There are very few online bingo sites that don’t offer online slots as a side order to the main game of bingo, so it seems only fitting that we offer an ultimate slots guide for beginners which will include questions and answers around; spin bonuses, coin values, jackpot slots, slots tips, types of games, payout percentage and winning combinations as well as slots machine strategies.
If you’ve ever been to a UK pub or even the arcade at a seaside resort, then you will have seen the one-arm bandits or slots machines. Those old fashioned mechanical slots where you pop in your coins, pull the lever and hope the winning symbol combination falls into place to make you a winner.
Recommended slot games
Here we list our favourite slot games and where to play them.
Online slots and casino games and are far more sophisticated but are basically just these arcade-style games that can be played on your desktop, tablet, mobile phone or laptop. Like online bingo, you can spin the slot reels anywhere in the world (as long as the country is licenced to offer them). Another similarity is that to play them, you have to make a deposit but with slots, the jackpots that on offer can be life-changing amounts of money!
Playing slots online has the same age restriction as any form of online gambling and you do have to be over the age of 18.
In our guide to online slots for beginners, we try to answer all the questions you may have about trying your luck on the numerous slots and video slots available to choose from at a huge selection of online bingo sites and casinos on the Internet.
How online slots work?
With online slots having become a huge business since the inception of online gambling, how they work is something many people are keen to understand.
Like online bingo, online slots are controlled by a random number generator (RNG) and this has to have been fully tested before the operator offering the slot has been granted their gambling licence. It is the RNG that will determine which symbol appears on which reel in the same way that for bingo, the RNG determines the numbers called.
Different types of slots available online
There are quite a few different variants and slots odds when it comes to playing slots online. This is because a computer programme creates the slots and this means that there is an abundance of options available for the design of the gameplay. You only have to look at the portfolio of some of the biggest named developers in online slots like NetEnt, Microgaming, Play n’ Go, Red Tiger Gaming, Playtech and many others to see the variety in their portfolios.
That said, there are some options more popular than others and for online bingo players, these seem to be the following:
- Three Reel – These are the types of machines you would find in the arcade and originally featured were called one-armed bandits. One payline, three reels.
- Five Reel – Or 5 real is a type of slot that is most popular online but as designers have progressed, we have seen options for the five-reel change quite dramatically. It’s no longer just a spin of a reel but there are expanding reels, avalanche features and much more besides now available.
- Video Slots – gone are the days when the design of the slots available featured cartoon characters or poor quality animation. Now we see feature film type video slots available to play on the Internet.
- Progressive Jackpots – as the name suggests, the jackpots on these slots grow with every spin made and there are overnight millionaires made on a regular basis on these games.
- Mobile Slots – there are some slots that have been designed to play better on a mobile device or exclusively for mobile.
How much should you play on the slots?
First and foremost, responsible gambling is something that you should always adhere to. Never play more than you can afford to lose, and as the Senet Group advertising below shows ‘When the fun stops, STOP’. Note – The Senet Group is now called The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).
If you’re a novice, we suggest looking for slot games that offer low value spins like 1p per payline or penny slots, just to ease yourself into playing online slot games for the first time.
Should you place the maximum bet to increase your chances of winning?
The simple answer is NO!. We’ve already looked at the RNG earlier in this article and increasing your bet could potential only increase your losses.
Your chances of winning are the same on every spin that you play so stick to your budget and enjoy your online slots play by gambling responsibly.
Please note: The more you spend on each spin, the higher the value of any potentially win of course but increasing your bet value does not increase your chances of being a winner.
What are the best slots to play online?
The best slots to play online are those that suit your taste. What are you looking for from your online slots experience? It truly is a very personal experience and with so many different titles to choose from, from so many different software providers, the answer is going to be up to you.
If you’re looking for the top most played slots then this varies from source to source, but will certainly include an array of progressive jackpot titles as players hope to change their fortune dramatically with a win on titles like Mega Moolah, Millionaire Genie and a selection of others from other software providers.
Additionally, it is hard to say which are the best slots to play online because the array of games changes regularly with more and more titles being launched.
From personal experience, the top ten we list one week will soon change when a new game hits the industry from any of the many developers.
Slots game providers
There are lots of software providers when it comes to online slots. Some of the software providers offer more than just an online slot game, and in most cases will provide other casino games including live casinos, blackjack, progressive slots, penny slots, and even video poker.
Top 10 Slots Providers
There are 100’s of slot game and casino game providers, and not just in the UK, but across the globe. From our extensive research, the top 10 software providers for online slots are:
- 888 Games
- Play’n Go
- Pragmatic Play
- Red Tiger
What are hot and cold slots?
Sometimes an online casino or bingo site will offer players a selection of slots that they have labeled either hot or cold. This is just something that each brand will do to encourage you to spin the reels of the hot slot.
Hot is often a game whose jackpot hasn’t been won in a while and is ‘expected to drop’ soon. Cold, on the other hand, is a title that doesn’t payout regularly.
Take this description for what it is, a myth. All slots, like bingo, are run using random number generators and one is as likely to drop a jackpot as another. This isn’t to be confused with RTP (Return to Player) or as some call it, house edge.
You only have to look at the historical wins of a popular slot like Mega Moolah as an example. There have been instances where the progressive jackpot on this title has been won one day and then dropped again less than 24 hours later.
Gameplay and overall popularity should be what determines whether a slot is hot or cold.
What is RTP and why is it different from one slot to another?
RTP stands for Returns To Players and it is the term used to describe the percentage of the amount wagered by a player that will be paid back to them over time.
As an example, if you were to spin 100 x £1 bets on Gonzo’s Quest that has an RTP of 95.97%, you would expect to have lost just £4.03 and won £95.97.
What it is worth remembering is that the RTP is not calculated on a small number of wins like that used in our example, but on millions so, in a ‘normal’ sessions of slot spinning, you may find yourself winning, or losing, more than our example.
Slots would not be very exciting if you were guaranteed to win or lose on that percentage per 100 spins!
What is the trick to winning when playing online slot machines?
There’s lots of resources on the internet you can search for when it comes to finding odds of the game for things like; roulette strategies, poker strategy, blackjack strategy. But there’s no magic winning formula or really any slots tips we can recommend when it comes to playing online slots. If there were, then we’d all be making a tidy sum spinning the reels and the gambling operators would all be bust by now!
However, whilst there isn’t a winning formula (despite what some other web pages may say), you can increase your winning potential by looking for games with a high RTP. You can find the RTP for any slot by looking online; a simple search for ‘[slot name] RTP’ should reveal the answer.
The more seasoned online slots player may also consider what’s called the volatility of a game too. This is sometimes known as variance too. Again, this can be found using a search engine.
They tend to come in three different variances – low, medium and high. Low means that your chances of winning are higher but the payouts are generally smaller. High, the odds are smaller but if you do win, the payouts are higher. Medium – well, that’s somewhere in the middle.
Are wagering requirements different for slots?
Yes! Wagering requirements for spin bonuses and coin values are far higher than those you may be used to when playing bingo and the reason is simple, the winning potential and value are higher.
This means if a casino offers you a 100% bonus on your casino games, the Returns to Players (RTP) will be higher and therefore the online casino needs to ensure they are not losing money from the deposit bonus they offer.
A standard bingo wagering requirement will be something like 4x the deposit + bonus received but if you receive free spins or a casino-style bonus, this will increase substantially to around 35x the bonus or winnings derived from playing slots online.
Always check the wagering requirements of any bonus offer before you choose to accept it.
What is the biggest online slots jackpot ever won?
At the time of writing this article (April 2020), the biggest ever online slots jackpot was recorded at the Grand Mondial Casino on 28th September 2018 and worth an impressive €18,915,721 (approx. £15,140,325 at today’s exchange rate). This was won on the Mega Moolah slot.
However, when we compared with the second largest jackpot won on the same slot on 30th January 2019 at Zodiac Casino worth $20,057,734, at today’s exchange rate that value is approx. £16,054,403. This means that the biggest online slots jackpot is determined by value at the time of it being won.
Grand Mondial – EUR to GBP 28 Sep 2018 – 1.1230227737 = £16,843,577
Zodiac Casino – EUR to GBP 30 Jan 2019 – 1.1441233518 = £16,532,938
There isn’t much in it!
The biggest ever slots jackpot at a retail casino was from a Megabucks machine in Las Vegas. These games are linked statewide in Nevada and boast a $10 million minimum jackpot. There are 700 linked machines in operation but it was back in 2003 at Excalibur that went to a software engineer with a $100 wager on the machine. He landed himself a $39.7 million win which is still being paid out to this day at a rate of $1.5 million a year for 25 years.
Online slots terms
There’s so much to learn and understand when it comes to playing slots online, so here’s our list of terms that might come in handy:
- Banked Bonus – this is a game that gives players a target to aim for, where the bonus keeps increasing until someone wins
- Bonus Features – All online slots games have bonus features and they differ from game to game giving players multiple chances to big wins even on your first spin.
- Bonus Symbol – These can be standard symbols whilst playing slots online or a wild symbol or a scatter symbol
- Hit Frequency – This is shown basically the amount of wins you can get from each spin and is represented as a percentage.
- Max Bet – This is the maximum amount you can bet on each spin.
- Pay Line – This is also known as a win line and simply means the line of symbols which a win or payout is awarded. Most online slots games have multiple pay lines.
- Pay Table – Basically a list of information on what you can win on video slots or video poker
- Scatter Symbols – A scatter symbol might show somewhere else on the win line or pay lie but it will still register a win. If 3 or more scatter symbols appear, you can get to play bonus rounds and bonus features
- Slots Symbols – These vary on each online slot game, and are usually based around the theme of the slot game. It’s quite easy to work out.
- Special Symbol – This is usually a wild symbol which replaces the usual symbols to indicate more options to win in bonus rounds and bonus features.
Editor in Chief
Nickie Shute is the Editor in Chief of Best Bingo Websites and a leading expert in online bingo.
Nickie has been writing and contributing to the online bingo world for over 10 years and cut her teeth writing for bingo affiliate websites, as well as owning her own white- label bingo site.