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How Online Slots Work

Overview of Slot Machines

For many years, slot players only get to play land-based games. Following technological innovations that came with the internet, online slots originated in 1994. Online slots became the internet version of the slot machines you can find in resorts, pubs, and land-based casinos.

Land-based slot machines typically require changing your money for coins, which you have to toss in the machines to activate the game. Afterwards, you can adjust the bet per spin and then pull a lever on the side of the machine to get the reels spinning. The outcome of slot machines is usually randomized to offer neutral gameplay to all players. Read more to find a more detailed review on slot games.

A look at online slots

Instead of leaving your apartment or office to go play at any particular spot, online slots offer players a chance to play slots right on their devices. Initially, online slots were exactly modelled on fruit machines, which had 3 rows and 3 reels, and a bland theme. However, with advancements in the industry, online slots are designed with more reels and rows, as well as more interesting storylines.

In addition, many developers are putting out multi-line slots to enhance the fun of the game. Unlike slot machines, online slots don’t require chips or coins to be tossed in the machine to activate the game. After depositing money on the casino, the game lobby will show different bet levels, coins, or credits.

You need to select any of the available amounts before you can start playing. There are one-way, both-ways and cluster pays slots, which are different ways in which wins are made and awarded.

Licensing of online slot providers

Many developers are behind the slots you come across on casinos. But a developer must be licensed before it can start designing slots to be played for real money. The license has to be from a recognized regulatory authority with the jurisdiction to issue a gambling license.

The license details of most developers are placed at the foot of their homepage so you can have a look. Some of the most coveted licenses are issued by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Isle of Man Gaming Commission, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, Gibraltar Gambling Commission, among others.

Random number generator in slots

A Random Number Generator (RNG) is a computerized system of microchips that inputs millions of numbers to the computer. The numbers are further replicated into billions of digits, and these digits determine the winning numbers. So each time you press the spin button the numbers are randomly turned and any of them can be the winner.     

The random numbers are dug every second, even when the game is not in play, which means the result is always unpredictable. Therefore, neither the casino nor the player can influence the outcome of each session. Every slot is subject to these RNGs, and the developer must ensure this is incorporated in the game always.

RTP and volatility

Return to player percentage (RTP) represents the theoretical amount a slot will pay in the long run. It is theoretical because it is rarely the case in the actual sense of it. For instance, the generally accepted RTP of slots is 96% and above, which means that a $100 wager could return 96% in winnings over time.

But this rarely happens to the vast majority of online slot players. Volatility, on the other hand, refers to the risk involved in online slots, how often wins can be made, and how big the wins can be. There are five levels of volatility, namely low, low to medium, medium, medium to high, and high. Some slots don’t state their volatility levels, but you can know by playing the games.     

Online Slot symbols and features

Different slots have varied features according to the concept introduced by the developer. However, slots generally have some peculiar features. One of such is the wild symbol, which substitutes every regular symbol to form a winning combination on the reels. Another feature is the free spins, and it is mostly activated by the scatter symbol.

Some slots have progressive jackpots, which can be triggered by landing one or more specific jackpot symbols. The cascading reels feature is becoming popular in a number of slots, while many other slots have wild multipliers, sticky wilds and special expanding symbols/wilds.  


You can play many online slots online at any licensed casino. Each slot has peculiar features that could thrill you, but you have to ensure who the developer is. The random number generator in a slot makes the game accountable and free of manipulation in most casinos. The RTP and volatility of the game are also worth noting each time you want to play online slots.

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