Most sites do not make their own games, rather games are licensed from developers and this means on the whole many slot sites do pretty much the same thing. Operators differ based on the providers they offer but all sites now list 100’s of different slots from multiple developers, so unless you specifically want to play one game or one software there is not much to choose between them all in terms of games.
If you can therefore play the same games with hundreds of brands how do you choose between sites Well, there is more to playing slots than just the games themselves and some sites are much better than others when it comes to things like offers, payment methods, support, other products and features.
The sites listed here are the ones we think are the best overall, in terms of the choice of titles and how the brands are to play with on the whole. We’ve been playing slots online for over 20 years and we hope we can save you some time when it comes to finding the best. Further down this page you can also find a detailed guide to how to choose slot sites and how to play slots.
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How To Play Slots Online
As a newcomer to the world of online casinos and slot games it can seem like there is an impenetrable amount of information to digest. Let us put your mind at rest, millions of people have been here before you so it’s really not all that complicated.
We will take you through the whole process from beginning to end, discussing each aspect as it would come up in real life. This means we will be circling back to certain topics as necessary, but this has been done to keep us on track and stop the guide going off on tangents.
Hopefully, signposting the process in a linear way like this will make it much easier for you to follow and understand. If however you want to jump straight to a specific section click the links below.
Choosing a Casino
First off, we need to find you a casino to play at. The good news is that you are not going to be stuck for choice, there are literally hundreds of online casinos vying for your attention.
A quick internet search will throw up no end of options, but what you want to be checking first is that any casino you consider joining is properly licensed. At the bottom of the homepage will be a lot of tiny writing. Well somewhere in that lot will be a licence number and a link to that casino’s licence page at the UK Gambling Commission’s website. This means the casino is legit.
After that it’s a case of choosing a casino that has the right vibe. Some are funky and flashy, others take a more sophisticated approach, while some will be household names more famous for their sportsbooks.
It’s personal preference here, so have a quick look at a few, pick the one that you feel will suit you best (or the one with the best welcome bonus), and dive in.
Sign Up & Registration
Initially you will just need to enter a few details to set up an account. They will ask for some personal information but they need this by law, so don’t let it worry you.
Next to the ‘Log In’ button there will be a ‘Register’ or ‘Join Now’ button or something similar. Hit it, and you will be prompted for the following:
- Real Name
- Date of Birth
- Phone Number
That’s it. You might get an e-mail with an activation link but apart from that you should now have a successfully registered an account at the online casino.
Verifying Your Account
Ok, we lied, there’s more.
The gambling industry is heavily regulated, and as such the casinos themselves have a duty of care towards their players, and also a responsibility to ensure they are obeying the law.
Verification is the process of checking that you are indeed who you said you were when you registered. This didn’t used to be an issue until you wanted to withdraw funds, at which point all casinos would need to verify your identity; these days, new rules mean that verification is going to start happening at the point you open an account, so you are going to need some ID ready.
|Passport||Proof of age and identity|
|Drivers Licence||Proof of age and identity|
|Utility Bill||Proof of address|
|Bank/Mortgage Statement||Proof of address|
|Bank Card||Fraud/money laundering prevention|
This can take between 12 and 48 hours, so make sure all of the above are in date and that the scan or photograph is clear, otherwise you could be delayed further and even need to provide stronger evidence of your identity. Nobody has got time for that – get it right first time.
Why All the Fuss?
If you’re rolling your eyes and sighing at the thought of all this procedure then believe us, we hear you. But actually, not only is it a legal requirement but it’s for the good of the industry and the players.
You see, those with addictions might have self-excluded when they were thinking straight, only to fall of the horse, so to speak, and try to sign up somewhere else to continue gambling. These checks should flag vulnerable people like this. The same goes for anyone underage who is trying to create an account.
They also interrupt criminal activity such as money laundering, keeping the underworld out of the industry and improving its reputation which, let’s be honest, hasn’t always been squeaky clean in the past.
These checks, while momentarily annoying, are good for the industry and for you as a player, and so long as you are using a UKGC licensed casino your ID is totally secure.
So you’re all set up with a verified account, great, that’s the boring bit over with. Next, you need some funds to play with.
Most online casinos will have quite a few options here, some you might not have heard of before and some you will probably already use every day.
Things to consider:
- Timeframes – Depositing money is instant 99% of the time, so you can be up and running in seconds. However, using a direct bank transfer can sometimes take longer, and there are still one or two casinos that accept cheques!
- Limits – Every casino will have minimum and maximum deposit limits and these could be different for different methods of payment. The lowest is usually £5 but £10 is more normal, it can be as high as £20 or even £50 at some places. Check this before you sign up. Maximums can vary wildly but will usually be much more than us normal folk can afford.
- Methods – These will differ from one casino to the next and will also depend on your country of residence. The options are usually made up of bank cards, ewallets, vouchers, and pay by phone. UK customers will commonly find:
|Payment Name||Payment Type||Notes|
|Debit Card||Bank Card||The same as any online purchase|
|Skrill||eWallett||May not always be used with bonus|
|Paypal||eWallett||May not always be used with bonus|
|Neteller||eWallett||May not always be used with bonus/May allow use of Bitcoin|
|ecoPayz||eWallett/Pre-paid Card||May not always be used with bonus/can’t always use to withdraw|
|PaySafeCard||Pre-paid Card||May not always be used with bonus/no withdrawal/lower limits|
|Bank/Wire Transfer||Online Transfer||May need to be pre-arranged/Good for larger amounts/Fees may apply|
Claiming a Welcome Bonus or Free Spins
Before we move on, let’s touch on bonuses.
One benefit of being a newbie to online gaming is that there are plenty of new player or welcome bonuses to claim when you sign up to a new site. These will often take the form of a matched deposit bonus, or a specified amount of bonus funds and/or free spins on specific games when you sign up or make your 1st deposit.
These aren’t always automatic though, and there are generally two points in the process where you are able to ‘opt in’ to receive the bonus:
Registration – You may be asked to accept the bonus towards the end of the registration process, so keep your eyes peeled and if there is a promo code then have it to hand. All you need to do is check the box that says ‘yes’ or ‘opt in’ or something similar.
Deposit – If you weren’t asked at registration then you will be prompted when you deposit. The same applies, check the appropriate box, click the right button or enter the promo code. If you ignore the prompt you could miss out on the bonus.
The bonus funds or free spins will now be credited to your account ready for you to use. We will discuss how to use them a little later.
How to Find Slots
If you have signed up to a dedicated online casino then this will be easy as pie; the slots should be right there in front of your face from the get go.
If you have signed up to an old school bookie or a casino that also has a sports betting side to it, then you may need to navigate to the casino page using the main menu. This will usually be at the top of the homepage and is very difficult to miss.
The casino interface will be brimming with slots. There might also be some table games like roulette or blackjack in amongst them, but all casinos will allow some degree of categorisation so you can filter them out.
Bigger brands might have a casino and a games/slots section. There will be slots in both, it’s just that their official casino will be powered by one specific game developer so they have created a separate section for all the games from other providers. It makes no difference to the player.
Picking a Slot
Which slot you pick, on the other hand, will make a difference. There will probably be a few hundred at the very least, with some casinos boasting more than 1000.
Choosing which one to play comes down to a few points:
- Theme – All slots are themed; animals, space, wild west, steampunk, fruit, sport, Vikings, no tone has been left unturned – there’s even a slot about stones.
- Developer – You will get a feel for this as you go along, but some players prefer certain game developers over others. It’s about taste in design and how the games play.
- Features – Almost all games have features such as wilds, scatters, free spins, bonus rounds, different paylines, jackpots, etc. Again, you will get a feel for this as you go along.
- RTP/Volatility – This is getting a bit technical for a new player, but they basically mean the game’s overall value and how often it pays out on average. RTP stands for ‘return to player’.
As a brand new player with no experience, it’s just a case of getting stuck in really and seeing what you enjoy.
Best Value Slots
If you want a head start, here are a few slots which offer great RTP’s and are also fun to play. There’s a good mixture of old and new in here, as well as various different themes and styles.
- 1429 Unchartered Seas – The RTP of 98.6% is almost unheard of amongst slots, so theoretically this is a very high value game. The reels are spread across an ancient map aboard an explorers ship and the game is visually stunning. There are a good handful of features and you can bet as little a 0.10p per spin, so it’s a safe one to get started with too.
- Blood Suckers – This is a more dated title to look at, but the Vampire theme is ever popular as is the 98% RTP. There is a fun bonus game too where you slay vampires in coffins for extra winnings. It’s a little pricier though at 0.25p minimum stake per spin… hehe, ‘stake’, vampires…
- Star Mania – Not as theme heavy as the others, but an equally rewarding RTP of 97.87% makes it worth a look. There is a retro yet futuristic vibe to Star Mania, and the symbols represent different types of star floating in deep space. It’s another cheap one at 0.10p a spin but it is fairly simple with only wilds and freespins as extra’s.
- Retro Reels Extreme Heat – This is an oldie but a goodie. Even though it looks older than the hills – it’s even designed to look like an old pub fruit machine – the RTP of 97.5% makes it worth playing. There’s also a cool re-spin feature that lets you spin one reel a second time if you are close to a winning combination.
- Jack Hammer 2 – There are other slots with slightly higher RTP’s, but we had to include Jack Hammer 2 because the brand has been so popular with players since the original was released. You are Jack Hammer, a comic book detective, and you have 99 paylines to investigate. You also have sticky wins, wilds, and freespins to contend with. RTP is 97.1%
How to Play a Slot Game
Alright so you have chosen a casino, picked yourself an interesting looking slot, now what do you do with it?
There is a bit of variation here because all slots handle slightly differently, but the basics are always the same.
- Load the slot a watch any intro there may be.
- Have a quick look at the paytable and game information.
- Choose how much to stake.
- Choose how many paylines to play for (if applicable).
- Hit ‘Spin’.
- View results.
That’s really all there is to it. The game knows if you win so you don’t technically need to know what’s going on, but it’s much more fun if you do.
Stakes are sometimes displayed per line rather than per spin, so 10 paylines at 10p a line is £1 per spin. If this is the case, your total bet per spin will still be displayed somewhere on the screen, even if it is small, so make sure you double check how much you are betting.
Sometimes there are ‘coins’ thrown in as well. This is an unnecessary extra confusion but amounts to the same thing as adjusting your stake level. You can set your coin value and then choose how many coins to bet, so if your coins are set at 10p each and you bet 5 coins per spin that’s 50p.
Here is a bit of useful basic terminology to help you understand the slot you are exploring:
|Bankroll||The money you have available to play with.|
|Symbol||The icons on the reels. Each has a different value or purpose.|
|Wild||A symbol that counts as any other, like the blank tile in Scrabble.|
|Freespins||Extra spins that don’t affect your bankroll. A free chance to win.|
|Paylines||The specific combinations the symbols have to make to qualify as a win.|
|Scatter||Symbols that can trigger a win or a bonus round wherever they land.|
|Multiplier||Will multiply your win by the amount shown; x1, x2, x5, etc.|
|Payout||The amount that has been, or can potentially be won.|
|Pay Table||Tells you what each symbol is worth when landing 3, 4 or 5 of them on a payline.|
- Most slots pay left to right, so winning combinations only count if they start on the left most reel and continue with no gaps.
- Some slots allow players to adjust how many paylines are active for each spin. Others have this fixed in place.
- Careful for the ‘Max Bet’ button. This will increase your stake to the highest amount allowed, which can be hundreds of pounds.
- The ‘Auto’ button will spin the reels X amount of times if you tell it to, so you don’t have to keep clicking your mouse.
- Adjusting stake level won’t affect your chances of winning, only how much you can win.
How to Use Bonus Money or Free Spins
Remember when we mentioned bonus offers? Well now you know how slots work, let’s look at how to use your bonuses when playing them.
If you have bagged yourself some free spins then these will only be usable on specific games. When you load these games up you should be notified that you have freespins to use so there isn’t anything else for you to do other then use them. The game will tell you when they have run out.
For bonus funds, these will be added to your account. We could go down a rabbit hole with this, but talking in basic terms, the bonus money will be used automatically as you play, you don’t need to do anything.
You do need to read the terms and conditions though, and be aware of:
- Wagering/Play Through Requirements – A £10 bonus with 30x wagering would mean £300 worth of bets would need to be made to unlock any bonus winnings. This sounds like a lot, but a decent play session will see your bankroll go up and down a lot, and every bet counts, so this can soon add up.
- Time Limits – You have limited time to use your bonus spins and funds before they disappear. This also applies to the time you have to play through any wagering requirements.
- Contributions – Some game types count towards wagering requirements more than others. Slots are usually 100% but games like roulette can be as low at 10%.
How Are Winnings Paid?
When you win on any spin the amount that has been won will be added back to your bankroll. This can sometimes be less than your stake if you land a lower paying combination, so your bankroll can end up as a bit of an odd number.
The bankroll shown on the slot will be the same as the amount in your casino account, so the funds are moved automatically as you go.
At the end of your session just close the game, you don’t have to worry about where your money goes; anything you have left – or any extra money you have won if you’re lucky – will be instantly available to play with on another game, or to withdraw from your casino account.
How to Withdraw
You can only withdraw from the cashier at the casino, never from the game itself. This button is usually located next to your account button and will be called banking, my account, cashier, or sometimes there will be separate ‘deposit’ and ‘withdraw’ buttons.
- Open the cashier.
- View your balance and select the mount you want to withdraw.
- Select the banking method you want to use.
- Hit ‘Withdraw’ or equivalent button (this is where your involvement ends).
- Your request will go through to be processed.
- After processing, the funds will be transferred to your account.
Generally speaking, you will have to withdraw using the same method you used to deposit. Where that isn’t an option, the casino will guide you on their standard practice.
Some casinos keep requests ‘pending’ before they process the withdrawal. This is utterly pointless and shouldn’t be allowed – they are basically just hoping you will cancel the withdrawal and spend the money at the casino.
|Payment Type||Average Processing Time|
|Debit Cards||1-5 Working Days|
|E-wallets||Within 24 Hours|
|Pre-paid Vouchers||Withdrawal Not Possible|
|Bank/Wire Transfer||2-7 Working Days|
That’s it. You now know how to get started with slots.
Of course, there is much more to it than that and we are sure you have questions. So we have tried to answer some of them in brief, below.
As you get more experienced you might want to find out even more, but for now, this should be enough to keep you going.
What Does RTP Mean?
We touched on this earlier, but a slightly fuller explanation is probably called for.
RTP stands for ‘Return to Player’ and is displayed as a percentage such as 96.5%, and in its crudest terms means that, theoretically, for every £100 spent the player will get back £96.50. The leftover 3.5% (or £3.50) is the house edge.
It never works out like this though. The percentage is calculated over millions of spins and is intended as an indication more than a definitive amount. What you win or don’t win on each spin will be random.
Of course, your aim is to hit a winning streak and get out while the going is good.
What is a Progressive Jackpot?
Progressives differ from regular jackpots because the jackpot amount is built up steadily over time using very small portions of every stake bet. These machines are being played at casinos all over the world too, so the number of people accessing them and contributing to the jackpots is huge.
That means that the jackpot you are playing for isn’t just limited to the people registered to your casino.
The money is actually handled by the game provider, the company who built the game in the first place, and this leads us on nicely to…
Who Owns/Provides the Games?
As we were saying…
Although some casinos do make their own games, these are few and far between.
Most casinos work with a number of game developers or providers whose sole purpose is to build and maintain slot games. It is the developers who own and operate the games, the casino just licences them for a fee – they even run on the developer’s server rather than the casinos.
This leaves the casino free to deal with their operation and also means their players can access hundreds of games from different providers. That’s why you so often see the same games at different casinos.
Is the Slot the Same at Two Different Casino Sites?
It’s an understandable question and the answer is yes.
The casino has nothing to do with how the game operates or what goes on under the hood. The mathematics and the algorithms are all handled by the developer, and because the game runs on the developer’s server as opposed to the casinos, you are playing the same game wherever you have accessed it from.
A good example would be if a specific game went down or offline at one casino, it would also be down everywhere else that it was usually available.
How do I Know the Games Are Fair?
Another understandable question.
Firstly, most game developers have been in business for decades, so they have solid reputations with both casinos and players that aren’t worth putting at risk – and if they were behaving unscrupulously they would have been caught out by now.
Plus, all games go through a rigorous testing period before they are released and there are various independent testing labs and companies that do this. eCOGRA is probably the biggest of them all, but others such as GLI and iTech Labs also exist.
On top of this, there are laws and regulations in place to protect players, the gambling industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the world.
What Are These Laws and Regulations?
We’re glad you asked.
Not only does each casino need a licence to operate from the UK Gambling Commission, but each developer also needs a licence from any country they want to ply their wares in. There are different licenses but any casino operating online will need a Remote Casino Operating Licence, and they don’t come cheap.
Financial records will be scrutinised, as will staff members credentials, competence, and any past criminality. Not just anyone can legally run an online gambling business.
The UKGC was set up alongside the UK Gambling Act 2005, and has been governing the industry in this country ever since, making it a safer and fairer place to bet. This act has been adapted and improved upon as technology has progressed.
What Happens if there is an Error When Playing?
Errors do happen, not often thankfully, but they can occur. Often the error could be with your internet connection though, so do check this before losing your mind with some poor customer services representative.
The main culprits are:
- Spinning Reels – The reels just refuse to stop leaving you in limbo with no conclusion to your spin.
- Crashes – The game takes an almighty dump and closes after you have hit the spin button.
- Graphical Error – This is when game mechanic records one result but shows the player another, which can lead to a massive sense of injustice. It’s very rare.
Firstly, don’t panic. Most of the time the casino support team will be able to address your issues and solve the problems for you. Here’s what to do:
- The first thing to do is to take a screenshot if possible.
- Write down what happened so you have a clear story and don’t begin to mis-remember things.
- Talk to the support team. Have any proof ready – good job you took that screenshot, right?
- If you and the casino end up in a deadlock, you can go to the UKGC and explain the problem.
The good news is that all casinos keep a game history which logs every spin you make and every result. The even better news is that each game decides the result of your spin as soon as you hit the spin button, not when you see the result. This means that the result is often logged a second before the error occurs, so your stake isn’t lost.