Why Play Online Slots and Are they Safe?
Are online slots safe? Yes.
Are there hundreds of different slots online? Yes.
Basically, if you’re looking for action, entertainment, safety and variety, online slot games are perfect.
From TV-themed spinners to high-stakes progressive jackpot slots, the market is awash with options.
Are Online Slots Legal to Play in the UK?
In the UK, it is legal and safe to play slots online. Modern slot games are built to extremely high standards.
The main component you need to know about is the random number generator (RNG). An RNG ensures the results are fair.
In simple terms, an RNG is a programme that uses advanced algorithms to produce random results. There are some parameters within which slots operate (e.g. volatility and return to player).
However, the crucial part to understand here is that RNGs ensure slots are fair.
But couldn’t an operator manipulate an RNG?
These companies check the randomness of an RNG, issue a certificate of fairness and monitor the software over time.
Therefore, if an online casino is licenced, you can be confident that its UK slots are 100% fair.
Finally, in addition to safety, reliability, and fairness, modern online slots have to function within certain responsible gambling parameters.
This is another licensing condition that ensures the developer and operator don’t encourage irresponsible behaviour.
What are Online Slot Machines and Why Play Them?
Online slots are digital representations of what you’d find inside a land-based casino, social club or pub.
In other words, online slots are modern-day fruit machines you can play via your computer or mobile from the convenience of your own home.
Did you know?
All online slots are tested and certified as fair by third-party agencies before they can be hosted by UK-licensed online casinos.
Slot Games That Fit Your Style
Check out any top-rated casino site and you’ll find a plethora of video slots and classic-looking slot machines online.
From free online slots to jackpot games, there are options galore.
Although every site has its own nuances, you should expect to see anything from 100 to 1,000+ slots at a modern online casino site.
Because of that, it’s easy to find a game that suits your style if you know what you’re looking for.
Things to Look for When You’re Choosing an Online Slot
There are thousands of slots online. Sifting through them isn’t easy if you don’t have a list of things to look out for.
To help you select the best game, we’d suggest sizing up the following features:
The first thing you’ll see when you look at online slots in the UK is that each one seems to be inspired by a particular theme.
Some games have unique designs, others are based on movies, TV shows, exotic or ancient settings, rock stars and more.
There are almost as many slot themes as there are slots, so you can afford to be selective.
Even though slots are designed to be entertaining, you can’t ignore the fact they offer cash prizes.
Real money online slots can have jackpots worth a few hundred pounds or even millions.
You need to weigh up the cost of playing against what you can win and the game’s payout potential.
Ultimately, you need to know how to identify the best payout slots.
3. Risk level
There are no guarantees in this business. Even the best online slots won’t pay out 100% of the time, and you should be prepared for a risk.
However, you can assess the potential risk/reward ratio by looking at a slot’s volatility and return to player (RTP) ratings.
Playing slots with a high RTP will improve your chances of winning in the long run.
All slots are powered by an RNG. This ensures the results are random and fair.
Programmed into RNGs are two variables that determine a slot’s overall payout potential – volatility and RTP.
These scores shouldn’t be taken as a guarantees of how much you’re going to win as they’re calculated over a very large number of spins.
The point here is that, over time, your win rate should reflect the volatility and RTP scores.
Volatility represents the frequency at which an online slot will, in theory, pay out, as well as its relation to the size of payouts.
In other words, how often you’ll spin in a prize and how big it will be.
- Low Volatility Slots
Low volatility slots are designed to pay out on a more frequent basis than medium and high volatility games.
The prizes will typically be smaller but more consistent.
- Medium Volatility Slots
These games fall somewhere in between low and high volatility slots.
That means they’ll pay out less often than low volatility games but more often than high volatility slots.
- High Volatility Slots
The defining feature of high volatility slots is that they don’t pay out often but, when they do, the value of the prize is high.
5. Slot RTP
RTP stands for Return To Player. This score tells you how much you’ll win, on average, for every 100 credits you bet.
For example, a 98% RTP means that you’ll receive, in theory, 98 credits back for every 100 you wager.
Again, this score isn’t a guarantee. Sometimes you might win 110 credits for every 100 you wager, sometimes it might be 90.
However, over time, your results should move towards the RTP. Therefore, when you’re searching for a slot, make sure you consider the volatility and RTP rate.
6. What’s Your Budget?
If you can’t afford to play, don’t. It’s that simple. You should never spend more than you can afford.
If you’re a complete newbie, you can play free online slots.
If you’ve got money to spend, new online slots allow you to adjust the stake, number of active paylines, and the amount you’re betting per payline.
You need to find games that allow you to wager an amount that suits you.
As a general rule, you should have at least 500 bets for the stakes you want to play. So, if you’ve got £100 to spend, that means you should bet £0.20 or less per spin.
What Types of Slots Are Out There?
In addition to the general theme of a slot, you can look at its underlying structure.
Most games have five reels. However, those with a classic theme can have three, while new online slots may have six, seven or even more reels.
Therefore, you need to know what’s available and, in turn, find a structure that suits you.
1. Number of Reels
How many reels can online slots have?
These slots are often described as classics or online fruit machines because they mirror games that were popular in the 70s and 80s.
As well as three reels, these slots will often have between one and five paylines.
Approximately 90% of the UK online slots have five reels.
These games allow for more paylines and features than 3-reel spinners, hence why they form the basis of today’s leading video and progressive jackpot slots.
6-Reel and 7-Reel Slots
Developers have got creative in recent years and that’s taken slot gaming technology to new levels.
Thanks to innovations such as Megaways, traditional formats have been enhanced.
Today, you can find games with six, seven and, at times, even more reels.
2. Game Type
What type of slots can you play online? Let’s take a look…
Classic Slots and Fruit Machines
These online slots are designed to look like the traditional slot machines that some of us love so much, featuring the classic fruit symbols along with other symbols like 7s, Bars, and Stars.
Online slot machines tend to be quite straightforward and usually come with a small amount of paylines and a simple reel setup.
They may also have various other features like free spins, a gamble feature (the possibility of gambling your winnings for a higher amount), as well as a jackpot.
Best Online Slot Machines
Dozens of classic online slot machines are released every year, but of course they’re not all worth playing.
Below, we suggest some classic slots by different providers that can be truly rewarding if you get lucky, and which you’ll find at most UK only casinos.
- Deco Diamonds (Just for the Win)
- Jumbo Joker (Betsoft)
- Jokerizer (Yggdrasil)
- Mystery Joker 6000 (Play N Go)
- Twin Spin (NetEnt)
The best online slots typically fall into this category.
There isn’t a specific theme or feature you can use to define what a video slot is.
The main characteristic to look out for is reels. Video slots typically have five reels and a selection of wilds and bonuses.
3D online slots are a subgenre of classic and video slots. They’re a subgenre because they feature the main characteristics of classics or video slots but provide a different perspective, literally.
Instead of showing you the reels and nothing else, 3D slots show you the machine in its full glory.
Progressive Jackpot Slots
These slots take a small percentage of everyone’s bets and add them to a communal pot.
That allows the prizepool to grow at an exponential rate, especially since these slots are normally available across multiple casinos. Once someone hits the right combination, they scoop the pot.
This makes progressive jackpot online slots more lucrative than those with fixed payouts.
Best Progressive Slots
Some progressive jackpot slots are famous for paying out millions to lucky winners, with a couple of them breaking world records for the biggest slot payouts.
Here is a handy list for you should you wish to decide to aim for a life-changing amount!
- Mega Moolah (Microgaming)
- Major Millions (Microgaming)
- Cash Splash (Microgaming)
- Divine Fortune (NetEnt)
- Joker Millions (Yggdrasil)
- Arabian Nights (NetEnt)
- Age of the Gods (Playtech)
- Gladiator slot (Playtech)
Megaways is a slot payout mechanic developed by Big Time Gaming.
The system can be applied to existing slots or used to make new ones.
The main characteristic of a Megaways slot is its random number of ways to win. Basically, you never know how many active paylines there will be when you spin.
There will often be six reels and, depending on how things line up, Megaways slots can have up to 117,649 ways to win.
There are several slots of this kind that you can try out these days, with the best ones in our opinion being listed below:
Best Megaways Slots
- White Rabbit
- Temple of Treasures Megaways
- Who Wants to be a Millionaire Megaways
- The Dog House Megaways
- Great Rhino Megaways
Cluster Slots Online
Traditional online slots have a certain number of paylines across which you need to line up matching symbols.
Cluster slots don’t have paylines. Instead, you need matching symbols to land in clusters i.e. they need to be touching.
Best Cluster Slots
- Reactoonz (Play N Go)
- Gem Rocks (Yggdrasil)
- Aloha! Cluster Pays (NetEnt)
- ChilliPop (Betsoft)
- Sweet Alchemy (Play N Go)
How to Win More on Slots
There are certain games where skill has a place at the table.
For example, an understanding of mathematics can help you reduce the house edge in Blackjack.
When it comes to slots, there isn’t a lot you can do. Because the result of a spin is random, you can’t increase your chances of winning.
What you can do, however, is control things before you spin.
By making the right choices, it’s possible to enhance your overall experience and get the most from a game.
1. Read Our Reviews
The starting point for any aspiring slots player should be our slot reviews you can find on this page.
Find out what we’ve got to say about today’s top online slots.
By getting the facts and our expert insights, you’ll be in a better position to find the sites and games that suit your preferences.
2. Watch Slot Streamers Play
There are slots fans that have found ways to fuse strategy and entertainment.
Although these players can’t show you how to win or provide strategies that are guaranteed to work, they are fun to watch.
Some online slot streamers to look out for on Twitch are:
3. Slot Strategy and Bankroll Management
As we’ve said, there isn’t a way to swing the odds in your favour when you play slots online.
In turn, that means there isn’t a strategy you can use to guarantee a win.
However, it is possible to optimise your approach to gaming.
As well as reading our reviews and watching slot streamers, you can learn to manage your money.
As we noted earlier, have at least 500 bets in your arsenal.
Also consider the volatility and RTP of a game. How often is it likely to pay out?
Will the average prize be large or small?
What’s our overall potential?
Answer these questions and look at what the prizes are before you spin.
4. Take Advantage of Casino Bonuses and Free Spins
If you’re going to play slots with real money, it’s not a bad idea to think ahead and choose a casino operator that will give you a welcome bonus.
You can then use it on slot games, so you have more money to play with.
Many casinos also offer tens and even hundreds of Free Spins for online slots, so you can try them for free but win real money, subject to certain terms and conditions.
Besides the welcome bonus, the best casinos in the UK also run offers involving free spins for existing players on certain slots.
It’s worth claiming these offers as part of your efforts to win more on slots.
Most casino VIP programs also give away extra bonuses or spins as rewards, which you will be able to use on a selection of online slots at the same casino.
5. Play Slots for Free!
To help you get to grips with what today’s casinos have to offer, you can play online slots for free.
You’ll have to be registered with a site to unlock this feature.
However, demo mode turns real money games into free online slots and you can try them out on our site!
These games are not only fun but provide a way for you to learn the basics.
How Do Slot Games Work?
If you don’t want to think about RTP scores, paylines and betting options, the least you can do is understand how online slots work.
When you know the basics, you demystify the process.
To put it another way, when you know how slot games work, you won’t get emotional.
You know your results will fluctuate and you won’t get frustrated because it’s all part of the game.
Online slots work by means of what we call a Random Number Generator (RNG), a computer processor that randomizes all possible outcomes.
Therefore, the outcomes of your slot spins are not pre-programmed, and do not depend on your previous spins.
Instead, they are determined by the number at which the RNG has arrived to during that millisecond when the spin button is pressed.
With that in mind, here’s how the average online slot works once you start playing:
- You place a bet and hit the spin button.
- The reels spin and come to a stop.
- Each reel has a selection of symbols on it. Thanks to the spin, they’re now lined up in a random fashion.
- Crisscrossing the reels will be a certain number of paylines. If you can match three or more symbols (usually from left to right) across any active paylines, you’ll win a prize.
- To help you form winning combinations, a slot may feature wild symbols. These can substitute for any other symbols except scatters.
- If you line up enough scatter symbols, you’ll receive a bonus. This can be free spins, a mystery pick’em round, or something else. The point here is that scatters unlock special features that are separate from the main game.
- Finally, if you’re playing a progressive jackpot slot online, the top prize won’t have a fixed value. Instead, it will be worth whatever is in a pot of cash that increases in value each time players make a bet.
How much can you win on Online Slots?
Your winnings online slot wins depend on the paytable of each individual slot.
Each same-symbol combination will have a certain payout depending on the symbol itself and the number of symbols in that combination.
For example, landing on a combination of 3 cherry symbols may pay out 10 times your initial stake, whereas a combination of 3 diamond symbols in the same game will pay out 20 times.
However, if you get a combination of 5 of those symbols, you’ll get a higher payout (with the diamond payout still being higher than the cherry).
The maximum you can win from a slot machine, therefore, depends on the payout for the highest paying symbol, and on the number of high paying symbols that you manage to land.
The best online slots can pay out a thousand or more times more than your original stake (for instance, Dead or Alive II slot can pay out a whopping 100,000x your stake if you unlock the maximum win).
Online Slot Providers You Should Check Out
Every online casino game developer brings something different to the table. Some focus on entertainment, others push for bigger jackpots or more ways to win.
Our recommended casinos feature games from a variety of companies.
However, our three hot picks below should provide a good starting point for anyone that’s just starting out in the business.
- NetEnt Slots
NetEnt is often regarded as the top slot developer in the world.
Aside from creating more games than anyone else, NetEnt strikes the right balance between style, substance, payouts and theme.
- Yggdrasil Slots
If you want innovation and creativity, Yggdrasil slots are perfect.
This developer makes highly stylised games that not only provide rich storylines and animations, but neat features such as levels. In many ways, Yggdrasil slots are more like video games than casino offerings.
- Big Time Gaming
Big Time Gaming is the company behind Megaways. This payout system has revolutionised online slots.
The innovative structure means you can activate up to 117,649 paylines at random each time you spin.
What’s more, the megaways mechanic has also been applied to many of the industry’s top-rated slots, such as Bonanza Megaways, Gonzo’s Quest Megaways and Fruit Shop Megaways.
Slot Glossary – Learn the lingo
|Payline||An imaginary line across the reels on which symbols need to appear for a winning combination to be formed. You can normally view all the paylines on a slot’s paytable. Paylines can be fixed or adjustable|
|Reels||The ‘columns’ of online slots, and can be understood as vertical barrels with symbols that you spin to land the winning combinations.|
|Jackpot||The biggest payout that is possible on a certain slot game. You cannot win more than a jackpot.|
|Free Spins||A set of spins which are played out as a bonus. The free spins round often comes with additional rewarding features.|
|Wild Symbols||A symbol that replaces all other symbols in the game to help you form more winning combination. In some slots, you’ll also find Stacked Wilds and Expanding Wilds.|
|Scatter||A symbol that activates a slot’s bonus game if you land a certain number of them|
|Base Game||A term used to differentiate the slot’s ‘standard’ mode from the bonus or free spins mode.|
|Bonus Game||The free spins round or another type of bonus game within a slot (e.g. a Pick and Click bonus game).|
|AutoPlay||The option to set a specific number of spins to be played automatically.|
|Multiplier||A slot feature that multiplies your win by a specific number (e.g. x10, x50)|
|RTP||The Return to Player Rate of a slot game, which is the percentage of stakes that the game will pay back over a large number of spins.|
|Volatility||Also called ‘variance’, this refers to the frequency at which an online slot is programmed to pay out, as well as its relation to the size of payouts|
|Hit Frequency||A percentage which indicates how often a slot machine will stop on a winning combination.|