What are Online Slots?
Slot machines have been a staple of Vegas, and of all casinos in general, for nearly a century - so when online casino games truly started picking up steam in the early 2000s, slot games were a natural pick for their selection. Slot machines, unlike most casino games, can be incredibly diverse in theming and mechanics, allowing online casino fans to enjoy a very large selection of them no matter where they go to play.
Compared their physical counterparts, though, online slots have one substantial advantage: they can be enjoyed for free through various means. Most common is the "demo version" which allows fans to play free slots without risking anything, but also without enjoying any potential profits should they happen to win big. Far more lucrative is the free spins bonus, which enables gamblers to have their cake and eat it too by keeping at least a portion of their winnings while still enjoying the benefits of free slot machine games on casino online.
Types of Online Slot Machines
Try to picture a few slot machines in your mind. Maybe they're the simple machines with fruit symbols on them that used to be popular in casinos a few decades ago, or perhaps you're picturing more modern video slots with fancy graphics and loud music. Whatever you're imagining, we can almost guarantee you that there's way more kinds of slots in the online space than you could have ever suspected!
Fruit machines are some of the most basic free online slots you can find, as they, by definition, aren't able to attract players with beautiful graphics or licenced characters - instead, they aim for simplicity. Most casino games are anything but simple, and even when you're not dealing with games that require strategy, you probably have a lot to keep in mind. With fruit machines, though, there aren't any bonus games or weird paylines. Just you and the reels!
5 Reel Slots
These are the most popular types of slot games, and the kind that you're most likely to encounter while looking for free online slots. They have beautiful graphics and animations and, more often than not, come with special features to make them more attractive. Free slot machine games like "Gonzo's Quest" have puzzle elements in them, while others like "Street Fighter II" offer bonus games with free spins. That makes them very entertaining to play!
Progressive Jackpot Slots
Most slots will reward you with some kind of jackpot for hitting a lucky combination, but the vast majority of times (especially for free slots) that jackpot is set in stone, and everyone who triggers it will win the exact same amount. Progressive jackpots, on the other hand, accumulate over time and consist of a percentage of all bets placed on the game, meaning that by the time it pops it'll be anywhere between several thousand and several million quid!
Three guesses what this refers to! In this day and age, most of us spend more time on our phones than in front of a computer, and that includes where we play free slot games. As the name implies, mobile slots are ones that you can play on your phone without any issue whatsoever - just go into the mobile casino through your phone browser and enjoy some free slots, no download required! Luckily, most modern slots are playable on mobile.
Mega Spin Slots
Stop right there - we know what you're thinking! "I love fruit machines! I love them so much that I wish I could play, like, nine of them at the same time!" Did we get it right? ... Wait, we actually did? Well, in that case, we've got the perfect free slots for you! Mega Spin slots allow you to spin multiple versions of the same fruit machine at once in order to maximize your winnings. So if you're interested in multiplying your fun nine times, there are worse ways to go!
As we mentioned earlier, most free casino slot games (aside from fruit machines) have bonus rounds and free spins that you can trigger by fulfilling certain conditions. Sometimes, those bonus rounds will grant you a multiplier, which increases all winnings you've gained during its activation between 2x and 10x. That way, even when you're playing free casino slot games, you could potentially make some pretty decent winnings, with some luck!
A common category of free slots - outside of fruit machines, you'd be hard-pressed to find a slot that doesn't offer anywhere between 10 and 300 paylines! A payline is essentially the line on which you need to line up the symbols in order to score a win. Everyone knows about the straight line in the middle, but what if you line them up diagonally, or in a straight line besides the middle, or in some weird zig-zag? Extra paylines help account for this!
A fairly new category of slots which only started to take off in the last few years. What makes Megaways games different to regular slot offerings is that their number of paylines is actually random with each spin, as wins are influenced not just by the symbols you can directly line up, but by the configuration of all the symbols that have dropped. While regular multi-payline slots have up to 300 paylines, Megaways slots can have up to 20,000!
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5 Things to Look For When Choosing a Slot
Even the poorest, most dust-covered online casino has literally hundreds of free slot games available for players to enjoy. They say "don't judge a book by its cover", but when all you know about a slot is its name and picture, how else are you supposed to choose? Don't worry - we're here to help you play free casino games that are truly worth it!
RTP - Return to Player Percentage
"RTP" stands for "Return to Player percentage", and while that may sound rather complicated, don't worry: in the realm of free online slots, it's actually pretty straightforward. Every smart gambler knows that the house always wins, but how much? Does the casino retain 10% of all bets, or only 2%? That's what RTP indicates: the percentage of all deposits that are ultimately dispersed back to players as wins. The higher a slot's RTP, the less the casino's cut is, and the higher your chance of winning.
In the past, players have won millions' worth of pounds just from free slots, as most progressive jackpots can still be won even when you're playing with bonus funds. As such, gravitating towards a slot with a very high jackpot sounds like a no-brainer. Of course, the odds of actually winning that jackpot are extremely low, and you often might be better off trying to make a profit over a long period of time rather than all at once. But if you're the thrill seeking kind, jackpots are awesome!
Bonus Games and Free Spins
Who doesn't love games? I mean, that's why we're here, right? Bonus games in free slots not only break up the monotony of non-stop spins with some fun and visually appealing side activities, but they also hide a lot of profit, should you get lucky. Your average bonus game will provide you with free spins, multipliers and cash rewards, all of which can further help you progress when playing free online slots. So even if you prefer regular spins, don't underestimate the power of bonus rounds!
Well-Made Mobile Version
There are two huge benefits to a slot having a great mobile version. The obvious one is that, of course, you can play free slots on your phone, and who could possibly say no to that? The feeling of enjoying some spins while cozy in bed is just fantastic, especially when the weather is cold! But even if that's not something you're interested in, a slot with a great mobile version will also be generally better put together. So even if you're a desktop-only player, don't sleep on the mobile slot machines!
Licence You Enjoy
Look, guys... Let's be honest here, playing free slots isn't exactly a hard science, and if you're doing it solely to score some jackpot, you're doing something wrong. This is a hobby, and it's supposed to be fun - so if you see a slot based on a property you really like, then by all means, forget everything we said and go give it a shot! If you're a crazy huge fan of Guns'n Roses, then try out the Guns'n Roses slot, and if you're an avid gamer, maybe consider some slots based on videogames like Street Fighter II.
How to Play Online Slots
- Estimated Time
- 5 minutes
- What You Will Need
- A registration at an online casino, some free spins (optional)
- Equipment Required
- Phone, tablet or desktop PC and an Internet connection
Free Slots vs Real Money Slots
- Allow you to test slots risk-free
- Can win progressive jackpots even with free spins
- Can figure out strategies without spending money
- Allow you to win real money
- Can win both progressive and regular jackpots
- Bonus games and multipliers can have a huge effect
The Best Slots of All TimeThere are literally thousands upon thousands of free slots available in various casinos, but only a select few truly hold the distinction of being "the best of all time". Here are the greatest free slot games as chosen by UK players:
Starburst was created by NetEnt, the masters of free slots, so you know you're in for something truly special. Its theme by itself isn't anything special (it's reminiscent of classic puzzle games, like ones you'd find often on your phone), but it's the cool features and frequent promotions which make this one stand out. Many of the best online casinos around will give you free spins on Starburst for signing up or fulfilling certain conditions, which quickly shot it to the top of the free slot games chart!
Book of Dead is a great candidate for most popular slot not only in the UK, but quite possibly in the world - it's almost impossible to escape it! If you've ever been to a casino, either physical or online, chances are you saw the Indiana Jones-esque main character's face grinning at you sooner or later. Book of Dead is an absolute phenomenon among free slots, with its jackpots, frequent wins and overall fun, Egyptian atmosphere attracting literally millions of players around the world!
Remember when sexy vampires were everywhere? In case you forgot, "Immortal Romance" is here to remind you by telling the love story of a blood-sucking college professor and a human researcher in the form of spinning reels and jackpots... And often quite directly, as this is one of the few slots with an actual storyline read out by a narrator that you can check out while you're not lining up symbols. This little detail alone makes it one of the coolest games we've seen - no wonder it became so popular!
Another NetEnt classic, "Gonzo's Quest" is themed around a cute Spanish conquistador in search of lost treasure. Thankfully, this version of events is a little bit different from the historical one, as the ruins the titular Gonzo stumbles upon are already abandoned and crumbling - so crumbling, in fact, that any symbols you clear will vanish into thin air, allowing you to stack up further combos as you keep rolling. When it comes to free slot games, that's an offer you really couldn't refuse!
At first glance, Mega Moolah isn't anything specacular, just a free slot with a silly theme and a profound lack of bonus features. So why is it so popular? Could be marketing, could be just the cute characters, or it could be the fact that it held the world record for biggest jackpot ever won from a slot not once, not twice, but three separate times! To this day, Mega Moolah continues to sport one of the most lucrative jackpots in all of online gaming, attracting many with the promise of millions!
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Slot Strategy - How to Win at Slots
Let's be fair here - playing free online slot machines isn't exactly high-stakes poker. There won't be a single strategy you can learn (like, say, blackjack's basic strategy) that can show you exactly what to do and when the right time to hit the lever is. For the most part, free slot machines are a game of luck - you win when the reels align, and that's that. Though with all that said, there are several pieces of advice we can give you to increase your odds just a tiny bit more:
The Best Slot Game Developers
As much as we'd like them to, ultimately free slots don't just materialize from the aether - just like traditional videogames, they're created by teams of very talented and creative developers with a lot of experience making free slots. The unique skills of each team shape how their slots look and play, so it's always important to pay attention to the authors of your favourite games!
NetEnt have a reputation for being the best slot developers in the world, and, looking at their portfolio, it's not hard to see where they got it. Over the years they've created classics such as "Gonzo's Quest", "Starburst", "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Street Fighter II", all of which are known for their high quality graphics, smooth gameplay and beautiful animations.Read more about NetEnt
Microgaming is something of a 'jack of all trades' when it comes to online games - they're known for high quality slots, great table games and also a really great live casino which can be found in dozens of UK casinos. Some of their slot offerings include the record-breaking "Mega Moolah" and "Immortal Romance", so needless to say, they're top tier.
While Playtech put a lot of effort and care into their table and live casino games, they're mostly known for their slots. Among their offerings were the Marvel slots, a shared "universe" of slots with a single progressive jackpot accumulating between them. After Disney pulled the Marvel licence, these offerings were rebranded as Age of the Gods.Read more about Playtech
Unlike the other software developers on this list, Evolution Gaming specialize exclusively in live casino gaming. But don't assume it's for a lack of skill - rather, they've laser-focused all of their efforts into making the best live casino experience possible! And yes, they even created several "live slots", including the first one ever, "Mermaid's Fortune".Read more about Evolution
Play'N GO! aren't the most famous slot provider out there, but we can guarantee there's one game they made that you've absolutely heard of - a little title by the name of "Book of Dead"! It's worth noting that they've created numerous famous games, such as "Alice Cooper and the Tome of Madness", but they all bow compared to their magnum opus.Read more about Play'N GO
Frequently Asked Questions About Slots
Is it possible to play slots for free?
Yes! There are many ways to play free slots online! Demo Mode is the easiest one, where you can try out the game without betting (or winning) any real money, just to see what it's like. In most cases it's as simple as clicking play on the free slots, no download or registration necessary! Free spins and bonus funds that are often given by casinos as a reward for depositing can also be used on slots that you wouldn't bet real money on.
Can I win a jackpot from free play?
It depends on the game and the jackpot. To preface, no, you can't actually win any money, including jackpots, from demo mode - would've been fun if you could, right? However, you can absolutely win most progressive jackpots using free spins and bonus funds given away by the casino. If, for example, a casino gives you 10 free spins on Mega Moolah as a no deposit bonus, you can definitely use them to win the big progressive jackpot.
A slot I like is no longer playable, what can I do?
Unfortunately, not much! Slots get pulled for a variety of reasons - maybe they were based on a licenced property and those contracts expired (like Playtech's Marvel slots, which were huge before disappearing into the aether), or maybe the company replaced it with an updated version. Unfortunately, since slots are tied to a server, if that server goes down, those free online slots will remain just a memory. Sad, but true!
What is RTP?
RTP stands for Return to Player Percentage. Whenever you win at a slot, the money doesn't appear out of thin air - it comes from the deposits of other players who bet and lost. Not all money deposited is ultimately given back to players, as a small percentage is kept by the casino - the amount that is returned, however, is known as the RTP. Meaning that, if £100 are deposited into a slot with a 96% RTP, then £96 will be won by players and £4 will be kept by the casino.
What’s the difference between online and physical slots?
Surprisingly, not that big! Unlike a few decades ago, when most physical slots were mechanical, today the overwhelming majority of them are digital, meaning that, at least in theory, physical and online slot games are exactly the same. Of course, that isn't true for every slot, many of them have separate online and physical versions (like Bejeweled by IGT, which is a completely different slot depending on where you play it), but ultimately they're both just software running on a computer.
Can I claim a free spins bonus more than once?
When it comes to most free spins bonuses, the answer is, unfortunately, no. As tempting as it may be to play free slots forever while also racking up bonus funds, the casino does want you to deposit at some point, so they stand to gain nothing by letting you claim their bonuses over and over again. Past that point, if you want to keep playing free slots you need to play them in demo mode or look for the bonus of a different casino.
Are online slots fair?
It depends on your definition of fair. To elaborate - yes, you absolutely can win a lot of money from slots, they're not lying when they advertise that, and there have been several people who became millionaires from playing slots at reputable casinos. However, the casino will always keep a small cut for itself, meaning that, for one person to win, another must lose, and the difference between the losses and wins will be pocketed by the casino as profit. Whether you consider that unfair or not is up to you.
Which online slot pays out the most?
Definitely the progressive jackpot ones, if you're lucky - Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune and Hall of Gods will give you the best chance to win, if that's what you're after. Depending on your country, it might be a good idea to do some research and see if you can figure out which slots have the top progressive jackpots where you live.