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Slots, slots, slots. And more slots. If you’ve logged in to any online casino lately you’ve likely noticed that slots rule the online casino world right now.
Sure, there are table games, too. But online slots – both of the free and real money variety – have literally exploded over the last few years to make up the bulk of any online casinos offerings.
Classic 3-reel slots. 5-reel slots. Video slots. 3D slots. Multiplier slots. 100-payline slots. Progressive jackpot slots. Virtual reality slots.
Whatever you know them by, whatever you call them, whatever your preferences, online slots are the overwhelming bread and butter of the casino world either live or online.
For good reason(s), really. Among them:
- Incredibly easy to learn and play
- Very high payout ratios
- Very low barrier to entry – online slots can cost just cents for a pull/payline
- Massive progressive jackpots that can reach the multi-millions
- Quick and easy to try hundreds of different slot games
- Perfect for mobile phones
There are literally dozens of new online slots added every week across dozens of platforms, putting the total number and variety of online slots at record-breaking heights - and perpetually getting higher.
Online slots aren’t going anywhere and are a ton of fun. Here’s how you can get started yourself.
Online Slots Free
The easiest entry point to the world of online slots is the multitude of free slots games out there. You can’t win real money playing free slots (although you can get Free Spins to play on real-money slots – more on that below) but you can definitely have a ton of fun without risking any of your own money.
You can play around with paylines, try out some slots strategies on machines with hold or drop features and discover new slots and bonus games you’d enjoy playing for real money.
Thanks to HTML5 and Flash you don’t need to download anything to your computer to play these free slots, either. Any up-to-date Internet browser (Safari, Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc) will do as will any iOS or Android device you can take on the go like your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone.
The diversity in these free online slots is astounding, really, with hundreds to choose from in all shapes, forms and visual styles.
All you need to do to play one of these free slots is to click the “play now” button, let the game load and place your bets.
Your “score” will be calculated as you win or lose with each spin of the reels and you can alter your bets and paylines just as you would with a real-money online slot machine.
Got some time to kill on a plane or train and don’t want to play for real-money? Free slots online are a surprisingly satisfying substitute to while away the hours before you reach your destination.
Online Slots Free Spins
As mentioned there is a step between free slots and using your own money to play the real deal. Virtually every online casino offers “Free Spins” bonuses when you sign up and create a new casino account with them.
They can range anywhere from 10 to 20 to 200 or more free spins on a selected slot machine in their online casino. These are REAL spins on REAL MONEY slot machines. Meaning you are literally playing with house money and not your own.
Terms and conditions of these free spin bonuses differ from casino to casino but for the most part any real money you win on those free spins is yours to keep provided you wager a certain amount in total.
Some free spin bonuses are “for play” only which means you can use them to try out real-money machines and build your casino bankroll to play with them but you can’t cash out their value.
Either way they are a very enticing offer to pad your bankroll and get some free play on some great online slots.
Online Slots No Download
Both free online slots and real-money online slots can be played without download. Most online casino offer both a free-play version that can be played in any internet browser without signing up for a new casino account.
Because these free slots have no real money involved there is no age restriction on who can play them. Just click, bet and play and watch your virtual bankroll pile up.
If you want to play the real money slots without downloading any software you can do that, too. You will need to sign up and create a real-money account with all of the proper identification to prove you are above the legal gambling age in the country or state you live in.
Once you’ve had your account approved you’ll need to fund it, which you can do via a variety of options including credit card, pre-paid debit card, eWallets, bank transfers and more.
You can then navigate to the slots section of the casino and find all the instant play (in-browser) slots available for real money. We do recommend downloading the full online casino for the best experience or downloading the mobile app if you plan to play on your phone or tablet.
Online Slots Real Money
If you dabbled in the slots at a live casino and aren’t quite sure what to expect with online slots, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
The real “feel” of the casino floor can’t be replicated, obviously, with the clanging bells and whelps of joy ringing around the casino, but playing online slots for real money has its own benefits. Among them:
- Payout Rate
- Bonus clearing
- Reward points
Convenience, of course, is a big one as you can access online slots 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no travel, hotel or tips required.
Sure, live casinos are open an extraordinary amount of time too but online you have any slots game you want at your fingertips, always.
Variety is also something you’ll notice pretty quickly making the transition to online slots. It might feel that live casinos are wall-to-wall slot machines but they don’t come close to the variety of slots machines you can find online.
The biggest and best online casinos can offer 500+ slot games on demand and the variety within that 500 is impressive. Any type of reeled slot you can imagine (and many you couldn’t even imagine) is there for your enjoyment.
Progressive jackpots online are another real asset. With hundreds more machines contributing to the pooled jackpots they can reach eye-popping heights in a fraction of the time it would take at a live casino.
The biggest network slots like Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune, Age of the Gods and the like regularly reach $10m+ jackpots. There are literally dozens more with jackpots that reach over $1m+.
Your odds of hitting that progressive jackpot are low, of course, and the payout rates on progressive machines dip slightly but if you don’t have your heart in your chest at least a little bit when the reels slowly click into place on a mega progressive slot, you’re made of steel.
Speaking of the payout percentages, you’ll also find online slots consistently have higher payout rates than a live casino with 96-99% the norm. With no casino overhead to pay for there’s just that much more money available to return to slots players and online slots players reap the benefits.
Online slots are also super important vehicles for clearing online casino bonuses as they count 100% towards your wagering requirements. They’ll also boost your rewards points exponentially.
Online Slots for Real Money USA
If you live in the United States you know you can find a live casino in virtually every state but online it’s another matter. Currently just 4 states – Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware & Pennsylvania – have legislation in place to allow for legal, licensed online gambling.
If you live in (or are physically within the borders of) any of those states and you’re of the legal age, you can create an online casino account and play real-money online slots.
The account process will require you to prove your age and geo-location will ensure you’re within state borders to access the games.
As a fully licensed and regulated online casino each has a live casino partner where you’ll be able to make deposits to your online account. Deposit and withdrawal options are plentiful with deposits by credit card, debit card, eWallet and more available.
Games are inspected and monitored for proper RNGs and payout percentages and all transactions are guaranteed secure.
There are “offshore” casinos (ie casino either licensed in other countries or unlicensed entirely) that do accept US casino players but we recommend against playing there. Because they are not monitored or inspected your deposits and winnings cannot be guaranteed and you have no recourse should they withhold any of your winnings.
State-by-state legalization is an ongoing process (with California, Michigan and more working on legislation for online gambling) but until then we recommend against any online casino not authorized to offer online slots in the USA.
Most officially licensed online casinos in other countries (for example in the UK or Europe) have withdrawn their real money games for US customers.
Online Slots UK
The opposite is true in the UK. All online casinos that offer online casino games to UK customers must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
Very strict regulations are in place to ensure customer security and safety and the UK has one of the most established online casino industries in the world.
All of the major UK online casinos – 888 Casino, Ladbrokes, William Hill, etc – are massive companies listed on the London Stock Exchange so you’re assured of all the proper business protocols as you would with any business.
Online slots is big business in the UK, too, with slots games making up a similarly huge portion of the online casino game selection.
Online Slots Canada
Canada is comparable to the UK in that online slots and gambling are regulated and licensed by the provincial government in three provinces – BC, Manitoba and Quebec.
All customers of legal age can sign up and play legal online slots in those provinces with all the proper protocols and protections of government oversight.
Slots players in other provinces can access offshore online casinos to play real-money slots but again we recommend only playing on an offshore casino that is properly licensed and regulated in a legal jurisdiction.
Online casinos licensed in the UK, Malta, Gibraltar and Isle of Man are very safe choices. Be sure to look for an official licensing seal on the front page of each casino to see which agencies and government oversight commissions have properly inspected and approved their games.
Online Slots Bonus
Many online casinos will offer slots-specific bonuses you can collect for playing online slots. There are two main online slots bonuses:
“Cashable” bonuses – Money you can actually cash out after you’ve fulfilled any wagering requirements.
“Sticky” bonuses – bonuses you can use to play online slots with but you can only keep winnings from, not the original amount of the bonus.
Both are, well, free money. And free money is always good. There’s good value in both, too. Sticky bonuses can often be pretty hefty with a ton of free spins (in the hundreds, even) which can really skyrocket your winnings.
The downside of course is that you need a pretty hefty bankroll yourself to withstand some of the swings of heavy slot machine play. And you don’t actually get to cash out the amount of that bonus.
As online casino bonuses go, though, slots bonuses are the most commonly offered and can lead to big jackpots.
Online Slots Mobile
The advent of the smartphone and mobile apps have undoubtedly revolutionized the online casino industry. The simple format of a slot machine itself makes it such a perfect fit for mobile play as you only need a few clicks to make the magic happen.
And that’s definitely a reality these days. Anyone with a mobile phone or tablet (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry) can download dozens of different mobile casino apps and play hundreds of different types of online slots.
That being said, the number of mobile slots you can play is smaller than the full array of online slots you can access with the full software download.
Still, you can access some pretty great slots on your phone including many of the big jackpot slots. It depends on the software company providing the games as to how many different slots will be available on the app but it’s usually a solid selection.
Some of the higher-intensity video slots could lag a bit on your phone but most slots really use little data so won’t even make much of a dent on your monthly allowance.
Free wi-fi is also much more universal than it once was so you can usually find a free network out there to save some data. We’d recommend against playing real-money slots on an open wi-fi network but a secure wireless network is fine.
Also a quick note: generally speaking, most online casino apps are made for iPhone over Android. And some apps will only let you access real-money play, not the demo versions.
Online Slots Tournaments
If you’ve never dabbled in slots tournaments before they’re a surprisingly fun twist on average slot play and require no real skill or acumen.
If you’ve played a slots tournament at a live casino you know they draw in a lot of new players and offer a lot of free value.
Generally slots tournaments cost no money to enter. Each player is then given a certain amount of credits. Once the timer starts, the player who earns the most “profit” when the time is up wins the slots tournaments.
The prize is usually real cash money split between the top 2 or 3 credit earners. Frequent online slots players will sometimes be rewarded with a slots tournament entry to a special buy-in event with an actual prize pool.
Big slots tournaments can actually have thousands of entrants and build pretty huge prize pools so they can be very exciting to play. You’ll likely have to advance past a few levels of the tournament to make it into the money but the rewards can be impressive.
As for the best slots tournament strategy, all you really need to do is spin the reels as fast as you can and hope for good fortune.The biggest slots networks like Playtech and Microgaming usually offer the biggest slots tournaments.