slot machine guide (what is a slot machine?) 

Chelsey Phillips

Editor & UK Chief at

Published Nov 30, 2022

If you’ve ever set foot inside a casino, you’ll be familiar with slot machines. But, have you ever stopped to think about how they work? Where they orginated from? Or what type is best?

In this comprehensive slot machine guide, I will answer these questions and more. I will cover everything from classification and components to strategy and safety. By the end, you should have all the information needed to play slots in person or online confidently.

What Is a Slot Machine ?

A slot machine is a casino game that features reels with symbols and various paylines. It is named after the slots where coins are fed in to place bets. Before you can enjoy the best wins, you must first spin the reels. This can be done manually or automatically. If certain symbols line up on one or more of the paylines after the reels come to a stop, then you win the corresponding prize.

Slot machines can be found in land-based casinos and gaming venues as well as on online casino sites. While there are some physical similarities between the two, there are also many differences. I will explore these disparities in the next section of this slot machine tutorial.

Differences Between Online Slots and Casino Slots

 Figure 1: An Example of an Online Slot Game.

Superstition says that sailors who serve on different ships should not have the same name. Similarly, online slots and casino slots should not be confounded. Though both games share the word “slots”, they differ in a number of ways.

For one thing, an online slot is a digital version of the real thing. As such, it uses animated graphics and an RNG to determine the outcome of each round, rather than a physical reel. On the other hand, a casino slot is the real deal. You really can put coins in to play and actually see the mechanisms whirr into action.

Furthermore, internet slots feature innovative features and advanced bonuses, while traditional slot machines are limited in terms of functionality. Read on to find out more about these distinguishing factors in my online slot machine tutorial.

Online Slots

Online slot machines are digital depictions of their mechanical counterparts. As such, they feature colorful symbols, fun themes and multiple paylines just like physical slots. Yet, there are key differences between spinning online and in real life. Here are some of the main characteristics that make online slot machines unique.

  • Random Number Generator - Unlike land- based slots, which stop where they may, online slots use a Random Number Generator (RNG) to determine the outcome of every spin. This computer program randomises the position of the symbols on the reels before they even start to spin. So, you really can stop and analyze the movements of online symbols without feeling like you’re jinxing something.
  • Innovative Features - Thanks to advancements in technology, online gaming developers can install all manners of clever features within web-based slot machines. For example, you will often find rolling reels or cascading reels – a mechanism that shuffles winning symbols to make room for others to fall into their place. These new symbols could form new winning combinations, awarding further prizes with no extra cost. Likewise, expanding wild symbols can stretch to fill the entire reel, maximizing your chances of completing a winning payline. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Bonus Games - In addition to cool features, many online slot machines feature bonus rounds or free spins games. Not only do these side games provide variety, but they also offer a chance to win big money. For example, a well-timed bet could lead to entering a pick-and-click game where you can choose from a selection of items to reveal hidden prizes.
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Without leaving the slot game, you could find yourself casting a fishing rod over a virtual lake or exploring a mysterious cave. These activities could help you grab some massive multipliers to boost your winnings. Of course, you won’t necessarily activate a bonus feature on every spin. Furthermore, not all games come with additional rounds. Still, the option is there – and that makes online slots all the more exciting.

Casino Slots

Head to a real world casino and you’ll encounter another side of the slots experience. As you will soon discover, spinning the reels in a brick and mortar gaming establishment has its own perks. Below, I’ve listed a few positive points of playing casino slots as explained in this slot tutorial.

  • Tactile Experience - When you pull the lever of a land-based slot machine or press its big red “SPIN” button, you get a tangible thrill that is lacking from the online experience. What’s more, you can watch the reels turn physically, rather than as an animation. Some people believe that they can tell when a jackpot is coming up by observing the speed at which the reels move. Whether you find a correlation or not, it is an engaging concept. If nothing else, you will know whether or not you guessed right when when the symbols finally come to a stop.
  • Simple to Play – Head to the floor of any casino and you will find plenty of classic slots. These three reel games usually feature a single payline and rudimentary symbols such as lemons, cherries, double and single bars, and 7s. Many of these retro slots lack features such as bonus games. However, they do offer increased prizes for lined up symbols on the single payline. As a result, you don’t need to pore over pages of rules to play classic slots. Just pop your coin in and hope for the best!
  • Progressive Jackpots – Although online casinos now offer them, connected progressive jackpots first appeared in Las Vegas casinos. Land-based linked progressives can feature jackpots worth millions of dollars. The reason they grow so large is because they are connected to numerous slot machines across the casino floor.  Every time a player inserts a coin (or hits the spin button) and loses, a small amount of cash is added to the connected progressive pot. This can continue indefinitely, growing larger with every contribution. If you hit the jackpot winning combination, the casino will take the total pot and reset it to its base amount. This could happen anywhere, anytime as far as you’re located within range – thousands may contribute before you benefit, but the risk/reward ratio is part of the magic!

Which is Better?

As you can see, online slots and casino slots both have their advantages. Ultimately, the question of which is better depends on personal preference. Do you prefer the sound of blinking lights and dinging bells emanating from your computer screen or would you rather hear it when you’re standing right in front of the machines? Would you rather benefit from progressive jackpots worth millions of dollars or max wins worth thousands that don’t require as much luck?

The good news is, you no longer have to choose. Nowadays, you can satisfy the urge to spin both in person and online, thanks to the .  This leading operator offers hundreds of online slot machines as well as countless connected and standalone slot machines within its land-based casinos.

Types of Slot Machines

Modern slot machines come in many forms. They offer a variety of reel types, row numbers, and theme options that incorporate an array of special features. 

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You can even play slot-style games that do not feature spinning reels. Instead, these games present you with a static screen showing a number of rows and columns filled with symbols. A button press or click causes these symbols to dance around momentarily before settling back into place. If certain ones line up according to the pay table, you win a prize.

I will delve deeper into slot variations in my online slot machine guide. First however, I want to discuss the fundamental types of slot machines - namely, classical slot machines, video slot machines, and electronic slot machines.

Classical Slot Machines

Upholding the tradition of Herbert Mills’ Operator Bell, Bally’s Money Honey and Si Redd’s Fortune Coin Company creations, and IGT’s Fortune Coin video slot machines, classical slot machines are the original one-armed bandits.

There are three essential components that make a slot machine classical: the presence of physical reels, the use of a coin gantry, and the availability of a token escalation. Let’s examine each component individually:

  • Physical Reels – All classical slot machines feature spinning reels made of heavy duty metal or glass. Each reel is affixed to a shaft that runs through the center. At the top and bottom of the shaft is a mechanism known as a brake. When you activate the machine, an electro-magnet situated behind the arch that houses the reels is activated. This magnet grabs the shaft and turns the reels until they are all aligned with the arch. When the electro-magnet releases the shaft, the brakes allow the machine to slowly lower a set of wheels onto the shaft. These wheels, one for each reel, engage with the shaft and cause the reels to spin. Once the electro-magnet stops generating current, it loses hold of the shaft and the reels continue spinning under their own weight. Eventually friction causes the reels to stop at a random location. The electro-magnet then springs into action again and lowers a light beam over the highest alley on each reel. If a coin is in the hopper, a mechanism called a roCKET (Rear Out Kalamazoo Electronic Transport) engages once the reels have come to a complete stop. This mechanism grabs the coin and transports it along a track to the hopper to be dispensed. Based on the alignment of symbols underneath the alleys where the light beam stops, the machine determines whether you have won, lost, or triggered a bonus feature.
  • Coin Gantry – Above the hopper, you will normally find a coin gantry. This mechanism contains several clear tubes arranged in a circle. Each tube holds a variety of coins. When you insert a coin into the hopper, a transparent finger-like device called a finger scooper extends from beneath the display screen. One of the tubes above will lower its coal shuttle, a rectangular mechanism that scoops up one coin. The coal shuttle then raises its load and moves horizontally until it reaches the finger scooper. The finger scoops the coin off the coal shuttle and transports it upwards into the hopper to be counted and weighed. Only when the machine verifies that a coin has been deposited does it allow the reels to spin. Some modern classical slots replace the coin tray with a banknote acceptor, but still feature a coin gantry for ceremonial purposes.
  • Coin and Token Escalation – Most classical slot machines accept quarters, with older models taking dollar bills to the coin shredder in order to get four quarters. Some machines will also accept dollar bills, although anything less than a five-spot will have to be handed back to you. In recent years, tokens have become popular replacements for coins. Tokens look good, eliminate the need for a coin hopper and gantry, and can be programmed to weigh whatever the machine operator desires. Additionally, tokens enable a machine to accept coins, dollar bills, and perhaps even five dollar bills. As you play, the number of tokens displayed on the cabinet’s LCD screen will rise and fall. This readout serves as a visual representation of your credit and is far more impressive than a simple mechanical dial. Regardless of whether a classical slot machine accepts coins, tokens, or dollar bills, you will almost always find a button that lets you cash out tokens for tickets. Each ticket will contain the value of the tokens you wish to redeem, plus any excess change from your initial deposit. Alternatively, you might receive a drink ticket or voucher for merchandise.

Though it takes longer to explain than simply saying “they use tokens,” using coins and tokens makes more sense in a classical setup. Plus, it gives players something to do with their hands besides peer at an LCD screen. 

Video Slot Machines

Unlike classical slot machines, video slots do not feature spinning reels. Instead, they display a static screen showing a number of rows and columns filled with symbols. A button press or click causes these symbols to dance around momentarily before settling back into place. If certain ones line up according to the pay table displayed on the face of the machine, you win a prize and the machine presents you with the option to deposit the winnings into the bucket or rack up more credits.

The first video slot machine was invented in 1975 and featured a 19-inch sony Trinitron color display. This early video slot, created by Fortune Coin Company, measured 28 x 22 inches and cost $25,000 USD. Today, most video slot machines feature large flat screens and only cost a few hundred dollars including freight, parts, and installation.

Video slots eliminated the need for weighty metal reels, fragile glass covers, and electro-mechanical components, thereby reducing the likelihood of breakdowns. Additionally, game designers were able to tell stories through detailed backgrounds and introduce cutting edge graphics, animations, and sounds effects. Another major advantage of video slots is that they take up less room on the casino floor yet offer a wider variety of gameplay.

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Despite these benefits, video slots do not feel like real slots. After all, there is no excitement in watching cartoon symbols flit about a box. Proponents of classical slots often argue that video machines lack the second screen bonus, world class progressive potential, and tactile appeal of their mechanical cousins.

Due to these limitations, most modern video slots feature these three qualities. What’s more, advancements in technology have reduced the rate of break downs associated with classical slots. Despite this, true slot aficionados swear that you can’t beat the real thing.

  1. Second Screen Bonus – As mentioned in my , many video slots feature a secondary screen bonus round. When you activate this mini game, the main screen typically turns dark and a separate screen comes to life. This could be a pick and win style game, a rolling-reels style game, a spinning-bonus wheel style game, or a simulation of any number of other games. The aim of the game will depend on the slot machine, but the idea is that you manipulate the onscreen action in some way in order to accumulate prizes. Once you have exhausted all your options, the bonus screen fades away and any winnings are added to your balance. Examples of seconds screen bonuses include picking cherries in a field, breaking safes, battling monsters, spinning a multiplier wheel, or matching symbols on nine covered cups.
  2. World Class Progressive Potential – Although video slots offer linked progressive jackpots, nothing beats the Multi-Area Progressive developed by WMS Industries for Bally’s Blazing 7’s. This wide-area progressive features a world class progressive top jackpot that regularly pays out millions of dollars. To win the jackpot, you must play maximum coins and get three Blazing 7’s symbols (on a payline), plus a Special 7 on another payline on a Blazing 7’s slot machine anywhere in Las Vegas. There are now dozens of Blazing 7’s machines scattered throughout Bally’s, Planet Hollywood, and Paris Las Vegas. It’s impossible to say how often someone wins the jackpot, as the specifics of multi-area progressives are closely guarded secrets. Nevertheless, rumors abound and people flock to the city to try their luck. Of course, you also have a chance of winning smaller progressive jackpots. These mini pots typically climb to a few thousand dollars before dropping.
  3. Tactile Appeal – Pull the lever of a video slot machine and … nothing happens. Okay, that’s a lie. Either the button labeled “PLAY” or the toe buttons located to the right of the screen will make the game spring to life. Aside from pressing buttons, there is very little for a video slot player to do aside from feeding coins, dollars, or tickets into the machine. Some game developers have attempted to address the lack of interaction by adding features like steering bonus games with the touch screen display. However, these elements are by no means standard across the board. Despite the advances of virtual reality technology, there is still no substitute for the clang of coins in a bucket, the whirr of spinning reels, and the satisfying thunk as you slam the handle in anticipation.
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Electronic Slot Machines

Electronic slot machines combine elements of classical and video slots to give us the machines we know today. Like video slots, they feature a screen rather spinning reels. However, like classical slots, they often accept coins and tokens. What’s more, many electronic slots feature weights and magnets, allowing them to deliver on the tactile appeal front.

Some slot machine manufacturers, including Aristocrat, have taken things one step further. This innovative company has incorporated the one armed bandit into electronic slot machines. For example, Buffalo, buffalo, BUFFALO! boasts a large bank of coins above the screen and a long curved arm with a chrome sleeve and a big SPIN button where the coin hopper would ordinarily reside. Though you cannot insert coins, you can push the sleeve for credit or press the SPIN button to turn the fictional reels. It’s the best of both worlds.

How to Play Slots

 Figure 2: An Example of a Live Slot Machine.

Now that you understand the difference between online and live slots, you’re probably eager to play. Fortunately, there is very little to learn and no special skills required to spin either kind of slot machine. In fact, all you have to do is follow these three steps.

  1. Select a Denomination - Most slot machines offer multiple denominations. This refers to the size of the coins used to activate the reels. Common denominations include pennies (one cent), nickels (five cents), dimes (10 cents), quarters (25 cents), dollars, five dollars, and ten dollars. Coins of higher values exist but are rarely used. Some machines will allow you to put in a mix of coins, such as quarters and dollars. Others will only accept a full rack of identical coins. You can generally ascertain the policy by reading the sign above the coin hopper or consulting the pay table. Once you have chosen your denomination, you must decide how many credits you want to play per spin.
  2. Decide How Many Credits to Play – Regardless of the denomination, most slot machines offer between one and 25 (occasionally more) credits per spin. To choose your credits, use the UP and DOWN buttons to select the number of credits you wish to start with. Then use the BET ONE or BET MAX buttons to cycle through the number of credits you wish to wager on the next spin. Some machines will have a SELECT button accompanied by various images or figures. Pressing the button will raise the number of credits played while holding the bet denomination constant. Finally, press the PLAY or SPIN button to activate the reels. If you change your mind about how many credits to play, simply press the DELETE or FEATURE button. This will erase all the credits displayed on the cabinent’s LCD screen.
  3. Press the Spin Button – Regardless of how you have selected your credits and which pay lines you have chosen to activate, you won’t get anywhere unless you press the SPIN button on an online slot or pull the SPIN lever on a land-based one. When you do, the machine will initiate the Random Number Generator (RNG) and present you with a combination of symbols on the screen. If you have activated pay lines and landed matching symbols on those lines, you will receive a pay out according to the symbols involved and the number of credits staked. You can press the Autoplay button to spin a number of times without interruption.

Components of a Slot Machine

Now that you know how to play slots, let’s talk about the components of a slot machine. Understanding these parts is important if you want to distinguish one kind of machine from another and make informed decisions about how to play. In the sections below, I’ve outlined the various components of both online and land-based slot machines.

Online Components

  • Balance / Credit Display – When you launch a slot expansion on our from your desktop or mobile device, you will see a screen displaying the game’s title, its logo, and some dynamic graphics. Above or to the left of this introduction panel will be a yellow strip containing three things: your balance in the currency used for the game, the number of lines selected, and your bet per line. Your balance will update every time you win or lose. The lines and bet amounts only change when you use the dedicated buttons, which can usually be found underneath the main display.
  • Reels – Directly beneath the info panel, you will find the main display showing the slot’s reels. These are basically long vertical strips divided into several segments or cells. Each cell represents a symbol, which will align with the others alleys on rare occasions to form a line winning combo. The allocation of these symbols is determined randomly by the RNG and animates briefly before coming to a stop. Classic slots tend to have three reels while video slots can have as many as seven or eight.
  • Spin Level / Lines – Most online slot games feature adjustable lines and bets per line. To choose the number of active lines, look beneath the main display. You should see two buttons with the numbers “LINES” and “25” or “1-25” written on them. Use the “–“ and “+” buttons to lower or raise the number of active lines respectively. To set the bet per line, use the same control panel. Each click raises the wager by the minimum coin size. Most slots have a COINS STAKED display and an AUTO SPINS & BETS control panel. The first shows how many coins you intend to wager on the next spin. The second contains two buttons that allow you to pick the bet and schedule a series of automatic spins.
  • Bet Per Line – Directly beneath the main display, you will normally find a yellow strip divided into several sections. The third section usually displays the number of active lines, while the fourth section highlights the current bet per line. Using the controls described above, you can lower or raise the number of pay lines and the amount wagered on each one. Any changes you make will be reflected in the “bet” section.
  • Examples of Winnings / Ways Section – Some slot games, such as Thunderhorn, forego pay lines altogether and use ways to win. Rather than having fixed lines that must be selected and wagered upon, these slots feature a number of adjacent positions on adjacent reels that need to be filled with the same symbol in order to form a winning combo. To show players which ways to win are featured in the game, the expansion usually provides an illustration directly beneath the reels. This could be a bank safe with 24 positions, representing the 24 ways to win in Sheriff Goodnight’s Epic Night In. Above or beside the image will be a chart detailing how much you can win for three, four, and five instances of each symbol appearing simultaneously across adjacent positions.
  • Auto Spins / Spin Button – Located below the reels, this control panel allows you to sit back and let the slot game play itself automatically for a set number of spins. To activate this feature, you must first activate pay lines and choose a bet per line that fits within the limits of the slot. Once you have done this, click the “AUTOPLAY” button to bring up a menu. Here you can choose the number of spins you want to play and specify when auto play should stop - for instance, when your balance increases or decreases by a certain percentage. Click “START” to begin auto play and “STOP” to cancel the function and return to manual play. To spin the reels once, outside of auto play, simply click the big white “SPIN” button. This will inititate the RNG and present a combination of symbols on the reels. If you're playing a slot with bonus games, you can activate these by pressing the "BONUS" button during manual play. On the whole, online slot machines are very intuitive. Even if you ignore the tutorial windows that occasionally pop up during play, you shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring out how to operate each game.
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Land-Based Components

  • Coins/Tickets/Cash Acceptor – The coins/tickets/cash acceptor is located at the top of the machine, either on the right or in the middle. This component consists of a coin hopper surrounded by buttons, each with a different value. These buttons allow you to select the number of credits you wish to wield. Once you have chosen your credits, you can use the Bet One or Bet Max buttons to choose how many credits to stake on the next spin. If you change your mind, simply press the Deactivate/Demo button to erase all credits shown on the cabinet’s LCD screen.
  • Lcd Screen – Modern slot machines feature a colored LCD screen that displays text, dynamic graphics, animated clips, and winning combinations. The screen usually stretches across the top of the cabinet, although some designs tilt forward slightly for enhanced visibility. Through the screen, players can view their balance, the number of credits bet, the number of pay lines selected, and any bonuses won. A short animation plays out on the screen whenever you hit the SPIN button or trigger a feature. Depending on the game, you might see cartoon characters frolicking, coins and banknotes raining down, or a cutaway screen for a pick and win style bonus.
  • Reels – Directly below the LCD screen, you will normally find three or more tall, thin vertical structures protruding from the cabinet. Known as reels, these metal structures are covered in transparent allergies that, when viewed from the side, reveal a series of pictures or symbols stacked one on top of the other. The allegories can feature pictures of fruit, lucky sevens, pictures of animals, pictures of celebrities, logos of products or anything else the game developer desires. In video slots, the reels are represented by a simulated screen.
  • Spin Button – Toward the bottom-right corner of the cabinet, you will usually find a big plastic button with the word “SPIN” embossed on its surface. This is the SPIN button and it initiates the reels. Old-school slot machines feature a large metal lever affixed to the right side of the cabinet. Known colloquially as the arm, this mechanism looks like the SPIN button but is far more stylish. Regardless of which method you use to spin, pressing SPIN activates an RNG that determines the alignment of symbols on the reels.
  • Coin Tray – Directly beneath the reels, you will normally find a metal bucket with a clear lid and a hinged handle. This is the coin tray and it catches coins when you activate a winning combination. Once the machine verifies the win, it drops the appropriate number of coins into the tray. You can open the tray and add the coins to your pile, but resist the temptation to pocket the coins. Someone else is likely to try for the progressive jackpot shortly and, if successful, will need all the coins in the tray to calculate their win. Some slot machines have replaced the coin tray with a hopper that dispenses paper tickets. When you win, the machine prints a ticket bearing the number of credits won and presents it for your collection. You can amass dozens, even hundreds of tickets before exchanging them for coin at a cash-out station. This system eliminates the need for heavy metal buckets and reduces the chances of cheating.
  • Bet Up / Bet Down – Just above and to the right of the reels, you will usually find two round buttons with the words “BET UP” and “BET DOWN.” These controls allow you to increase or decrease the amount you’re willing to wager on the next spin. Click “BET UP” to stake the maximum number of credits and activate all available pay lines. Some slot machines replace these buttons with a single button featuring the phrase “BET MAX.” Pressing this button performs the same function.
  • Pay Table – Directly above and to the right of the reels, you should see a square button with the word “PAY” or “INFO” on it. This control leads to a screen that displays a chart outlining combinations of symbols that result in winnings, referred to as a paytable. Reading from the top down, each line on the pay table shows a combination of symbols. If these symbols line up on an active pay line on the reels, you will receive the number of coins listed on the far right for that combination. Most slot machines have multiple pay tables and sometimes even multiple pay tables per reel setup.
  • Credit Display – Across the top of the cabinet, just under the glass that shields the chips, you will see a bank of lights that display a series of digits. This is the credit display and it shows how many coins you have at present. Every time you win a spin, the number of coins displayed on the credit display will increase. Should you lose a spin, the number of coins will decrease accordingly. Some slot machines feature two or more credit displays followed by the letters “COINS” and “Credits.” These panels might highlight the total number of coins deposited, the number of coins bet per line, and the number of active pay lines.
  • Pay Line Selection – Just below the reels, you will normally find two round buttons with plus and minus signs. These controls allow you to cycle through the available pay lines and activate them for the next spin. Some slot machines replace these buttons with a single control panel that shows the number of lines in a window. You can use the “+” and “-” buttons to raise or lower the number of pay lines.
  • Rooms – Within any given casino, slot machines are organized into rooms. Each room contains a bank of similar or the same slot machines. For example, you might find a room filled with penny machines, another room packed with nickel machines, and a third home to dollar machines.

Types of Slots

 Figure 3: An Example of a Classic Fruit Machine.

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Slots come in many shapes and sizes. From gritty land-based machines to glittering desktop games, these iconic titles have evolved considerably since Charlie Fey produced the first Liberty Bell in 1895. In the sections below, I’ve provided a brief overview of the different kinds of slots you can play.

Desktop Slots

Desktop slots refer to any online slot game that you play via a computer. This could be a laptop, a desktop, or even a tablet that you’ve plugged into a larger screen. Whichever device you use, desktop slots offer the biggest reels and therefore the greatest details. You can zoom in on individual symbols and even read the fine print on a slot’s pay table.

Because desktop devices also boast bigger speakers or larger headphones, you’ll get the full audio experience when you play slots online. From soaring orchestras to catchy pop songs and jangling cowboy tunes, slot soundtracks really come alive on a big screen. Moreover, desktop slots give you greater control over the settings menu. You can expand the game to fill the entire screen, play at turbo speed, and adjust the sound without fiddling with a mouse.

That said, desktop slots haven’t evolved that much since online casinos first launched. The first games were adapted from land-based slots and featured five reels and fixed pay lines. Since then, we’ve seen the release of all-ways-pay titles, but most desktop slot games still work on the same principle as their ancestral bricks and mortar counterparts.

Another limitation of desktop slots is the requirement for hardware and software. To play online, you need a reasonably powerful computer, a reliable Internet connection, and up-to-date software. Some slot expansions also require Java or Flash Player, which you must download and install prior to play. By contrast, you can pick and choose any old land-based slot machine as long as you have enough pockets to carry it home.

Mobile Slots

Mobile slots refer to any online slot game that you can play on a smartphone or tablet. Because these devices have relatively small screens, mobile slots often feature simplified versions of the desktop games. For example, you might get fewer reels or pay lines, fewer features, and fewer symbols. However, the fundamentals remain the same.

Indeed, the rise of mobile slots has helped standardize slot play. No matter whether you’re spinning on a desktop, mobile, or land-based machine, you generally stare five reels in the face and hope for aligned symbols. Of course, there have always been exceptions to this rule, such as the six-reel Hotshot Progressive and the three-reel Diamond Double Wild. Nonetheless, five-reel slots have become the norm and, consequently, easy to transition between platforms.

From a player’s perspective, mobile slots offer unparalleled freedom. Provided you have a signal and charged battery, you can spin slots wherever you are. Commuting to work? Pass the time by betting a buck on your phone. Waiting for an appointment? Give the one armed bandit a few spins to keep yourself occupied. Stuck in a queue? Go wild on that mobile slot! 

From an operator’s point of view, mobile slots represent a major revenue stream. Everyone from high street bookmakers to specialized online casinos develop mobile-friendly slots that you can play on the go. In fact, some operators, such as LeoVegas, have built their businesses around mobile gaming. Offering slick touchscreen gameplay, these expansions have proved hugely popular among punters and profitable for businesses.

One limitation of mobile slots is screen size. Even the biggest smartphones have smaller displays than most laptops or desktops, so the symbols and animations are smaller. Some people find this off-putting, but I personally don’t mind. In fact, I find it easier to monitor mobile slots and spot developing patterns on smaller devices.

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Another consideration is input. Rather than a mouse, touchscreen tech dominates the mobile sphere. This means you press symbols on the pay table to select them, swipe the screen to scroll menus, and tap buttons to spin. At first, I found this disorientating because it goes against decades of conditioning, but I quickly adapted and now consider touchscreen controls an improvement in many cases. 

Finally, you need to check the hardware and software requirements for the mobile slot expansions you wish to play. Some games were designed for older phones and may struggle on modern devices. Conversely, cutting-edge slots with advanced graphics and complex features may only run on high-end smartphones and tablets. Make sure you know what’s what before you waste time trying to load expansive that aren’t compatible with your device.

Land-Based Slots

Land-based slots, also known as poker machines, vending machine style slots, fruit machines, and one armed bandits, refer to any slot machine you find in a land-based casino. These classic titles come in many shapes and sizes and, in my opinion, no home, office, or pocket socket is complete without one.

Although online slots can replicate the basic mechanics of land-based machines, they can’t match the visceral experience of putting in a nickel and pulling a lever. Indeed, the act of spinning a one armed bandit is half the fun. It’s an action that gets stuck in your head and before you know it, your