With online casinos becoming more prevalent in the United States, now is the perfect opportunity to learn about online casino slots. While online casinos have many game types, what you’ll find at every online casino is that the slot game section is the most robust.
Best Online Casinos To Play Slots
Slot machines are, without a doubt, the most popular type of casino game in existence. They are the lifeblood of any casino, whether online or land-based. It is estimated that slot machines make up around 70% of the average casino’s income.
Slot machines have been around for over a century, and their popularity only seems to be increasing. They first emerged in 1891 and contained five drums holding a total of 50 card faces. Players would try to win by landing the best possible poker hand.
A few years later, a mechanic named Charles Fey would develop the 3-reel slot machine that is now ubiquitous with casino gaming. From there, the demand for slot machines grew quickly, and they became a staple in casinos all over the world.
Since then, slot machines have undergone a huge transformation. The most notable change is the move from mechanical to electronic machines. This meant that instead of physical reels, there were now virtual reels on a screen. This made the game much faster and more exciting for players.
Nowadays, there are thousands of different types of slot machines available, each with its own unique theme and features. And with the advent of online casinos, players now have even more choices when it comes to where they play their favorite games.
So, what is it that makes slot machines so popular? Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, they are very easy to play. All you need to do is spin the reels and hope for the best. Secondly, they offer the chance to win big prizes, which is always a draw for players.
And finally, slot machines are just plain fun. They are exciting, thrilling, and can be very addictive. So next time you’re in a casino, make sure you try your luck on the slots. You might just end up winning big!
How Online Slots Work
When you load an online slot game, you may be used to simply setting a wager, pulling the lever, and seeing what happens.
However, within the slot you are playing, there are multiple different things to keep in mind, including exactly how this animated slot game you are playing from home works.
Online slots use a random number generator (RNG). There is a common misconception that an online slot will eventually display a pattern or that it takes a certain number of spins for a win to occur. That’s not true. With the RNG, each time you spin is considered a unique event, and with that, each spin you make does have a fair shot.
When browsing online slots, you may also see talk of the paylines.
Whether it is single, 20, 30, or even different ways to win. Think back to the old-school slots.
You would pull the lever and hope to get the three matching symbols across horizontally. This meant there was one payline. With online slots, you can now win in multiple different ways or acquire things such as bonuses, free spins, or multipliers.
Some online slots will allow you to wager on multiple paylines. With this, of course, you increase your chances of hopefully winning, but you can definitely start whittling down the bankroll a bit faster. With that said, that definitely changes based on the type of online slot you want to play.
With these multiple paylines and different symbols, one unique symbol to keep in mind are the scatters. While not all online slots have a scatter, the scatter is a symbol that usually means you’ll win some kind of prize.
Typically it’s in the form of free spins, or perhaps multiply your winnings based on the number of scatters shown on the play table. One popular slot title you’ll typically find is Starburst. Starburst does not feature any scatters.
Can You Win Real Money Playing Slots?
Yes, you can! Some online casinos will offer free games, but none of these will ever award real money. However, if you play in a state in which online gambling is regulated, you can actually play to win real money. Click here if you want to find out more about other online casino games.
It’s always important to know what the RTP for an online slot is. This will indicate how much money is paid back to players over time when playing an online slot. So, the higher the percentage, the more potential pool of money that will be paid back to players, meaning better odds of winning.
With real-money slots, you’ll have ample options to play and also become more familiar with some of the top developers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, PlayTech, and IGT.
Why Play Real-Money Slots?
The entire point of real-money slots is to have fun — and winning money is a great bonus. As we’ve mentioned throughout, there are many different online slot options to choose from that are real-money based. In addition, there are free slots available at social and sweepstakes casinos.
Also, depending on the casino you are playing at and the welcome bonus offer that it has, slots typically account for the highest game contribution rate, usually at the 100 percent mark or very close to it. This means that slots are arguably the best way to claim and play with bonus money.
Are Online Slots Safe?
There’s no question about it: Online slots are safe. For these to operate legally in the United States, they are licensed and regulated by the state in which it is operating.
That said, offshore real-money casinos do have slots, and they are not safe because these sites are unregulated. You can rest assured that all online casinos featured on The Game Day Casino website are legal.
Who Can Play Online Slots?
If you want to play slots for real money at one of the regulated online casinos available in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Connecticut, you need to be at least 21 years of age. You do not need to be a resident of those states.
Legal online casinos are also live in the province of Ontario, Canada. You must be at least 19 years old to play for real money there.
For social online casinos and sweepstakes online casinos, the minimum age is 18. Social and sweepstakes casinos are similar but distinct, but neither allows you to play with real money. Instead, players use virtual currency on social casinos. On sweepstakes casino sites, one of the virtual currencies is able to be redeemed for prizes, including cash prizes.
Where Can You Play Online Slots?
Slots and social and sweepstakes sites are available nationwide wide, with the exception of Washington State and Idaho, due to restrictions in those two jurisdictions. If you live pretty much anywhere in the U.S., you’ll be able to access fun slot titles from your computer and mobile device.
You can play real-money online slots in the following states:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
Types Of Real-Money Slots
When you’re browsing the slot game options, you may see some slots that are based around entertainment, such as Jumanji or another movie, show, band, or musician. This means that the online slot has had this brand licensed for them to use.
You may not be aware, but there are numerous types of real-money slots available. Before we dive into those, it’s important to know that all slots have different amounts of reels. These slots will typically consist of 3, 5, 6, or 7 reels. Reels are basically the column of icons you see vertically. With online slots, five reels are among the most popular.
These are going to have three reels. These are generally much more volatile in terms of wins or losses and are a good starting point for new players.
Although the name classic may make you think about old-timey slot games, the reality is that many world-renowned game studios have brought together innovative technologies and the traditional three-reel slots.
The main characteristic of classic slots is that they only have 3-reels, thus decreasing the number of paylines. Some classic slots only have one payline, which tends to be the middle line across the screen.
Nevertheless, some options offer a broader number of paylines. These classic slots may have three, five, or even more paylines that can run vertically or horizontally on the screen.
Video slots have a much more modern feel compared to traditional slot games. Part of the reason for this is the additional reels. Classic slot games have 3 reels, while video slots typically have 5 reels.
Many slot fans think this change is beneficial to the player. While video slots aren’t quite as simplistic as classic slot games, they offer several more paylines than traditional slot games. This gives players many additional ways to win.
Along with the added reels, video slots also have visuals that grasp players’ attention. These visuals are usually accompanied by sounds and animations that all fit into the game’s theme. Some games in this category have extra features that give players even more advantages. You could get lucky and win much higher than your bet amount. This could be accomplished with things like bonus features and free spins.
Progressive slots are tied to progressive jackpot slots. For each wager that is made, a portion is contributed to the jackpot. Unlike the slots at land-based casinos, you don’t have to make the maximum wager to qualify for the jackpot when playing online slots. This gives online slots players a major advantage over retail slots.
Unlike a fixed jackpot, progressive jackpots continuously change until there is a winner. While this can sometimes take a while, and we can see the amount grow to an enormous amount, the same is also true for even the smaller amounts. Think of it like the Powerball or Mega Millions lottery, sort of, in that the player can win, or it can continue to rise and increase in value before it eventually pops.
There are some different types of progressive jackpots available. It’s always the goal when you play an online slot to take home a jackpot.
- Random Progressive Jackpots: Divine Fortune is one of the more popular online jackpot slots. In some versions, it is considered a random progressive slot. With these, there’s really no telling how and when you’ll win, and this type of slot is often likened to a raffle.
- Multi-Level Jackpots: With other online jackpot slots, there is one jackpot, and that’s it. With multi-level jackpots, there are multiple jackpots that a player can win. A popular example of this kind of slot is Mega Moolah, which has four jackpots. Games like this usually involve landing enough scatter symbols to trigger the bonus rounds. Often, these bonus rounds are where the player will be able to win the jackpot.
Online Penny Slots
Penny slots are a subcategory of slot game that is quickly rising in popularity. If you’ve read any of our gambling guides here at The Game Day Casino, you know that smart bankroll management is the cornerstone to any long-term success at casino games. This makes online casino penny slots a natural choice for the conservative gambler.
When playing penny slots, players can place small wagers on the reels starting at $0.01. Because of the nature of online casino slots, betting this small amount doesn’t hinder players from qualifying from larger jackpot prizes. In fact, many online penny slots can have jackpots that are much larger than you would find at a land-based casino.
Free Online Slots
With all this talk of real-money slots, you’re probably wondering if there is a free counterpart. In fact, yes, there is. Some online casinos, such as Rivers Casino4Fun, have free online casino versions. There are also “social casinos” that players can play. At a place such as Casino4Fun, there doesn’t appear to be any benefit beyond things such as rewards.
At social casinos, players can potentially exchange winnings for real money or for other types of rewards. However, some social casinos are simply meant to play for fun and based around connecting with social media friends. One of the top social casinos, Chumba Casino, does allow players to exchange one of its virtual currencies for cash.
Other Slot Types
In addition to the most common types of slot games we’ve discussed, these are some less common but still popular slot game types:
- Interactive Slots: These are kind of like mini online video games. These are less dependent on chance, and your skill can increase your chance at a profit and go on a journey within this type of slot.
- Skill-Based Slots: Here, you will participate in bonus rounds that are synonymous with the type of slot you are playing. If you’re playing a fighting-themed slot, you need to “fight” the computer for chances to win.
- 3-D Animated Slots: These are normal slots but consist of a much more graphically enhanced experience, including the animation and soundscape.
Real-Money Slots Vs. Free Online Casino Slots
While both real money and free online casino slots will require money, and you can technically win money at both, there are drastic differences. With real-money slots, you will deposit funds, play, and can withdraw those winnings.
With free online casinos, you will purchase packages like a microtransaction in a video game. You can then build a certain virtual currency that can be exchanged for funds, but you will not win money just for playing.
With real-money slots, you will be playing games that are developed by high-level companies and have licensed slots. At free online slots, the games are sometimes developed in-house. If you want to find out more about various slot and online casino hacks, you should take a look at the following page.
How To Win Money Playing Free Online Slots
As mentioned prior, there are some social casinos in which you can exchange virtual currency for real cash. Using Chumba Casino as an example, throughout playing, you will earn Sweeps Coins. These can be used to buy into tournaments, and you can convert these winnings into cash.
These fall under sweepstakes laws, which are legal in all states, with the exception of Washington State and Idaho. Some other examples other than Chumba include LuckyLand and Funzpoints.
Online Slots Strategy
Most slot machines do not involve an element of skill, but there are online slots strategies you can implement to boost your chances of winning over time and make the online gaming experience as fun as possible.
As with anything, you should go into online slot play with a budget in mind. The size of your bankroll should vary based on the denomination you’re playing and your typical bet size. Bankroll management is key to helping your account last in the long term and also avoiding the need to play catch up and win your money back.
Don’t Always Max Bet
Slot games have changed a lot since their inception. This is especially true of online slot games. At one time in the evolution of the slot machine, it may have been more advantageous to max bet so you could win the maximum amount. However, that is not really the case with today’s slot games.
Not only can most modern slot games’ bonus rounds be made available when you make the minimum bet, but the jackpots of many slot games can also be won without making maximum bets.
Additionally, the betting limits for online slot games can stretch much higher than the average retail slot machine. A max bet on a common retail slot game might be a mere $3 bet. Whereas on an online slot title, a maximum bet could equate to as much as $100 per spin!
At all times, when playing casino games, make sure you are being friendly to your bankroll. Playing on some of our top recommended sites can go a long way toward protecting your bankroll since these online casinos generally all have games that let you win the jackpot without needing to make the largest bet possible.
Keep Track Of Paylines
A payline is the combination of symbols that will result in a win for you. The original slots had one payline.
Today, paylines also seem infinite, but usually are around 30 or so. You can bet on a certain amount of paylines. While paylines will make a difference in how winning combos are formed, the paylines aren’t really something to be overly concerned with when deciding on a game.
Look For High-Payback Games
While paylines aren’t something to be concerned with, the payback rate is something that you should keep an eye on.
Not all slots will pay players back at the same rate all of the time. In online casino lingo, this is the Return to Player Percentage.
Here’s an example: The online slot you are playing offers an RTP of 96 percent. So, using $1 as a rule of thumb means that, over time, for every $1, $0.96 will be paid back to players. The higher this percentage is, the higher the payback will be overall.
Take Advantage Of Casino Bonuses
Online casinos will always have some kind of welcome offer. This is a promo technique designed to hopefully drive in traffic of new players. Some common offers include welcome bonuses, risk-free play, and no deposit slots bonuses.
With most of these offers, players will need to complete a wagering requirement. Let’s say the offer is a 100 percent match up to $1,000 on your first deposit. However, in order to access the bonus funds by way of withdrawing them, you need to complete a 10x playthrough of the deposit and the bonus.
If you deposit $50 and you get $50, you will need to wager $1,000 ($50 + $50 = $100; multiplied by 10). However, there are usually further terms and conditions related to game contribution rates.
You may think to yourself: “OK, I’ll wager that $1,000 across blackjack, roulette, and slots.” In theory, this can work, but the game contribution rates can make it a much steeper hill to climb. At most online casinos, the game contribution rate for slots is 100 percent. For blackjack and roulette, it’s not uncommon to see it around the 20 percent rate.
To simplify, if the game contribution rate is 20 percent, this means that every $1 wagered on these games only counts for $0.20 toward the welcome offer. This makes slots much more valuable, as each dollar wagered on slots will be a full dollar contribution toward paying off that wagering requirement.
Key Terms Of Slots
Slot machines have a substantial amount of terminology compared to most table games, but The Game Day Casino has you covered. Slots are easy to understand and play if you know just a handful of definitions of key terms.
An important statistic to be aware of when playing online slot machines is the return to player, or RTP, which is also known as the theoretical rate of return. A return on the player’s investment (RTP) is the amount that can realistically be expected to be won or lost in the long run.
There will never be a slot machine with an RTP higher than 100 percent for the simple reason that casinos are in place to profit from their offerings. Generally, slots carry RTPs that range from 93 to 97 percent, which means that for every $100 wagered, users can expect to give anywhere from $3 to $7 back to the online casino. RTP takes place over time, however, so don’t expect this result every session.
Generally, online slots have a higher RTP than retail slots. Retail slots have an RTP percentage that is typically in the upper 80s. Meanwhile, the highest online slot RTP is 98%, with most coming in around 92-97%.
Random Number Generator
For the purposes of ensuring a fair gaming experience for all players, most forms of online gaming use something called a random number generator, or RNG. Random number generators are extremely important when it comes to slot machines, in particular, since their proper functioning ensures that machines will leak out funds at the appropriate rate.
Over the long run, this ensures that players will lose no more than their expected RTP. It is the state gaming commissions that are responsible for the regulation of online slot machines as they determine whether or not they are appropriate for play.
The volatility of a slot game refers to how much variance it has. Games with low volatility usually pay out less money overall, but players can generally expect to win more often.
High-volatility games have bigger swings in fortune, so your wins or losses may be larger than in other games. Additionally, players can expect their wins to be spaced apart much more than in low-volatility games.
Reels are the backbone of any slot game. They are the component of the slot that spins when you begin the game. The reels are where the many symbols of a game are located. Classic slot games typically have 3 of these reels, while video slots tend to have 5 or more reels.
Reels often go hand-in-hand with paylines. The more reels a game has, the more paylines it is capable of having. The paylines a game has, the more chances a player has to land winning combinations within paylines.
This is not to say that 3-reel slot games give fewer chances of winning because paylines are not the only factor at play. The amount of symbols and the types of special symbols a game has also contribute to how often you can expect to win.
The paylines of a slot game are what determine if you are a winner. When you spin the reels, you are hoping to land symbols within paylines. The number of paylines, as well the shape of paylines, can differ from game to game.
For example, landing 3 symbols in a row from left to right may be a winning payline on most slot games. Another slot game may have diagonal paylines that grant wins if you match symbols diagonally from left-to-right or right-to-left. Typically, the more paylines you choose to cover prior to spinning, the larger the size of your bet must be.
Reels are important to note as many slots operate under the standard three to five-reel formats, but others can offer more ways to win with more reels. Outside of the conventional formatting of slots in terms of the number of reels on each machine, there are video slots that present other formatting styles.
These types of slots can have as many as seven reels with horizontal reels and even another entire section of reels, all within one machine. Simply put, reels are what house the symbols of each individual online slot machine.
This is where most of the really large wins at slot machines usually come from. It is possible to give players risk-free opportunities to win prizes on the slot machines by giving them bonus rounds or free spins. The only way for players to unlock these features is by receiving a certain amount of symbols in regular slot play that will entitle them to a certain amount of free spins.
Almost all slot machines have an option for purchasing a package of free spins even before you enter the slot machine. The bonus features of these packages are typically quite expensive, as they have the capability of providing players with huge multipliers and other keys to winning massive prizes. The many ways to win in bonus rounds are not limited to free spins, though, as sticky wilds and cascading reels are also among the primary ways to win.
Among all of the slot machine subcategories that can be found on platforms that offer slot machine gaming, jackpot slots can offer some of the largest prizes. It is rare to hit the jackpot on this kind of game, but when it happens, the winnings can be gargantuan. Some top prizes can pay out up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
As mentioned earlier, these are some of the most popular types of slots amongst players due to the fact that they are capable of giving the players an enormous score. There is a wide range of jackpot slots available, from penny slot machines to high-limit machines. One of the biggest benefits of playing online slots is that the player’s bet sizing does not determine if they are eligible to win the jackpot.
Many modern slot games have a special symbol called a wild symbol that can greatly benefit players. Wild symbols are able to substitute for other symbols on the reels. So if you have 4 ordinary symbols that match within a payline, the wild symbol will act as the 5th matching symbol.
When playing a slot game, Wilds are one of the symbols that players get most excited to see. The addition of wilds in the right paylines at the right time can truly be the difference between immense wins and small wins or even losses.
Generally, the only symbols that Wilds cannot substitute are Scatter symbols. However, these symbols can work well together. Wilds can help you land bigger wins than you might have gotten without them, and Scatter symbols can provide multipliers to your winnings, depending on the slot title.
Players have the option to adjust a certain number of automatic spins that will take place when they enter the machine. In other words, if a player is interested in playing 100 automatic spins of $0.50 each, then they will be putting $50 into play without having to press the “Spin" button or something along those lines every time to keep playing.
Manually pressing or clicking on the “Spin" button makes the gameplay go much faster than auto spins, especially because you can usually skip the slot animations with an additional click. However, using auto spins to play is far more convenient. With auto spins, you can play even while you are away from your screen.
The auto spins feature is also customizable. You are able to specify how many spins you would like the game to automate, and it will stop once the selected number is reached. Additionally, you can set maximum win, loss, and bet amounts for your auto spins, so you can regulate your bankroll even when you step away from the game.
The paytable menu can usually be found alongside all of the other settings at the slot machine, along with the volume and auto-play settings that can be adjusted. This paytable will provide players with the important information they need to know about the slot game, as well as how they can win.
There is also a section in the paytable that explains things like bonus rounds, how to trigger them, and what each symbol represents when it comes to payouts on the paylines. It is also important to note that one of the things typically provided in pay tables are the RTPs, which can be determined from the pay charts for each slot, thus enabling players to get a sense of how much money they expect to win or spend.
The ins and outs of each unique paytable are important to understand before engaging in activity on it, as players will be able to get a complete grasp of what they are placing the action on and what they stand to possibly lose on a per wager basis.
On certain titles, scatter symbols are one of the bonus symbols. These will not appear on every slot machine, however. You won’t typically find these on classic 3-reel slots. Instead, bonus symbols like wilds and scatters are more likely to be found on progressive and video slots.
As an example, a string of scatter symbols can be used to grant free spins, while wild symbols for the same machine can be used to boost winnings. There is also an interesting aspect to note about scatters that makes them unique to all other types of symbols.
Unlike most other symbols that play in a left-to-right format, scatters pay both ways. In fact, scatters don’t need to be in any order to take effect. You simply need to land enough of them on the reels at once for them to activate their special properties.