Slots are a favourite game at any online casino and there are hundreds of options available for players to choose from. The games have evolved since they were first created in the late 19th century and, as technology has continued to improve, the game features and functions, graphics and sounds have continued to improve as well. Playing online gives players access to hundreds of unique titles all in one convenient location. Players can choose from classic slots, video slots, multi-spin slots and progressive slots. With games featuring different betting options, different themes and graphics and different playing styles, there is something for everyone at an online casino.
The first slots machine was the Liberty Bell which was created by a car mechanic, Charles Fey, in San Francisco in 1895. The machine was made up of three drums, each with ten symbols and it got its name from the highest payout for lining up three Liberty Bell symbols. The machines were upgraded over the years and, in 1963, pinball manufacturer Bally released the first electromechanical machine. These machines included sound effects and a hopper to collect winning coins, removing the need for an attendant. In 1970, the hopper size was increased to allow for larger payouts and this paved the way for progressive jackpots. At the same time, Bally employed a computer engineer, Inges Telnaes, to develop the random number generator that is still in use today. In 1975, video slots came to Las Vegas although it took them until the 1980s to become popular.
In 1994, slots were introduced online as the first online casinos were launched. These online games have transformed the industry with their impressive graphics and animations, sounds and film clips, features and functions. The games include a wide range of special features such as wild symbols, scatter symbols, multipliers, free spins and interactive bonus rounds. Progressive jackpots are also popular and, particularly with online slots, a large number of machines can be linked to produce life-changing jackpot amounts.
Slots are simple games to play. The aim of the game is to spin a winning combination of symbols. To begin the game you must choose your bet size by choosing a coin denomination and number of coins to play with. Place your bet and then click on the Spin button to start the reels spinning. If you click on Bet Max, the reels will begin spinning automatically.
Wait for the reels to come to a stop to reveal the resulting symbol combination. You will be paid out according to the paytable of the game. If you trigger a bonus feature, that will begin play. You may be taken to a separate screen for the bonus feature game. In the case of a bonus feature game, it may require some interaction for the game to play. Once the bonus feature has completed, you will be paid out for any wins and will return to the base game.
Having knowledge of the buttons available in a game will help your gaming experience be smoother and simpler.
Auto Start / Stop: Begin or end the auto-spin mode. This mode allows you to set a number of times the reels will spin automatically, allowing the game to play without your input.
+ and -: Available in the auto-spin mode, this allows you to increase or decrease the number of spins that will play automatically.
Bet Per Line: Allows you to choose the number of coins you will bet with. Click on it to add one more coin.
Bet Max: This activates all paylines and bets with the maximum bet available per payline. It also starts the reels spinning automatically.
Lines: This button allows you to activate new paylines.
Spin / Stop: Begin the reels spinning or stop them spinning.
Once the reels have come to rest, if you hit a winning combination, the following buttons will become available:
Collect: Add your winning payout to your bankroll.
Gamble: Gamble your winnings in an effort to increase them.
Every slots game has a payback percentage and this varies between games. This is the odds of player winning in the game. Typically, a slots game may have a payback percentage of over 90%, which means that, over time, players will win back 98% of the money they bet on that machine, while the casino will take 2%.
Players can rest assured that slots games are random and fair. The random number generator that creates this fairness and the payback percentage of the casino games are regularly audited by a third party.
Slots games continue to improve as technology advances and new bonus features are added to games. These features, along with the large number of paylines, increase the player’s chance of winning.
Slots may be a simple game to play, but there are many terms that are related to the games and feeling comfortable with these terms will improve your gaming experience and your understanding of how to play.
Auto-Spin: A game feature that allows you to set the reels spinning automatically for a pre-set number of spins.
Bonus Feature: A secondary game that once triggered allows you to play to win extra.
Expanding Wild: A wild symbol that expands to cover a whole reel, it results in a greater chance of creating winning combinations.
Fixed Jackpot: The highest set payout awarded for a specific winning combination.
Free Spins: A bonus feature that awards a set number of spins that play without affecting your casino bankroll.
Maximum Bet: The maximum amount you can bet per spin, using the highest coin denomination and the highest number of coins.
Multiplier: A feature that multiplies your winnings by a set number of times so if you win £10 with a 3x multiplier, you will actually be awarded £30.
Progressive Jackpot: A jackpot of a variable amount that increases continuously as players continue to bet on the game. A percentage of every bet contributes to the jackpot.
Payback Percentage: The percentage return on a machine over its lifespan.
Payline: A line of symbols. A payline must be activated for you to be paid out for any winning combinations that line up on it.
Payout: The amount the player will receive for a hitting a winning combination.
Paytable: The table that shows all winning combinations and their payout.
Reels: The spinning wheels of the slots machine that contain the symbols. There are commonly 3 or 5 reels per machine.
Scatter: A bonus symbol that can make up a winning combination or trigger combination without being on an active payline.
Sticky Wild: A wild symbol that remains in place until specific requirements are met.
Wild: A symbol that can contribute to a winning combination by replacing any other symbol.
While it is fun to play slots for free at a casino, if you want to win real money you will need to open a real money account.