How to Play Online Slots on Desktop and Mobile

SlotsSlot machines are one of the most popular games found at casinos, and they’re just as popular online. However, online slots differ slightly from those found at land-based casinos.

Most online slot machines feature exciting gameplay mechanics and jaw-dropping graphics. Some licensed games even feature your favourite television or films characters! But how do you play slots? We can help you with that, just take a look at our online slot machine guide.

Slot Machine Basics

Slot machines date back to 1899 when Charles Frey invented the Liberty Bell in New York, one of the first-ever slot machines. The Liberty Bell featured three spinning wheels containing a total of five different symbols including horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell

Over time, however, the slot machine changed, resulting in the first fully electromechanical slot machine created by Bally Manufacturing in 1963, the Money Honey became the first slot machine. By this time, however, the slot machines had fruit symbols on them and had become a hit with gamblers.

Slot games eventually joined online casinos when casino software provider Microgaming launched their very own online slot game named Cash Splash in 1998. Microgaming and its slot game paved the way for the game available today.

Today, slot machines are still highly popular and have come a long way. Online slot games offer new ways to play, more paylines amazing animated graphics or animations and slots based on recent Hollywood blockbusters, but more on that later.

There are actually three different types of slot games, they are Classic Slots, which play with the traditional three-reel fruit slots, Video Slots, which feature five-reels or more along with illustrations and animations, and progressive slots, a large jackpot that continues to increase as the user plays.

How to Play Slots

The aim of slot games is to match a certain number of symbols to win. At traditional casinos, all you need to do is push a button and pull a lever after sliding some money into the machine’s dispenser. And online, it really isn’t that much different.

Online, you make your payment, bet on whichever payline you want and simply press the ‘Spin’ button to get the game going. After hitting that giant button, the reels will spin shortly and then stop before any winning combinations are paid out.

Hang on, what’s a payline?

Paylines, Scatter Pays & Bonus Events

Slot Machines

Winning on slot machines depends on paylines and how symbols fall on them. A payline is basically a betting line where, if a correct number of symbols fall on, can lead you to win. When slot machines first appeared, there was only one betting line.

Now, however, online slot machines feature a large number of depending on the number of reels, though most games include somewhere between 25 and 30 paylines.

Paylines can go in either direction and can be straight, diagonal, zig-zag or run across reels. You win by matching a correct number of symbols on paylines. However, some modern-day slot machines feature scatter pays, designated symbols that trigger a payout even if they aren’t on a single line.

Other online slot machines may feature bonus events, which can either be extra spins or a second bonus screen. Whenever players are presented with a bonus screen, players are offered the chance to play another game that could issue a payout.

The Paytable

Before playing with real money slot machines, you should stop and take a moment to check out the paytable or info icon, which will take you to a screen with all the information you’ll need to win.

On paytable or info screen, you’ll find the different payouts for hitting the various winning combinations as well as a list of all the symbols in the game and details of available bonus rounds.

Betting on Paylines

Now, before hitting that ‘Spin’ button, you should set the bet size and number of lines you want to play with. For anyone wanting to start with smaller bets, you’ll find some bets can start for as little as a penny.

After that, you should select how many coins you want to bet on a particular line. You then select how many paylines you want to play with and then bet on one or the maximum available by clicking them on the side of the game.

Slot Machine Gameplay: Extra Symbols & Features

In addition to the standard symbols that appear on slot machines, there are special icons that offer players the chance to win more. For example, Wild symbols replace other symbols on the reel, making it easier to win. There are also Scatters symbols, which we’ve explained above, as well as Multipliers that multiplies payouts.

Online Slots

On top of that, there are extra gameplay features. These include extra spins, which offers players an extra bonus round, bonus games, which feature instant-win prizes or interactive games, and a gambling feature, which allows players to double their payouts with a game of chance.

In addition, a Pick ‘em Bonus occurs when the player hits three Scatters. Users will then be taken to a separate screen and will be prompted to choose from a selection of different symbols that each offer a different prize or multiplier. Players will be asked to keep clicking symbols until a ‘Collect’ icon appears.

A Click Me Bonus is triggered when three bonus symbols appear on the reels at the same time. Players will be asked to choose one of three icons to reveal a cash prize.

The availability of these extra symbols and gameplay features depend on the slot game you’re playing and the game’s casino provider.


RTP and RNG are two important abbreviations players should remember when playing slot games.

RTP stands for Return to Player and means the payout percentage for each game. It varies depending on the game and developer. The most common RTP of online slots is 96%, though some games may go up to 98%. Meanwhile, real casino slot machines tend to have an RTP of 80-90%.

Meanwhile, RNG, which means Random Number Generator, is the system responsible for the game. The outcome of each round is based on a random number provided by the RNG, which tells the reels when to stop.

Best Mobile Slot Games

Now that you know everything about how to play slots online, we think it’s good to know that most games are also available on mobile phones. That’s right, with the boom of smartphones and tablet computers, gaming software companies have adapted their games to be fully functional on mobile devices.

Head over to our section on mobile casinos and learn which operators excel in this field and gives you a great experience when playing casino games on the go.

Slots Terminology

Bonus Games: Many online slot machine games feature bonus games which are triggered by certain symbols. Bonus games normally offer the player a chance to win an additional payout.

Paylines: Paylines are lines set across the different reels. Players win when a certain combination of symbols land on the different paylines. Online slots tend to feature numerous paylines that can run vertically, diagonally or zig-zag.

Payout: A payout is the amount of money or credits players receive following a successful win.

RNG: Random Number Generator is the system responsible for the game, as the outcome of each round is based on a random number provided by the RNG.

RTP: Return to Player is the payout percentage for each game and can vary depending on the game and developer.

Reels: Reels are the rotating wheels that spin when the player hits the ‘Spin’ button. Reels feature a large number of symbols and most online slot games have five or more reels, offering the player more chances to win!

Scatters: These are special symbols which trigger a payout whenever they stop on the game screen. It doesn’t matter if the Scatters land on the payline!

Symbols: These are self-explanatory. They’re the images that appear on reels and the symbols vary between machines and may be based on recent Hollywood films, television shows or even just fruit!

Wilds: Wilds are another type of symbol that can act as any other symbol on the reel, meaning they offer players a chance to win more.