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Where’s The Gold Slots

Australian gaming developer Aristocrat Technologies released
Where’s the Gold slots in 2003. It was initially only available
in Australian casinos, but this game’s booming popularity saw it
quickly spread to Las Vegas casinos in the mid-2000s.

These days, Where’s the Gold is still found in many Vegas hot
spots as well as in online casinos. This is pretty astounding
when you figure that Where’s the Gold isn’t even one of the more
advanced slots for its time, let alone today.

So what exactly made this slot so popular? We’ll give you a
couple main reasons why below while we cover its game play,
features, and compare it to other Aristocrat slots.

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This is a 5 reel slot with 25 pay lines, and you can adjust
the coin size from $0.02 to $4.00. This makes the minimum bet
worth $0.02 and the maximum wager worth $100.00.

As the name implies, Where’s the Gold has the feel of
California’s 1849 Gold Rush. The symbols convey this gold rush
feeling since you’ll see all of the following on the reels.

  • A miner
  • Covered wagons
  • Pick axes
  • Gold letters on the reels

The background is a dusk, desert setting with cactuses and
hills in the background. Overall, the background and symbol
graphics are decent, but they don’t exactly make you think of
the stunning 3D slots of today.

You won’t hear any music while playing this game. But Where’s
the Gold does feature some interesting sound effects, including
galloping hoofs when the reels stop.

When you change pay lines or hit winning combinations, the
sound effects seem like they’re straight out of an Atari game.

What makes Where’s the Gold Special?

We’ve already covered that the graphics aren’t overly
impressive. Plus, the gold rush theme has been used countless
times in the land based and online slots. So what separates this
from other games?

First off, Where’s the Gold was one of the first slots to
introduce extra wild symbols during the bonus round. We’ll
discuss this in greater detail later, but you can look forward
to multiple wild symbols whenever you trigger the bonus game.

This is actually quite weird because the main game doesn’t
have a wild symbol. Even for a slot developed in the early
2000s, this is backwards and not something that players will

Back to what makes Where’s the Gold interesting, it was also
revolutionary for allowing you to trigger the bonus round so
frequently. This somewhat makes up for the fact that you won’t
have any wild symbols helping you in the main game.

You’ll find a scatter symbol, however, and it’s the dynamite.
The dynamite symbol multiplies your payouts based on your
original bet, at the following rates.

  • 2x for 3 symbols
  • 10x for 4 symbols
  • 50x for 5 symbols

Bonus Round

Dynamite also triggers the bonus round when you land three or
more of these symbols anywhere on the reels.

Once the bonus round is triggered, you’re taken to a second
screen where you’ll choose one of the five characters to dig
gold. We’ve actually seen up to seven different characters
available, meaning you don’t see the exact same gold prospectors
each time you unlock the bonus round.

The seven characters are as follows.

  • Happy Lucky
  • Findo the dog
  • Mary Money
  • Nugget Ned
  • Peter Panner
  • Professor Gold
  • Winnie Fortune

Once you choose the character that you think will find the
most gold, a spotlight appears on them and all five characters
start digging.

What really adds to the experience here is how each character
collects gold in their own manner. For example, Professor Gold
uses a magnifying glass, Findo sniffs out gold, Happy Lucky uses
a metal detector, Winnie Fortune uses her crystal ball, Nugget
Ned swings a bug net, and Peter Panner pans for gold just like
they did in the Wild West.

Once the round is over, you earn a certain number of free
spins based on how many gold nuggets your character finds.

Up to 10 free spins are possible, but we usually wound up
with five or six spins at the end of a round.

From here you head back to the reels to perform your free
spins. Here’s where the extra wilds come into play because
you’ll notice that some of the symbols have changed to gold.

These gold symbols are wild and replace anything besides the
dynamite scatter symbol. The gold symbols remain wild until your
free spins are finished.

Gamble Feature

Where’s the Gold also has a gamble feature that you can
activate after any winning payout combination. Just click the
Gamble button in the lower right hand corner whenever you win a
round to activate it.

This takes you to a second screen where you’ll see a card in
the middle. You can pick whether the card will turn up red or
black to double your original win, or choose if the suit will be
a diamond, club, heart, or spade to quadruple your win.

If you successfully guess the right color or suit, you can
either choose to collect your winnings and quit or keep playing.
If you continue playing, note that you can only win five times
in a row before the gamble feature ends.

Assuming you’ve ever played slots before, you’re probably
familiar with the gamble feature since it’s available in many
games. And the fact that you can double your bet by selecting
the card’s color certainly isn’t anything new.

However, the originality comes through being able to
quadruple your bet by selecting the card suit. This isn’t an
option that you’ll find in many slots, especially ones produced
in the early 2000s.

Where’s the Gold Online

As mentioned before, you can easily find Where’s the Gold at
online casinos. But if you prefer the experience of land based
casinos, there’s really not much point to playing the online

It’s almost an identical replica of the original slot
machine, with a few minor twists.

The main difference is that the gamble feature background is
a different color in the online game. You’ll see a solid green
background in Where’s the Gold online, versus a solid red color
in the land based machine.

You’re also greeted by a loud yeeeee haaaaa! upon firing up
the online version. We assume that this could be the case in
brick and mortar casinos too; however, since these games rarely
shut off, you don’t get to see the miner yelling this cliché
cowboy saying.

You’ll also be able to use an expanded auto play feature
online, which allows you to auto spin the reels with your
selected betting options for 5 to 500 spins. If you feel like
stopping auto spin before the designated number of spins are up,
just click the button after a round is over.

Comparison to other Aristocrat Slots

We don’t really have any different versions of Where’s the
Gold to compare, aside from the slight nuances in the online
version. So we thought that it would be worth comparing this
slot to a few other games developed by Aristocrat.

One theme you’ll notice is that Where’s the Gold has a
superior bonus round to most other Aristocrat slots.


This is another Wild West type slot that features buffalos
instead of miners. The key aspect of Buffalo is that it gives
you up to 1,024 ways to win per spin.

You’ll also find a wild symbol in the main game, which is a
step up from Where’s the Gold. The downside is that Buffalo’s
bonus round is only free spins, rather than an inventive, second
screen experience.

Choy Sun Doa

This is an Asian themed game that gives you 243 ways to win.
The graphics are a little more interesting in Choy Sun Doa than
in Where’s the Gold, especially the background, which is an
Asian nature scene.

But again, the bonus round, which mostly features free spins,
doesn’t quite compare to Where’s the Gold.

  • Read Full Game Review

Let’s Go Fish’n

Aristocrat games typically have very small jackpots, so this
one is a bit of an anomaly with a 12,500 coin top pay out.

Other than this, though, Let’s Go Fish’n is practically a
replica of Where’s the Gold, right down to the second screen
bonus round. In this bonus round, you select which of the five
characters will catch the most fish.

Pompeii Slots

Although one of the most popular Aristocrat slots of all
time, Pompeii doesn’t quite measure up to what Where’s the Gold
offers in terms of graphics or a bonus round. Maybe the
popularity stems from how well this game sells the Roman theme.

Queen of the Nile

Queen of the Nile is quite possibly Aristocrat’s most played
slot machine of all time, and it even inspired IGT’s legendary
Cleopatra game.

The wispy, desert background sounds do a great job of
creating the ancient Egyptian theme, but there’s not much else
special about Queen of the Nile.


Where’s the Gold isn’t the most technologically advanced slot
that you’ll find. In fact, it wasn’t even too advanced when it
was first released.

However, the fun second screen bonus round, extra wilds, and
intriguing characters offer enough to hold your attention for a

And given how you can expect to play the bonus round pretty
frequently, it’s easy to see why Where’s the Gold has developed
such a following in the slots world.