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.
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.
|The visual elements that appear on the game grid and pay out money when they land in the right combinations on the paylines
|A line that symbols must appear on to trigger a win. A payline can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal
|The rotating columns on the grid, where the symbols appear during a game
|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
|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
|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
Playing slots online 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:
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.
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 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 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 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:
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:
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 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:
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.