What are Online Slots?
Online slots are modernised versions of the classic fruit slot machines. Instead of having to dress up and travel to a land-based casino, you can now play these games online from the comfort of your home. All you have to do is sign up with your preferred online casino, and you’re all set.
Like the original pub slots, the new online slots also have reels and paylines. When you place your bet and hit the spin button, the reels start spinning, and if you match identical symbols on an active payline, you’ll collect a payout as shown in the slot’s paytable.
Compared to the old-school classic fruit machines, today’s online slots come in so many different themes and reel configurations that finding your favourite will be a piece of cake. Some of them you can even try out for fun in demo mode before playing for real money. Plus, all modern slots are built from the ground up using advanced HTML5 technology, making them perfect for playing on the go.
Moreover, some top game developers release new slots weekly or monthly, so there’s always something new and exciting to look forward to. Further down this page, we’ll talk more about the types of slots you can play, but for now, we’ll tell you how to spot your next favourite online game.
What Makes a Good Online Slot Game?
Finding a good online slot game is pretty easy, but if you’re new here, we’ll tell you exactly what to look out for when looking for your next favourite online casino slot. Here goes.
- Captivating theme – the easiest place to start is to choose games based on slot themes. Hundreds of slots are out there featuring dragons, ancient Egyptian gods and mythological creatures. Colourful visuals, gripping soundtracks and fun characters are some of the elements that make games highly immersive. You can also choose games based on films, cartoons, comics, TV shows and even popular rock or heavy metal bands – branded slots are also abundant.
- Bonus features – a mix of dynamic bonus features is what brings a slot to life, but not only that. They can also extend your gameplay, help you hit the top jackpot and, in general, provide you with some fun-filled gameplay. Look out for games with free spins, respins, win multipliers, walking wilds, gambling wheels, and special bonus games – all of them will add to the experience and help win big.
- Jackpots – talking about thrilling action and big wins, why not look for slots with progressive or in-game jackpots. Admittedly, jackpot games aren’t always better than regular slots, but the possibility of hitting a multi-million cash prize will add an extra layer of excitement to your gameplay.
- Key stats – good RTP slots mean better return on your investment. We’re not saying that games with an RTP below the current industry average of 96% are not worth playing, but the higher the RTP level, the better the payouts. Progressive jackpots, for example, have much lower RTP, yet they’re some of the most popular games worldwide. Look out for the best rate for you – some developers might release games with customisable RTP levels. When it comes to volatility, again, this depends a lot on your playing style and budget. Low volatility offers frequent but smaller wins and vice versa; medium and high volatility slots offer bigger payouts but less often.
- Betting limits – min and max betting limits are as important – they refer to the value you can bet on your preferred slot. The bigger the range of bets available, the better for your budget. If you’re playing a jackpot slot, you’ll probably want to bet max to have a better chance at hitting it – you can only bet the absolute top stakes to hit the jackpot in some slots.
- Mobile format – mobile slots are not a new concept and thanks to advanced HTML5 technology, most online slots today are mobile-friendly. So if you’re out and about often, look for slots compatible with the latest Android, iOS and Windows gadgets, including phones and tablets.
Why Should You Play Online Slots?
It’s easy to see why online slots are so popular. They are easy and fun to play, don’t require special skills or preparation, and on top of that, you can win real money! Here are some other reasons why players choose to play slots online:
- Convenience – not only can you play all your favourite slots online from the comfort of your home, but you can also discover new releases all at the same time. Plus, many of them you can play in demo mode before spending your own cash.
- Assortment – a wide selection of slots is a good reason alone to try online slots. There are thousands of games available at online slots sites, enabling you to pick and choose titles with the best odds, the most vivid graphics and the most entertaining gameplay right on the spot. For inspiration, you can visit our slot reviews to see what’s currently trending in the UK.
- Compatibility – most if not all the current slots are developed using groundbreaking HTML5 technology, making online slots compatible with all the latest Android, iOS and Windows mobile gadgets. This means you can also play on the go from any location via your phone or tablet.
- Bonuses and special features – feature-rich slots with bonuses are always fun to play. They come with free spins and other special features that could significantly enhance and extend your gameplay. Better yet, playing games at casinos with various bonuses can further boost your winning chances.
These are just some of the perks of playing slots at online casinos. To find some of the best slots sites, visit our handy toplist of the best online casino sites in the UK.
Why should you play online slots?
The excitement of potential winnings while having fun makes online slots some of the most popular online casino games. And, unlike table games, slots are easy to play and don’t require special skills. But there’s more to slots games than just easy fun. Let’s take a quick look at why you should play online slots.
- Convenience – Not all of us have the luxury of jetting off to Las Vegas for a night of a lifetime. But, thanks to online gaming, you can join a casino online and play you favourite games anytime. More so, you can test many slots for free.
- Wide Selection of Slots – Another perk of playing online is the infinite selection of slots available at online sites. You can access games with the best odds, the best graphics and the most entertaining gameplay, instantly. Check out our slot reviews to find out which ones are the top slots to play in the UK.
- Play On The Go – You’ll never be out of slot action with mobile gaming. Most of the respected game developers create online games using HTML5 technology. This way they cater to players who love spinning on the go. Which is, let’s face it, the majority today.
- Bonus and Special Features – Another reason to play online slots is for their extra bonuses, free spins and special features. Such components can positively impact your gameplay by creating more winning chances while enhancing your gaming experience.
These are just a few perks of playing at online casinos. Remember to check our recommendations for the best online casino sites in the UK.
Find the Best Slots to Play Online
Finding the best slots to play online is easy. It just takes a little bit of time and effort. Our casino experts recommend doing your research first. This includes reading slot reviews, watching gameplay on Youtube and playing slots in demo mode. Playing slots for fun is especially helpful – it allows you to thoroughly experience the game and its features.
One more way to find the best slots for you is to choose them based on your bankroll. If you have a limited budget, look for slots with bonuses and free spins, which will extend your gameplay and provide you with additional chances to win. Finally, you can filter games based on your preferred structure, layout, and graphics.
Below you’ll find some of the most popular slots categories available at most online casinos.
Derived from the traditional land-based fruit machines, video slots are the key games at many online casinos. Each of the games has a different number of reels, rows and pay lines. They can also come packed full of special features such as bonus games and free spins. Think of fun slots such as NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest or the legendary Book of Dead by Play’n GO. You just have to choose the right casino.
Fruit slots go way back to the days when online gaming wasn’t so easily accessible. They were simple pub slots that featured fruit symbols on the reels. Players liked them because they were easy and fun to play. Today the best online fruit slots have added features, colour-bursting graphics and captivating soundtracks. Why not try Microgaming’s Deco Diamonds, Twin Spin by NetEnt or Imperial Fruit by Playson. We have them all at JohnSlots.
3D slots are enriched with HD graphics making the games super fun to play on both your desktop and mobile. Jungle Jim El Dorado by Microgaming is a good example. Enhanced with beautifully crafted symbols it also comes with many special features. Among many captivating 3D slots, the epic Yggdrasil’s Vikings go to Hell slot has also been stealing the headlines. Loaded with plenty of bonus features it’s worth giving a quick spin.
These kinds of slots are known as millionaire-maker slots. Think NetEnt’s Mega Fortune or Microgaming’s Mega Moolah. Online jackpots here are linked across many different online casinos and grow until they’re bagged by a lucky player. If you fancy giving it a go, check out our list of the top progressive online jackpot slots and where to play them.
Invented by Big Time Gaming, Megaways slots are a modern take on conventional slots as we know them. Their signature feature includes cascading reels with up to 117,649 possible ways to win on every spin. While the number of reels stays fixed, each reel in these types of games can have 2-7 symbols. BTG’s Bonanza was the debut slot in this brand-new genre, but now you can enjoy games with Megaways mechanics from many other top developers.
Slingo games are hybrids of slots and bingo. Exclusive to Slingo Originals, these games use popular slots like NetEnt’s Starburst as a base and turn reels into a bingo card-like grid. Your aim is to match numbers on the slot grid and complete as many slingos as possible.
Slots with Bonus Rounds
Bonus rounds such as free spins, expanding symbols, respins, sticky wilds or bonus wheels can elevate online slots to the next level and keep players coming back for more. Some of the most popular slots with bonus rounds include Immortal Romance, Big Bass Bonanza, Reactoonz and many more.
What are Slot Reels
Slot reels are the foundation of any online slot. Every slot machine comes with a set of reels which are vertical columns that spin and reveal symbol combinations whenever you hit the spin button. Most classic slots have a 3-reel setup, while modern slots feature a layout of 5, 6 or 10 reels. The number of reels contributes to the overall look and feel of the slot, and while it doesn’t impact the payout percentage, it does affect the outcome of your spin due to different numbers of paylines.
Because of the increased number of reels, 5-reel and 10-reel slots, for example, have a greater number of paylines than 3-reel slots, giving you more opportunities to hit a win.
What are Slot Paylines
Like reels, slot paylines are an integral part of any online slot. They are straight, vertical, diagonal or zigzag patterns programmed to identify a win. Depending on the game, you’ll often need to line up several identical symbols on an active payline from left to right on adjacent reels to win.
Today’s most popular video slots have multiple paylines running into tens and thousands of winning lines, including slots with win-both-ways or Megaways mechanics. The latter can offer 117,649 incredible win ways on every spin.
You’ll find that most slots have this information displayed in their paytable. Within the slot’s rules, the developer will also tell you in which direction you need to line up winning symbols to score a win, so be sure to check that before playing.
Symbols and Special Features in Slot Machines Explained
Symbols in slots are the special icons that award a payout according to the paytable when you create a win on an active payline. When it comes to special slots features, these are some of the most common symbols you’ll encounter:
- Standard symbols
- Wild symbols
- Scatter symbols
- Bonus symbols
- Multiplier symbols
In classic slots, symbols usually depict fruit, lucky sevens, diamonds, stars, and BAR icons, but symbols in many modern slots are more elaborate. Many developers today use character symbols to enhance the slots’ themes visually. These picture symbols usually act as the highest-paying symbols, a combination of which could see you winning some fantastic payouts in just a spin. Special symbols, like wilds and scatters, don’t always have a monetary value but can activate special bonus features like free spins, respins or other bonus games. Let’s take a closer look.
Standard symbols are the high-paying and low-paying symbols from the paytable. They don’t usually have the powers to trigger bonus rounds, but they can award a payout when you hit a winning combination. In most slots, the low-paying symbols are represented as playing card icons such as A, K, Q, J and similar, but they can also be depicted as runes or other critters, depending on the theme. The same goes for the high-paying symbols. They can be simple icons or represented by characters related to the theme.
Wilds, also known as substitutions, are some of the most popular bonus symbols. They may or may not have a monetary value, but they are handy when building winning combinations. If they land as part of a potential win, wilds will almost always substitute for other regular symbols to improve the prize-winning payline. In addition, wilds can take many different shapes. Some of the most popular include walking wilds, expanding wilds, multiplier wilds, sticky wilds and stacked wilds.
Scatters are your best friends in any slot game. Like wilds, they don’t always pay, but they’ll help you activate free spins, respins or other special bonus rounds in most games. Typically, you’ll need to land at least three scatters anywhere on the reels in the base game to trigger a bonus game, but in some cases, they’ll need to hit specific reels to reach the next level. In many slots, scatters also work as retriggers, meaning that if you land a scatter during the bonus round, you’ll retrigger the current bonus round.
Bonus symbols are very similar to scatters because they’re also responsible for triggering a bonus game. Bonus symbols are less common in classic slots but appear regularly in modern slots. For example, landing six or more bonus symbols will trigger a jackpot bonus game or a jackpot wheel in jackpot slots. In other slots, bonus symbols may trigger other special mini-games like the famous Link & Win feature.
Multiplier symbols or win multipliers are quite trendy, but not all games have them. As the name suggests, depending on the game, they can increase your bets by a preset value. Some games may come with multipliers of 2x, 10x, 100x and more; others might have progressive or persistent (sticky) multipliers. These usually come into play during bonus rounds, but some games might also have small-value non-progressive multipliers added in the base game.
Free Slots vs. Real Money Slots
Free slots are the same real money slots that you can try for free in demo mode before you spend your cash. The primary purpose of free slots is to allow you to experience the slot in full with no risks involved. When you play slots in demo mode, you can still access the exact same features, trigger bonus rounds and win, but not in real money. Playing slots in fun mode is one of the best ways to learn about the slot’s mechanics and how it works. It’s also a great way to test new releases, and you’ll find that most online casinos allow players to try their slots for free.
Best Online Slots Games
With an infinite amount of games, how do you even begin to decide what are the best slots to play online. We feel your pain so we sent our slots team to do the digging. They say the top 10 online slots below are a good place to start.
|Book of Dead||Play’n Go|
|Vikings Go To Hell||Yggdrasil|
|John Hunter series||Pragmatic Play|
This gem of a game is one of the most recognisable slots in the iGaming industry. Players just can’t get enough of its dazzling gem-encrusted theme and win both ways expanding wilds. It’s also a medium variance slot meaning that the wins here are frequent. And despite the lack of in-game bonus features, Starburst is still one of the top online slots from NetEnt.
2. Gonzo’s Quest
Beautifully crafted, equipped with tumbling reels and increasing multipliers, Gonzo’s quest is one of the best slots to play online. It’s highly entertaining, with frequent payouts and beautiful Aztec jungle theme. Just like Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest slot is not a game of many special bonuses and yet it’s stolen many players’ hearts.
3. Mega Fortune
Known as the millionaire-maker slot, Mega Fortune is well-known among the slots enthusiasts. It’s all about the luxury here. The yachts, the sparkle, the champagne. NetEnt sure knows how to create immersive gameplay. And with 3 jackpots up for grabs, it never stops featuring among the top 10 online slots to play in the UK.
4. Book of Dead
If we had to list the best online slots in the UK, the Book of Dead slot would make the cut. The graphics here are stunning. This high variance game comes with many in-game bonus features to help you win including free spins, expanding wilds and scatter symbols. A risky game though. Just like the many other online slots by Play’n GO.
5. Immortal Romance
Immortal Romance is such a vivid online slot and one of the top slot games from Microgaming. It comes with 243 pay lines, a multifold of bonus features and big payouts. The supernatural vampire theme is exceptional too, expertly executed with detailed graphics and an eerie soundtrack. We can’t fault this game.
6. Mega Moolah
Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is another record-breaking slot game that could bring you many riches. It’s rigged with 4 progressive jackpots: Mini, Minor, Major and Mega. Each starts at 10, 100, 10, 000, and 1 million respectively. And because the slot pays out randomly, you can win on any spin. As a rule of thumb, the higher you bet, the bigger the payout.
7. Vikings Go to Hell
A strong favourite by Yggdrasil is the hardcore Vikings go to Hell slot. The last but not least in their Viking-themed trilogy, the slot is brilliant, beautiful and extremely high-risk. It’s not your ordinary gentle game from Yggdrasil’s slot collection. But if you think you can handle the pressure, then join the Vikings, collect your rage points and go battle the fallen angel.
This Yggdrasil slot grows on us each time we play it. It’s fun, well made and pays both ways but comes as a high variance game. It has one special in-game feature, the Jokerizer Mode, to help you win some cash. If you are lucky, you can win 600x your bet here. Don’t expect to win too often but do give this slot a spin. It’s the players’ favourite for a good reason.
9. Blood Suckers
Slots players love the vampire-slaying Bloodsuckers. With endless payouts and rewarding bonus features, it makes a fun and spooky gameplay. More so, the slot comes with lots of great in-game features and a 5-level bonus game. Here you could land a 2x or 3x multiplier, depending on your luck.
10. John Hunter Series
We’re super excited about John Hunter since we haven’t had the chance to mention any of the Pragmatic slots yet. The adventurous Indiana Jones inspired online game has spawned many sequels. John is an avid traveller and treasure hunter, and his series of slots have seen him seek out the Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians & more! This slot series is where the real treasure lies.
Best Slot Game Providers
Many online games providers deliver on their promise to create fun video slots. But only a handful put their heart and soul into the slot development process. And only those that do, have made it to our shortlist of the top game developers in the UK. Take a look.
- Play’n GO
- Pragmatic Play
The software leader in the gaming industry, NetEnt has been developing some of the most exciting online slots for over 20 years. During which, the developer has brought to life Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest, two of the most loved slots around. Today, they continue to strengthen their brand by releasing slots chock-full of unique features and ground-breaking bonus games. Jumanji and Planet of the Apes are both good examples as are the vampire-slaying slots Bloodsuckers I and II. And let’s not forget their millionaire-maker pooled jackpots such as Mega Fortune, Hall of Gods, Arabian Nights, and Mega Fortune Dreams.
As an up and coming games studio, Yggdrasil has been breaking the glass ceiling since 2013. Starting with their mysterious brand name, they’ve been indulging slots players with amazing Nordic and Egyptian themes. Their cold and icy Viking trilogy with the latest Vikings Go To Hell title was well received by players around the world. The stunning Valley of the Gods didn’t go unnoticed either. Featuring stunning graphics and the 3,125 ways to win mechanism, the slot has been a major hit since its release. We are excited to see what’s coming next from this player-focused games studio.
3. Play’n GO
Due to their immersive gameplay and mobile-friendly content, Play’n GO is represented in many casinos across the world. The Book of Dead slot, a fetching replica of Book of Ra, is the definition of Play’n GO provider. Ever since its release, the game has been a testament to the developer’s endless love for slots. Their collection has all kinds of video slots. From easy to play slots to exceptional games with daring gameplay. Such is the Queen’s Day Tilt slot with a moving grid and wild falls for endless wins.
Operating since 1994, Microgaming has created many titles that we all know and love. Take the vampire-themed Immortal Romance, for example. Packed with exciting features, the 243 ways to win slot is an iconic release that has stood the test of time. With new online games released every month, their slots collection is endless. Whether you like fantasy or TV show themes, you’ll find them here. The latter include Terminator and the Love Island slot among many. Microgaming is also at the top of the leaderboard in the progressive jackpot slots category. Their Mega Moolah progressive jackpot slot holds the record for the biggest ever online slot payout of £13,209,300. Need we say more?
With Quickspin you can experience both real money casinos and social gaming. Co-founded in 2011, the stylish new kid on the block has already been praised for its exceptional impact on the gaming industry. Their main goal to deliver superior games right to your desktop (and mobile) is the main driving force behind this Swedish brand. Eastern Emeralds, Sticky Bandits and Spinions Beach Party are just a few of their slots loved by British players and worldwide punters alike. The great news is their library keeps growing rapidly. New exciting mobile-optimised slots titles are added as you read.
Need more information? Here you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about online slots by visitors to JohnSlots.
How do I know if a casino has the slot I want?
The easiest way to check if an online casino has the slot you want to play is to browse the games library. At some casinos, you might even be able to test the slot for fun before making a deposit.
Are online slots legal in the UK?
Yes, playing slots in the UK is legal, but for a safe and secure experience, we recommend playing at online casinos licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission.
Can I win real money on online slots?
Yes, you can win real money when you bet on real money slots.
How do I play free slots in the UK?
You can play free slots at many online casinos in the UK. Alternatively, you can visit the developers’ websites – some of the top studios allow players to try their slots in demo mode.
How can I find the best slot games online?
The easiest way to find the best slot games is to read our unbiased expert slot reviews on our website.
Can I win money from free slots?
No, when you play slots in fun or demo mode, you don’t win in real money, which is the major difference between free and real money slots.
What are the demo slots?
Demo slots are the same as free slots. They contain all the same real money slot features but don’t award payouts in real cash.
What is RTP?
All slots come with a return to player level which indicates the percentage the slot pays out over time on average. The current industry average is 96%, but RTP can vary between 92% and 98%, depending on the casino.
How do I know the RTP or volatility of a slot?
Most slots have this information disclosed within their paytable; when available, you can find it in our slot reviews. Also, some developers may display the key stats on their websites.
Can slot volatility affect my winning chances?
Yes. High volatility slots pay out less often on average, but the chances of hitting big wins in a short space of time are higher. Low volatility games pay less but more often.
What are exclusive slots?
Exclusive slots are usually in-house games designed for a specific casino that can only be found at that particular site.
What’s an offline slot?
These are the original land-based casino slots that can be found at brick and mortar casinos, pubs and amusement arcades.
Can I play slots on mobile?
Yes, most modern slots are built using advanced HTML5 technology and are compatible with the latest Android, iOS and Windows phones and tablets.
How do I get free spins on a new slot?
One way to get free spins is to sign up with a casino that offers them as bonuses. Otherwise, you can claim free spins as a returning customer via promotional offers or win them by participating in various slots tournaments or challenges.
Can I use free spins on any slot?
Not always. Free spins are usually restricted to specific slots indicated by the casino and can’t be used on just any game you like, unfortunately.
What are no deposit slots?
No deposit slots mean that you don’t need to deposit cash to start playing slots; you only need to sign up with the casino to claim this bonus. However, be sure to check the terms and conditions as these types of slots often come with wagering requirements.
How often are new slots released?
There are no strict deadlines for new releases – it depends on the developers’ schedules. Some have a weekly or monthly calendar, others release games ad-hoc.
What is a progressive jackpot?
It’s one of the most rewarding slots, offering a top prize that keeps increasing over time until a lucky player wins it.
What is a local vs network jackpot?
A local jackpot is a site-specific jackpot that only players registered at that casino can win. Network or pooled jackpot is the top prize accumulated across multiple casinos from the bets made by players worldwide.
How to win a jackpot?
There’s no magic formula to winning a jackpot, but it’s always a good idea to check the game’s rules and key stats. Taking advantage of bonus offers and playing the game in demo mode can also help.
Are slots luck based?
Yes, slots are built using random number generators (RNG) and don’t require special skills, making them games of luck.
Online Slot Expert
Leanna Madden is an expert in online slots, specializing in analyzing game providers and evaluating the quality and variety of slot games. With her extensive knowledge, she guides players to the best slot options, including high RTP slots and those with exciting bonus features. Leanna's insights help players make informed decisions and enjoy rewarding slot experiences at online casinos.More info on Leanna Madden
Facts checked by Leanna Madden , Senior author