The number of slot machines within the game floors of land-based casinos, such as the infamous casinos found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, is a common way to grasp casino size. These slot games are an attractive option for players due to their convenient abundance, ease of play and mechanical superiority. Slot machines can easily get players hooked due to their fast-paced nature and the prospect of big winnings being a few spins away.
With the rise in the number of online gambling sites, online slots are becoming increasingly popular. They offer the exhilarating yet simplistic gambling experience from the comfort of your own home. While online slots also have the possibility of giving generous payouts, you could end up wasting thousands if you play these machines wrong. Here’s a complete guide on how to not fall into this trap and instead take home the cash.
Online Slots vs. Casino Slot Machines
Nowadays, there is little if not no difference between online slots and slots in land-based casinos. Most land-based slot machines are no longer mechanical but rather are digitally programmed to produce an outcome for each spin. Therefore, whether the game is being played through a computer or mobile device, or a casino cabinet, makes no difference.
One major difference and benefit of online slots compared to their land-based counterparts is that most online casinos offer free practice slots. This entitles players to free spins before they play for real money, providing users to test out the interface of the game, work out whether the set-up is enjoyable, and to test out the game stability to give confidence in the software before you risk your own money.
Types of Slots You’ll Find at Online Casinos
There is a huge range in the type of slots available online, yet the vast majority are video slots which usually come with the classic five reels and 15+ pay-lines. It’s common for online video slots to be based on movies, celebrities or bands, and offer the players an immersive experience with graphics and sound effects that imitate the shows and characters. These slots usually come with modern additional features such as wild symbols, scatter symbols and bonus games.
Classic 3-Reel Slots
Essentially the same as video slots in terms of technology, reel slots usually bear a resemblance to classic fruit machines, giving players a more traditional play. They usually have only three reels, a limited number of pay-lines, and stick to classic symbols with no bonus functions.
Progressive Jackpot Slots
Online progressive jackpot slots are another take on video slots where there is a growing jackpot prize that gets larger every time the game is played. It is not uncommon for the jackpots to reach up to million-dollar prizes as they are shared between several casinos. The main attraction to these slots is the opportunity to win big, and so there are fewer additional features compared to regular video slots.
These slots cover any slots which do not fit into one of the above categories, usually because they differ in the number of reels, pay-lines, and bonus features. One example is Wealthy Monkey. This game has four reels and payouts are determined by the number of times specific symbols appear overall throughout the game. With developers straying too far from the traditional slot machine, lots of additional game quirks make it hard to categorize some games as slots at all.
Selecting an Online Casino to Play Slots
The majority of online gambling is in the form of slots as they generate a substantial amount of revenue for online casinos. Online sites are, therefore, in constant competition with competitors to have the biggest and best selection of online slots available for players. While it is great to offer players variety, the huge range of games can make choosing which slots to play and at which casino a daunting task. As a rule of thumb, these are the areas to check before gambling on online slots.
Stick with Licensed Casinos
The majority of licensed online casinos and certainly the websites belonging to the gambling-world giants offer reliable and trustworthy services. If unsure about a particular website, check the licensing authority and whether the random number generator (RNG) used by the site is endorsed by an official body. If you’re playing from New Jersey, the online casinos are all regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).
If gambling using an offshore site, the operating bodies and licensers will vary. Some trustworthy sites include online casinos from the UK, Malta, and Gibraltar. If you are gambling from inside the US, we always suggest gambling at state-side online casinos. Even if licensing and games are fair, any problems you face regarding the site or your hard-earned winnings are harder to solve from further afield.
Look for Casinos That Offer a Large Variety of Games
Usually, rather than developing their own games, casinos turn to independent developers to create game content and software. These games are then made available on various sites for a fee. This creates a large crossover between the games found on each site, so you will often find the same slots on multiple online casinos.
Most software developers do not offer game exclusivity, so if a site wants its own exclusive game that cannot be played elsewhere they need to be developed in-house. This is, unsurprising, costly and so not popular. Instead, online casinos try to gain access to as many different slots as possible to give their players the most variety. When comparing sites, rather than looking at the specific slots offered it is advisable to compare the number of slots available, the size of the jackpots, and whether the casino’s main software developers are high-profile.
Look for High Profile Slot Game Developers
The collaboration of online casinos with high-end developers is essential in choosing a site for four reasons:
- Sites are more likely to be legitimate; however, always check proper licensing to prevent falling victim to scams.
- Games will be modernized and work smoothly.
- Games are more likely to offer larger winnings.
- New games from the same developers are expected to be added to the site in the future.
Some of the best-known slot games developers include but aren’t exclusive to:
- Ash Gaming
- Net Entertainment
- NextGen Gaming
- SG Gaming
- Williams Interactive
Of this list, the majority of online casinos run using platforms designed by industry giants Betsoft, Microgaming, RTG, Playtech, and Net Entertainment. Just because these renowned companies develop the online casinos’ powering software, the sites still host games developed by other names. For example, sites powered by RTG will still likely host games developed by SG Gaming, Bally and Ash Gaming, along with most other high-profile companies.
Take Advantage of Casino Slots Bonuses
Most online casinos offer attractive bonuses to new customers to entice them to their sites. The usual type of bonus offered is a 100% or higher match on your deposit amount. These bonuses will always have limits. For example, a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus would mean whatever amount you deposited into your account would be matched for values up to $600. Slot machines usually offer 100% deposit-match bonuses to users compared to games that have a higher return-to-player, like blackjack and roulette where it is not unusual to see only 10-25% deposit return.
Though these bonuses are an easy way to lure new customers in, it’s essential to not let the bonus size be the only factor taken into account. Nearly all bonuses come with wagering requirements, whereby players can only access their bonus funds after gambling a certain amount. For example, a 10x wagering requirement means users must wager their deposit 10 times before the bonus money is available to withdraw. Additionally, some sites base the wagering requirements on the initial deposit and the bonus funds combined, meaning the players are needed to wager their deposit amount plus their bonus amount before funds are released. If the money is withdrawn before meeting the requirements, the bonus along with any funds won off the back of it, will be forfeited.
Due to these wagering requirements, it is not unusual for the initial winnings to diminish down considerably, and in worst cases for players to make a loss while trying to reach the wagering requirements to cash in their bonus. To prevent this from happening, it is important to check that the wagering requirements are no greater than 15x and that the return to player (RTP) is higher than 95%.
Beating Online Slot Machines
Every single game inside a casino, be that slots or table games have a built-in casino advantage known as the house edge. In skill-based games such as blackjack, the house edge is minimal and often smaller than 1%. The reason slot machines are notoriously hard to beat is because the house edge is usually between 3-6%, though it can reach as high as 10%. This figure is the percentage of bets which you can expect to lose in the long-run; therefore a slot with a house edge of 5% means an expected 5% of bets placed will be lost.
The effect of the house edge on diminishing your funds, known as the grind, is all based on the length of play. The only way to beat slot machines is, therefore, to focus on the short term. A nice analogy for this is to imagine flipping a coin; every time it lands on heads you win. There is a much higher chance the result would be three heads in a row compared to 100 heads in a row. In the short-term you have a high chance of winning, but the more you play the more unlikely it is to stay on that winning streak. With slots, it is best to quit while you’re ahead.
With this in mind, it is more beneficial for players to focus on slots which are more likely to return short-term profits than on a progressive jackpot with a higher RTP. This is based on the fact that all players, even high-rollers, are much more likely to run out of funds than to hit the jackpot. A good piece of advice is to focus on slots that provide a higher chance of unlocking free spins and bonus rounds when choosing games that will yield a profit in the short-term. Good online slots to look at for this are Spring Break, Cashapillar, and Secret Admirer.
To prevent losing your bankroll it is essential to place bets where a single spin with the maximum number of pay-lines activated will only suck up 1% of your funds. For example, if there is $100 in your account, each spin should could you no more than $1. Gambling more than this will likely lead to you losing your money early on. However, it is essential to remember that with slots the odds are never in your favor. Try to maintain the mindset that online slots are for entertainment and be prepared that you could see all your money disappear.
Winning Online Slots Tips
To round-up everything that has been covered, these are the following take-home tips:
- Try the game in free-mode first. Make sure the game is worth your money and, most importantly, enjoyable before committing lots of funds.
- Do not bet more than you can afford to lose. With slot machines notoriously difficult to beat, you are more likely to lose than win. Do not gamble more than you have the funds for.
- Play for entertainment. Be aware that you are likely to lose and take the slots as entertainment. If you do win take this as an added bonus.
- Quit while you are ahead. If you do win big, cash out. This is as close to beating a slot machine as you will get, and continuing to play will result in you losing your winnings.
- Do not trust “sure-fire” betting systems. Every spin on a slot is entirely random, meaning there is no system or mathematical calculation that can be used to try to fool it. Instead, choose an affordable slot and play for the short-term to maximize your chances.
Online Slots FAQs
Yes. However, the odds are not in your favor with relatively low RTPs compared to other online games like blackjack and roulette. The only way to increase your chances of winning is to decrease the number of spins and focus on getting money in the short term.
In January 2013, one player won around $24 million in a Scandinavian online casino named PAF. They were playing Net Entertainment’s progressive jackpot called Mega Fortune which was available at several online casinos operated by the same companies as PAF. While hitting slot jackpots is unlikely, when one is hit the players’ winnings are life-changing.
When choosing a slot it is essential to only bet what you can afford, so choose a game whereby the bets can be adjusted to your bankroll. Also, look out for games that offer a high likelihood of unlocking free spins or bonus features. These factors are of higher importance than finding the slots with the highest RTP.
Nowadays there are multiple ways to deposit funds into an online casino account. These options include Visa or MasterCard payments, bank transfers or an e-wallet solution such as Skrill or Neteller. Some casinos also use PayPal but this is not as popular.
This is entirely dependent on each online casino, and the numbers of established and trustworthy sites allowing this option are few and far between. From playing inside the US you have the option of Bovada or Slots.Iv, and for European players the only choice is Bodog. The number of crypto-only online casinos is increasing but these usually lack certifications and licenses.
Yes. Although most welcome bonuses are generic and sites allow users to gamble their bonus across many casino games, there are many casinos that offer online slots bonuses. These bonuses are usually generous and can quickly be cleared to rapidly meet wagering requirements by playing slots.
Nothing usually. The result of the spins would have been determined by the RNG as soon ‘spin’ had been clicked, so even if you disconnect the results of the bet will be reflected in your balance when you next log on. Some casinos do not honor this, so it is always advisable to check.
This varies from casino to casino and also depends on your region and banking history. For example, if you deposited money using an e-wallet service, the casino will likely allow you to withdraw funds via this method. Some sites also have weekly or monthly cash out limits, meaning you will have to withdraw the winnings gradually or receive a check. With reputable and licensed casinos, the collection of your winnings is guaranteed.