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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, popular 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 enjoy playing slots online.

Compared their physical counterparts, though, popular 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 online slots games 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 casinos online and their free slot machine games.

They are available world-wide from the UK to South Africa and the US. Everywhere in between.

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. Take Relax Gaming's Bill & Coin for example! 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!

The Online Casinos With The Best Slots

Top 5 Casinos for Slots
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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 new 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.

 Big Jackpots

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 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? That's why the no-deposit free spins for bonus games can supercharge your fun but also bring lots of opportunities for profit, should you get lucky. Your average bonus game will provide free spins, multipliers and cash rewards, 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. Obviously, you can play free slots on your phone, and who could say no to that? 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, 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

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
Log in
Log into the online casino
If you don't have a registration yet, make sure you make one! If you do, just log into your account.
Make your deposit
If you don't have any free spins, then you need to deposit some money to be able to play.
Select Slot
Choose a Slot to Play
Pick out the slot that interests you most from the selection available at your casino.
Place Bet
Select your wager
Choose how many coins to bet per spin and the value of one coin.
Play Slot
Hit the Lever!
Okay, online slots don't have levers, but press the button and see how much you won!

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 Casino WELCOME PACKAGE
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The Best Slots of All Time

There are 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:

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:

  • Pace yourself
    We know the thrill of putting down a large bet and trembling as you watch it pan out - trust us, we do. We also know that most of the time those bets don't end up panning out at all, and we either lose our money or we win so little that it somehow ends up being more disappointing than if we had lost. Even when you play free slots with a bonus amount, it's rash to bet it all on a single "lucky" spin. Try making multiple smaller bets over a long period of time.
  • Don't fall for sunk cost fallacy
    Ah, drat, you were this close to getting that fifth oyster in order to unlock the bonus game, but you ended up with a losing streak that made you run out of bonus funds! Maybe it's time to evolve the free slot into a paid slot just to get that last oyster? Not necessarily! Betting more when you wouldn't have otherwise just to recoup old losses is known as the "sunk cost fallacy", and it'll easily sink you too if you're not careful.
  • Ask yourself if you're having fun
    At the end of the day, free slot games are just that - games. They may be free, and they may be interesting, but that doesn't mean a thing if they're not actually fun to play. If you find yourself turning on the auto play and then going to make yourself a drink, maybe consider trying out a different slot. The best online slots games, such as NetEnt's fantastic "Street Fighter II", find a way to keep you glued to your screen throughout.

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!

Frequently Asked Questions About Slots FAQ

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, to see what it's like. In most cases, it's as simple as clicking play on the free slots, no download or registration is necessary! Free spins and bonus funds 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 win any money, including jackpots, from demo mode - it would've been fun if you could, right? However, you can win most progressive jackpots using free spins and bonus funds from the casino. If, for example, a casino gives you 10 free spins on Mega Moolah as a no deposit bonus, you can 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 various 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, those free online slots will remain just a memory if that server goes down. 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 deposit 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 several people have become 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.

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Jacob Evans Written by Jacob Evans