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How to play slots online

Slots are the most popular online casino game, featuring action-packed gameplay, exciting themes and huge bonuses to help you reel in big wins. Discover popular slot types, how to play, and tips for hitting the jackpot!

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          How slots work

          The aim of an online slot game is to trigger a win by matching up symbols across active paylines on the reels. You can’t control the outcome, as slot games use random number generator (RNG) technology to generate unpredictable results, but the element of luck is what makes slot games so much fun.

          Most slots include bonus features like free spins rounds or win multipliers and have standout themes. For example, you might find a classic slot game with retro-style symbols or a modern video slot with an Ancient Egypt, animal or fantasy theme.

          Must-know slot terms

          Symbols, paylines, reels… there’s so many words associated with slot games, it can get pretty confusing. Knowing some of the terms will help you understand how to play slots and win when you’re a beginner.

          Slot term Definition
          Symbols The visual elements that appear on the game grid and pay out money when they land in the right combinations on the paylines
          Paylines A line that symbols must appear on to trigger a win. A payline can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal
          Reels The rotating columns on the grid, where the symbols appear during a game
          RTP Return to player, or RTP, is the percentage of money staked on a game which you can expect to be returned to you over a long period
          Volatility How frequently a winning combination lands on the reels. High volatility slots have fewer but larger wins, while low volatility slots have more frequent, smaller wins
          Bonus feature A special extra that you can trigger during gameplay, by landing certain symbols on the reels or a required number of symbols on a payline

          How to play slots online

          Playing slots at an online casino is like playing at a traditional casino, except with the added convenience. Here's a quick and easy breakdown of how to play slots online:

          1. Register an account at your chosen online casino.
          2. Visit the games lobby, decide which slot you'd like to play and open the game.
          3. Select your bet size and paylines to determine your total stake.
          4. Remember, slots are games of chance, so you don't need to learn any strategies! Simply press the spin button.
          5. Watch the reels spin and see if you land a winning combination.

          Types of slots

          There are thousands of slot games, all with their own special themes and features. Classic slots are similar to those found in traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, but you can also play modern slots with 3D visuals and titles with huge progressive jackpots.

          Classic slots

          If you can imagine what an old-school Vegas slot machine looks like, that’s the format of a classic slot. Symbols usually comprise bars, sevens and fruit. While you won't find tons of bonus features, classic slots are easy to play, as they often have three reels instead of five (which is common in other slot types).

          Classic slots are a good option if you’re getting started with online slots or looking for a straightforward experience.

          Three most popular classic slots:

          Video slots

          Video slots have a more modern look and are the slot game format that is popular at online casinos. They incorporate more interactive and visual elements, making gameplay more immersive and entertaining. For example, video slots include more animation on the reels and sound effects to enhance the experience. Video slots usually have more special features too, like wilds, scatters and bonus rounds.

          Three most popular video slots:

          Progressive jackpots

          Progressive jackpots like Mega Moolah are popular because they can pay out life-changing amounts of money. A progressive jackpot differs from a fixed jackpot in that the jackpot prize increases every time any player spins on the game and drops randomly. This means that some progressive jackpot slots can hold eight-figure prizes!

          Three most progressive jackpots slots:

          Penny slots

          Penny slots let you play from just 1 cent, although this means 1c per payline, not necessarily 1c per spin. For example, if a slot has 25 fixed paylines, you’ll still play for 25c per spin. However, some online slots allow you to adjust your preferred number of pay lines from one up to the maximum, so in this case, you can play for just 1 penny.

          Three most popular penny slots:

          Megaways slots

          While all slots come with specific paylines, Megaways slots have much more. In a standard slot game, the number of symbols on each reel is fixed. On Megaways slots, the number of symbols changes with every spin within certain parameters. This means there could be thousands of paylines, giving you even more chances of winning.

          Three most popular Megaways slots:

          Best payout slots

          All slot games come with a pre-determined RTP (return to player percentage), which determines how much a game pays out to players over a long period. Picking a slot game with a high payout rate doesn’t guarantee a win, but it’s a good indicator.

          Some of the best payout slots include 1429 Uncharted Seas, Blood Suckers and Mega Joker, which have RTPs well above the 96% industry average. These are also great slots for beginners as you have a higher chance of getting a good payout.

          Three most popular payout slots:

          Vegas slots

          Vegas slots are the kind of games you’d expect to see in a traditional casino in Las Vegas. If you can’t travel to the real Sin City, online Vegas slots are the next best thing. They can also come with special features like free spins rounds or progressive jackpots.

          Three most popular Vegas slots:

          Types of slot symbols

          Slot symbols can take any form but are usually unique to the slot, fitting in with the theme. Themed symbols tend to have a higher value, so matching these symbols will trigger a bigger payout. Lower-value symbols can also be themed, or they might take the form of letters and numbers found in a deck of cards. Here are the most common symbols:

          Standard symbols

          Standard symbols pay out when you land a specific number on adjacent reels of an active payline. You usually need to match at least three low-value symbols, but depending on the game, you might only need to match two high-value symbols to trigger a win.

          Wild symbols

          Most online slots have a wild symbol, which you can substitute for other symbols (usually anything except bonus symbols) to produce a winning combination. Wilds can also trigger wins by itself (for example, if you match three wilds on a payline).

          Scatter symbols

          Scatter symbols are often more intricate, brighter or animated than other symbols. Usually, if you land three or more scatters anywhere on the game grid, you’ll launch the bonus round. Some slots award a fixed number of free spins; others award more spins if you match four or five scatter symbols.

          Sticky symbols

          Certain symbols (like a wild or another special symbol) can become sticky in some slots. The symbol will “stick” in its place on the grid for the duration of a re-spins or bonus round. More of the same symbols might land and also stick in place to trigger a jackpot.

          Multiplier symbols

          Multiplier symbols amplify your wins. Some slots award multipliers of 2x, 5x, 10x or 15x for a single spin, while other multipliers might be sticky and apply to all of your wins until the feature resets.

          Bonus symbols

          Bonus symbols trigger a special feature. This could be a bonus round where you get some free spins (like in the case of scatter symbols) or another kind of bonus game. Sometimes these are interactive games where you’ll need to spin a virtual wheel or choose between boxes to land a win.

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          How to play slots at land-based casinos

          While learning how to play online slots is more convenient, you might decide to travel to a traditional casino to play in person. One of the advantages of land-based casinos is the social aspect. Playing in a real casino can also feel glamorous, with all the lights and sounds on the casino floor. Here's how to play slots in person:

          1. Choose your casino. Will you be playing at a local casino in Canada or travelling to a destination like Las Vegas or Atlantic City?
          2. Choose your slot game. Do some research in advance to figure out what slots the casino has or walk around the floor so that you can see what's available before you play.
          3. Set a budget. Decide how much you will play with and how much you're happy to lose. Make sure you're always following responsible gambling guidelines.
          4. Fund your play. Some casinos let you add funds to a loyalty card that you can use on any machine, while others require you to play with cash.
          5. Select your bet size and start playing.

          Slot etiquette

          The great thing about online slots is that you can play from home or use your mobile, so you don’t need to worry about other people around you. While playing in a traditional casino can also be exciting, you should remember some etiquette.

          • Don’t disrupt other players with loud behaviour if you're in a group.
          • Don’t reserve your spot for longer than it takes for a quick bathroom break, and if you’re sitting at a slot machine, you should be actively playing.
          • Ensure that you follow any casino rules, such as smoking.

          Slot bankroll management

          You can do a few things to boost your bankroll when you’re ready to play slots. First, sign up to an online casino that offers an excellent welcome bonus. You might find that your first deposit is doubled, or you might get free spins to use on a certain slot.

          Always check the T&Cs before depositing. You can also see if your online casino gives special bonuses for using certain deposit methods or meeting milestones like playing on mobile.

          When finding out about how to play slots online for real money, keep an eye out for free spins rounds, which could trigger extra wins.

          Our top 5 tips for playing slots

          While you can never guarantee a win on any slot game, you can do a few things to increase your chances of getting lucky. These are our top tips:

          1. Claim a casino bonus or free spins offer at an online casino.
          2. Choose a slot game with a high RTP, which gives a better chance at a win.
          3. Max out your paylines - always play with the most paylines available to give yourself more ways to win.
          4. Only play for as much money as you're comfortable with.
          5. Remember, there's no strategy - so just have fun.

          How to play slots FAQ

          Is it safe to play slots online?

          Yes, providing you play at an online casino licensed for players in Canada, it’s safe to play. Regulated online casinos follow strict standards and use trusted payment methods, so your transactions are secure.

          Is there a trick to winning slots?

          Slot games use RNG technology to ensure that every spin is random, and you have a fair chance at winning. For this reason, there are no specific tricks for winning on slots, and it’s all a matter of luck.

          What are basic slot rules?

          The aim of most slot games is to match the same symbols on adjacent reels from left to right on active paylines. Simply spin the reels and match the symbols – the higher their value, the bigger your payout.

          What’s the best way to learn how to play slots?

          The best way to learn how to play online slots is by reading our guide here at Casino.ca. You’ll learn how slots work, how to get the most from your money and where to play real money slots.

          Are slots rigged?

          All trustworthy slot games use random number generators with a pre-determined return to player percentage. This means that you can’t predict the outcome of the spins, so the games aren’t rigged.

          Can you play slots for free?

          Many online casinos let you test slot games for free in demo mode before you decide to play for real money. This is a great way to see if you like the theme and features of the game before playing for real.

          How old do you have to be to play slots in Canada?

          The legal online gambling age in Canada varies depending on your location. For example, in some provinces, you can gamble when you’re 18, while in others (like Ontario), you need to be 19.

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