Online slots are just slot machine games that have been
designed with the intention of being played on the Internet.
Almost any kind of gambling machine that you find in a
traditional, land-based casino has an analog on the Internet
now. This page takes a look at the various games available,
their manufacturers, and what’s involved in playing them.
Also on this page you will find our recommendations on
which devices to play slot mahcines on your mobile decide, and
your desktop computer.
In addition to all that, we guide you through which games are,
in our opinion, the best games that are worth your time and your money.
So, to gain all this information and more continue reading our extensive
review for online slots.
No Download Slots versus Downloadable Slots
There are multiple ways to categorize online slots, but one
of the easiest is to drop them into one of 2 buckets:
No download slots
For the earliest part of the age of Internet gambling,
downloadable slots were the standard. When you signed up for an
online casino, you downloaded a software client and played the
games through that client. It works that way at a lot of online
But no download slots are becoming increasingly popular.
These are games you can play from within your browser window.
Sometimes they’re powered by Java, Flash, or HTML 5.0. They work
just like the games in a downloadable client, and you can still
play for real money—right from your browser window.
No download slot machines only have a couple of disadvantages
to the games you play with a complete download of a casino
software. One is that the graphics and sound effects are usually
not as robust with these games. But in some cases, the no
download games are every bit as good as the games that you play
from within the software.
You can almost always try the casino software for free in
“practice mode” or “play money mode”. That’s not contingent upon
downloading (or not downloading) the software, either. You can
try the games for free with or without a download of the
casino’s software package. In fact, many online casinos are ONLY
available in a no download version. These are often called
“instant play casinos”.
Mobile Devices vs. Computers
You can play online slots on a mobile device or on a regular
laptop or desktop computer. The numbers indicate that using a
mobile device to surf the Web is becoming more of the standard
than ever before. But many players still play on their computer.
The online casino industry hasn’t entirely caught up with the
mobile world, yet. Most Internet casinos only offer their full
selection of games through their actual online casino. They
offer a more limited selection of games on their mobile apps. A
lot of people play the no download versions of the casino games
on their mobile devices, too.
The following are devices that are ready for you to play
online slots with:
Online Progressive Jackpots
As with land-based slot machines, you’ll find both
progressive jackpot games and flat top games available online.
The progressive jackpots aren’t as large as you’d find in Vegas,
perhaps, but you can still find jackpots that are big enough to
change your life. Of course, the odds of winning one of these
online progressive jackpots are just as slim as the odds of
winning one of the land-based games.
One thing to keep in mind when playing online progressive
slots is that they have a lower payback percentage than the
other games. That’s because they take a tiny percentage of each
bet and use it to increase the size of the jackpot every time
you make a spin. That tiny percentage comes right off the top,
so there’s less money to pay winnings with over time.
In our book, flat top games—slots with a flat payoff as the
top jackpot—offer a better gamble. You can still win huge
jackpots, although they might not change your life. But you’ll
lose less money over the time you play on these machines than
you will on the progressives.
Pay-Lines, Reels, and Denominations
Every innovation to slot machines that land-based casinos
have made has become available in the online version of these
games, too. Early mechanical slots only had 3 reels and a single
pay-line. Modern games usually have 5 reels (and sometimes
more). And they often have 5, 10, 15, or even 25 pay-lines.
Online slots are available in as wide a variety of
denominations online as they are off, too. You can find penny
machines, nickel machines, quarter machines, and dollar machines
on the Internet.
Other slot machine features that have become de rigeur in
land based casinos are also now common with online slots, too.
Scatter symbols, wild symbols, and bonus games are available
online now, too.
And Internet casino games even have a few innovations of
their own that haven’t been picked up by land-based casinos,
too. We’re thinking of the elaborately plotted storyline-based
slots games that are now available from companies like NextGen
Gaming. When you reach the bonus games on these machines,
elaborate storylines unfold. Some of these games even play out
their plotlines over multiple games, sequels to the original
One aspect of land-based slot machines that was late to the
online game but is there in full force now is that of licensed
intellectual property. The most popular slot machine games on
the Internet or in a traditional casino are usually the ones
that are based on something else, like Wheel of Fortune slots.
Often these are game shows, but really, the licenses can come
from any kind of media—books, comic books, movies, and pop music
are all common sources.
Some of the lower-cost software providers don’t feature much
in the way of licensed properties. For example, RTG (Realtime
Gaming) is probably the most popular software catering to
players in the United States. Most of their games are unique to
their software, but they have at least one licensed game—Big
Bopper slots, which is tied into a theme related to the famous
oldies singer of “Chantilly Lace”.
Other providers, like WagerWorks, offer lots of licensed
properties. WagerWorks is the company which makes IGT slots
available on the Internet. IGT is, of course, the acronym for
International Game Technology, the largest producer of slot
machines in the world. When you’re looking at the most famous
slots in the world, like Double Diamond or Wheel of Fortune,
you’re looking at their handiwork.
Microgaming & Playtech
Some online slot machine providers only offer games on the
Internet, and they also only offer real money gaming to clients
in countries where real money online casinos are legal and
regulated. Companies like this include Microgaming and Playtech,
who are 2 of the oldest companies in the industry. Microgaming
is best-known for their variety of progressive jackpot games,
and Playtech is known for their licensing of Marvel Comics
characters like Captain America, The Fantastic Four, and The
In fact, it seems as if most online slots providers
specialize in one area or another. NextGen Gaming specializes in
providing story-based slot machine games to online casinos.
These are some of our favorites of the newer and more innovative
gaming machines online.
Betsoft has made a name for itself by offering some of the
best games available in the 3D slot machine market. These are
video slot machine games with stunning animation and graphics.
It’s hard for us to imagine anyone ever coming up with game
designs as pleasing to the eye as this company.
Online slots are an international game, too. Aristocrat
Leisure is a company out of Australia which specialized in
creating slot machines with innovative gameplay features for
land-based casinos, but they’ve expanded online, too. They’re
responsible for the new 243 Ways slots that are now available. A
lot of their past innovations have become standard features on
modern slot machine games.
Are Online Slots Legal?
One question we see a variation of pretty often is whether or
not online slots are legal. The answer isn’t as cut and dried as
a simple yes or no. A lot of it depends on where you live.
We’ll start answering this question by saying that as long as
you’re not playing for real money, online slots are probably
legal anywhere in the world. (This might not be true in some
strict Middle Eastern countries. We have a friend who can’t play
chess because it’s illegal there.)
Free slots are pretty tame, for the most part, though. After
all, what’s the point? You watch the reels spin, you win or you
lose, but you have nothing to cash out when you’re done. We’ll
skip that kind of experience for playing a game in which we can
actually risk and win some cash.
In the United States, there are no laws specifically
forbidding online slots for real money—at least not at the
Federal level. The 2 laws which are most likely to apply are The
Federal Wire Act and The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Act. Here’s how each of those work:
The Wire Act makes it illegal to transmit bets over phone
lines. For purposes of this law, the Internet counts as a kind
of phone line, too. But this law applies specifically to sports
betting. It does not necessarily apply to casino games.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act doesn’t forbid
any specific kind of gambling activity. It makes it illegal to
transfer money from one place to another for the purpose of
placing illegal wagers. That’s a far cry from outlawing Internet
But the United States have more laws than just Federal ones.
Each state has its own laws, too. As far as we know, none of
them specifically apply to Internet slot machines. But some of
them are specific enough about Internet gambling that it’s fair
to say that online slots ARE illegal in certain states.
A handful of states have now legalized and regulated online
gambling, too. These include Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.
The catch in those states is that you can only play from within
those states at a site catering specifically to the individual
state. And in order to have an online casino site in one of
those states, you have to have an existing brick and mortar
The situation with online slots in other countries is
different. In the United Kingdom, for example, online gambling
has been legal and regulated for years. No one there worries
about whether or not they can play online “fruit machines”
legally or not. It’s just part of the culture.
But it’s not as big a part of the European culture as it is a
part of Australian culture. This country probably has the most
thriving and robust online casino industry in the world. There
they call these games “online pokies”. But strictly speaking,
the games aren’t legal there. The country just never prosecutes
any of the countries providing these games. And it’s not illegal
for a player to play the games; it’s just illegal for the
casinos to offer them.
When talking about the legality of online slots, it’s also
good to think about the risk factors involved for the average
player. Throughout the world, enforcement activities almost
always focus on the company providing the gambling—not the
gambler. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of
individual gamblers in the United States who have gotten in
trouble for placing bets on the Internet. And all of them were
engaged in sports betting activities, not online casino games
So the risk factor is huge if you think you want to open an
online casino. Don’t do it.
But the risk factor is tiny if you want to play online slots
for real money. You might want to check with a lawyer first, but
we’re comfortable playing these games on the internet.
Online slots are here to stay. They’re available in as wide a
variety as land-based slots. In fact, you have even more choices
on the Internet than you do in land-based casinos.
You can play for any denomination you can think of, for a
penny spin or for a few hundred dollars per spin. You can play
for free, even. You can play for huge progressive jackpots or go
after smaller prize pools.
The only drawback to online slot machines is the legality is
unclear in certain jurisdictions. This is a major
roadblock for some players but a minor concern for others. A lot
of this has to do with your tolerance for risk.
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