In the online casino world, the humble slot machine has become one of the most popular games with audiences all over the world. Much like their brick and mortar counterparts, gamers flock to online slots in droves and they can be found in the vast majority of online gaming platforms.
If you’re curious about playing online slots but don’t know the RTP from the Reels, keep reading for some useful tips that will help you get started.
A note on legality
As with all online casino games, online slots aren’t necessarily available to play in every country in the world, so if you do want to play them you will need to do so in accordance with your local laws. It goes without saying that you should only play real money games in a fully regulated casino, with an up to date licence from a recognised body such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UKGC, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission etc.
A casino with a full licence to operate offers provably fair services and games, so you can be sure that each spin of the reel will produce a randomly generated outcome. If you’re ever in any doubt about the integrity of a gaming platform after visiting the site, a quick Google search should provide the answers.
Types of online slots
Online slots have come a long way from the one-armed bandits of the 19th century! Modern software developers are producing slots games in pretty much any theme you can think of, from festive and holiday-themed games, to movie and television slots, comic book slots, action and adventure slots, and even Virtual Reality slots.
Regardless of the theme, all online slots games can be categorised as one of the following:
3 Reel Slots – the simplest of all online games, these slot machines allow players to win by matching symbols on the top, middle, or bottom rows. They’re a great starting point for new casino players, as they can often be played for minimal wagers and more often than not will be included in free spin promotions from gaming platforms.
5 Reel Slots – a more sophisticated version of the three reel slot, five reel slots operate on the same basis, but they typically offer more paylines, which means an increased possibility of larger payouts.
Jackpot Slots – the main feature of a jackpot slot is its accumulating prize pool, which is generated by multiple players each time they spin the reels of the game. Whether fixed or progressive, jackpot slots have become a firm favourite with online gamers, as they offer the chance to win some pretty substantial prizes.
Mega Spin Slots – one of the latest types of games to hit the industry, mega spin slots offer players the chance to spin multiple reels at the same time from a single screen. These games also offer the potential for big winnings, due to the fact that multiple games are played concurrently, so they’re mostly popular with advanced gamers.
Paylines determine which lines will award payouts if a winning combination of symbols is achieved during a game. In online slots games, players can choose which paylines they want to employ, and the more they choose the higher the chance of winning. Payline variations will determine the payouts, and they are typically either fixed or adjustable. Fixed paylines require players to stick with the same number of payouts throughout the entirety of their time playing the game, and once decided upon there’s no option to change. Adjustable paylines, on the other hand, offer more variety, since the paylines can be altered to either decrease or increase the amount being wagered.
Paylines are a key area of playing online slots, so before you lay down any cash it’s important to check what your options are so you can measure their potential impact on your ability to win with each spin.
Return to Player
The Return to Player (RTP) determines how much a slot machine will pay back to players per unit wagered. It’s more commonly listed as a percentage value on a casino platform’s site, and will typically be less than 100%. The difference between full payback (100%) and the listed RTP is the house edge, aka the casino’s profit. An RTP that’s in the high 90s is referred to as a loose slot, while one that’s lower is tight.
Some games feature an RTP range with a substantial difference between the minimum and maximum values. This is usually caused by the game having different paylines that can be chosen by the players, or differences in bonus rounds that payout according to the choices made by the players during a game.