Slots Machines use a lot of terminology that can confuse new and inexperienced players. Let’s have a look at slot machine terminology and simplify that gibberish for you;

  • Reel – The spinning reels refer to the different wheels on which the games symbols are presented to the player.
  • Spin – A spin is one round of spinning the reels on a slot machine.
  • Bonus Feature – A bonus feature on an online slot can be anything from free spins to a special bonus game. The bonus feature can either be started randomly after a spin, or when special bonus symbols line up on the wheels.
  • Max Bet – The Max Bet is the maximum amount of money you can wager on one spin.
  • Payline – The payline is the line on which the symbols must land for you to be declared as having landed a winning spin.
  • Multiplier – As the name implies, they multiplier calculates how much you win with a certain combination of symbols. For example, if you usually win CAD$20 for three sevens in a row, with multiplier x10 you will win CAD$200 instead.
  • Scatter – A scatter symbol is a symbol that activates a ‘free spins’ feature. The may look many different ways. However, when you land three or more of them on the screen, you win a game-specific amount of free spins. The amount may typically vary from 5 to 50, depending on the game and the number of scatter symbols on the screen.
  • Wild – The wild symbol is a symbol that can replace all other symbols in a winning combination of symbols. However, wild symbols usually cannot replace scatter symbols.
  • RTP – RTP, or Return-to-Player, is the average percentage of wagered money that goes back to the player in the form of winnings. Typically, RTP is between 88-95%, with some online slots even as high as 98%.


In today’s online casinos, you’ll find an incredible variety of different kinds of slot games. Let’s have a look at the most common ones;


3 Reel Slots are based the classic Fruit Machines from the 1950’s & 60’s. The simplest form of online slots games, 3-reel slots are easy to understand. A window shows 3 columns and 3 rows of symbols. The middle row is referred to as the ‘payline’.

The player bets and spins the reels. When the reels stop spinning if the symbols on the payline match to any of the winning combinations advised on the paytable, the player wins the stated amount.

3 Reel slots are a very gentle introduction to online slots. With the experience gained here, players generally then move on to more complex versions of the classic online slots games. Don’t underestimate them though. 3-reel slots are great fun!

Video Slots (or 5 Reel Slots)

While 3-reel online slots can at times feel a little like antiques, 5-reel slots have advanced beyond anything previously thought possible and are now generally the most popular option among online players. 5-reel slots create more diverse chances to win, with many games featuring upwards of 25 paylines all the way up to Microgaming’s impressive stable of games with up to 243 paylines.

Advantages of 5 Reel Slot Machines

  • 5-reel online slots feature more reels and also more paylines, creating many more ways for the modern player to win. Payouts are more frequent on 5-reel slot machines.
  • 5-reel online slots also generally feature more in the way of free spins, bonus rounds, wild and scatter symbols, and, in some cases, progressive jackpot mini-games, where millions of dollars can be paid out on a single play.
  •  Because 5-reel slots are usually video slots, the graphics and tend to be far more professionally produced, slick and compelling and generally offer more interaction for the player. Some branded games such as Aliens, Halloween, Highlander, The Matrix or Phantom of the Opera even feature video clips from the movies they’re based on, creating an additional atmosphere and sense of entertainment that the 3-reel slots can lack.

3D Slots

Online slots have evolved exponentially in recent years. More of the latest online casino slots come with crystal clear 3D cinematic animation for an intensive and immersive online gaming experience. Two of the best software providers for 3D online slots games are Net Entertainment and Betsoft Gaming. Both offer state of the art, true 3D slots with great graphics and excellent superbly crafted gameplay including some of Betsoft’s most popular titles like “Gladiator”, “Event Horizon” and “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. Watch out for Betsoft’s excellent 3D online slots games at William Hill online casino.

Progressive Slots

With the increased popularity of online casinos, progressive jackpots on games like Mega Moolah, The Dark Knight, Mega Fortune and Hall of Gods are responsible for creating hundreds of multi-millionaires.

Online progressive slots work just like their land-based brothers. Every wager you make feeds a small amount into the progressive jackpot for that game. With more people playing progressive online slots more than ever before, huge jackpots are being won on a more regular basis.

Microgaming is one online casino software provider that has established its number one industry-leading reputation on fun, colorful games that keep the player ‘in the game’ and interested in potentially winning life-changing jackpot amounts in its ‘Mega Moolah’ game. Mega Moolah is the current world record holder providing a one spin win of over CAD$23 million in October 2015 and has already created 9 millionaires in 2017 alone.

How to Choose your Favourite Slots Game

Choosing your favourite online slots game isn’t an easy task, but we hope the options outlined in this guide have given you some inspiration. Take on a game that suits you as a person. If you like ‘Old School’, perhaps a 3-reel slot is for you. Or if you like technology, try a 3D Video slot. If risk is your thing, try to beat the house for millions in an online progressive slot like Mega Moolah.

Encompassing games with the best bonuses, biggest prizes and fanciest designs, our guide should give you everything you need to choose a game that suits your personality. Since slots are one of the few games that contribute 100% to the playthrough requirements of most Welcome Bonus offers, why not try out the many different online slots game options at great online casinos like Spin Palace, Ruby Fortune, Betway, Royal Vegas, Jackpot City.