When we talk about slots in particular, there’s more to it than simply finding a place to play. That’s easy. Finding the best places to play is a whole different story. My purpose with this page is to help you do exactly that. I don’t want to see you risk your hard-earned money at anything less than the very best casino slots sites.
Below I’ll start with a list of the best all-around online slots sites. These recommendations come from more than a decade of personal experience both as a player and as a website owner. My objective on this page is to rank and review online slots sites. Going beyond that, I love a good game of slots and have a lot of personal experience to draw on when making these recommendations.
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Read on if you’d like to learn more about my decision-making process in ranking these sites.
It’s important that you choose wisely because there’s a big range in quality from one slots site to the next. Choose a low quality brand and you’ll burn through your money before you can say “jackpot.” High quality casino sites offer a bigger variety, better payout rates and fast cashouts when you do win.
If you were to look at the best slots sites from the outside, it would be hard to spot any significant difference between the best online casinos and all the rest. The actual games are similar no matter where you play; they accept your coins and pay out cash prizes when the right symbols line up. We have to dig a little deeper to get to the truth.
I like to look at it as a process of due diligence. Consider the factors that matter the most to you and run down the list one by one, comparing these factors across potential gambling sites. Here’s a list of what I consider important in a slots site:
- Safety and security of the casino as a whole
- Ease of depositing and speed of withdrawing
- Slot machine variations – how many slots are available
- Range of stakes
- Sizes of jackpots
- Deposit bonuses
- Payout rates
I put safety and security at the top of the list because that factor outweighs all the rest. If a casino has a reputation for jerking players around, refusing to pay winners or pulling other shenanigans, it’s simply not fit for business. There’s no point in even considering playing somewhere that can’t guarantee a safe and fair experience.
The other factors vary in importance. Deposits and withdrawals are pretty high up there for obvious reasons. I’m not going to risk my hard-earned money at a site that can’t pay up when it’s time to cash out. The remaining factors on the list can be ranked in any order depending on your individual needs as a player.
Reputation Of Slots Casino Sites
Reputation is everything in the online gambling industry. It is even more important than which games are available or what type of bonuses you get. A site’s reputation is built on treating players fairly, issuing withdrawals quickly and hosting games that are truly random.
Each of the slots sites recommended above only makes the list because it has a long term positive reputation. When you’ve been involved in the industry for as long as I have, you get to know certain names and software providers. People talk, word gets out and over time, you can get a pretty good idea of which sites are great, which are decent and which are terrible. If reputation means anything to you (it should), stick with the above sites.
If you’d like to conduct your own research, the best way to do that is to visit an industry forum where players discuss their experiences with online gambling. People love to talk about the games, fairness, deposit/withdrawal troubles and support. Reading through these discussions will give you a current, firsthand look at each operator you’re considering.
Customer support isn’t something you’ll interact with often, but the way in which a site handles customer support says a lot. Most casinos offer support by way of e-mail, live chat and phone. One thing I like to do is send a message via email or live chat and see how quickly they respond and how well they communicate. This method is almost foolproof in demonstrating how much a casino appreciates its customers.
Looking for Something Specific?
I’ve managed to put together a few additional pages for those of you who have a certain type of slots experience in mind. If you’re looking for something specific, you may find the following pages useful.
- Online Slots Tournaments
- Single-Line Slots Casino Sites
- Multi-Line Slots Casinos
- Progressive Slots Sites
Getting Started Playing Slots Games Online
Online slots games work in the same basic manner as they do in the real world. You put your money in, spin the reels and hope for a prize. The simplicity of the game is one of its greatest assets and that is why the slot machine remains the most popular casino game to this day. Out of all the table games, card games and everything else, slots reign supreme.
Getting started begins with finding a place to play. We’ve already covered that above so I’ll keep it simple. As long as you sign up at a reputable gambling site, you won’t go too far wrong. Slots are everywhere. Stick with safe online casinos and the worst that can happen is you decide cash back out and try a different casino.
Once you find a place to play, you’ll need to create an account there and make your first deposit. Visit the casino’s website to download and install the software. Most casinos also offer no-download slots right there on the website if you’d prefer not to download anything. In either case, you can sign up for an account either right there on the website or inside the software you just downloaded.
After you have an account, it’s time to log in. From here, you can play the games for free or head straight to the cashier to make your first deposit. Most casinos accept deposits by credit card, debit card, electronic bank transfer and sometimes e-wallet services such as PayPal and Neteller. The exact list of deposit options will vary based on the banking laws where you live.
You should also get a bonus added to your first deposit. If you’ve made it this far into the signup process at any mainstream slots casino, they’ve probably already bugged you a few times about some sort of big deposit bonus. Generally, the larger your first deposit, the more you get in bonus cash.
After you have your account created and funded, you can then access the real money games through the casino software. There will be dozens of different slot games to choose from so feel free to go crazy and try ‘em all.
Types of Online Slots Games and Variations
Slots come in all shapes and sizes on the internet. You’ll see everything from the simple single reel machine decorated with various fruits to high tech 3D slots that are so complex you need an instruction manual to figure out what the heck is going on. There’s something for everyone at the best online slots sites. Let’s look at a few of the most common types of slots.
Progressive Jackpot Machines: Progressive jackpot machines are responsible for the biggest jackpots in all of gambling. Any time you read about a 7-figure win in the news, it probably happened at a progressive jackpot slot. These slots manage to build such massive jackpots by taking a percentage of every wager and adding that to an ever-growing prize pool. If you’re the lucky player to trigger the jackpot, you win everything it has accumulated since the last time the jackpot was paid.
Video: Video slots look more like video games than traditional slots. These are the “prettiest” slots with bright graphics, flashy animations and extra bonus features and side games. Video slots are the most interactive. If you like to stay busy or get bored easily, video slots are the way to go.
Classic: These are throwbacks to the traditional mechanical slots that used to reign supreme back before we had electronic machines powered by computerized random number generators. Classic slots have just one or a few reels and are often decorated with traditional symbols such as fruits and bars of gold.
Multi-Line: Multi-line slots are games that don’t just pay for the combination in the middle. They pay on other combinations or line (variations) too. Machines can have as many as 50 or more lines. You must pay to activate each line. For example, if you are wagering $0.01 per line and want to active 50 pay lines, you will end up spending $0.50 per spin. Be careful with these machines – it’s easy to spin a lot more than you intended.
Themes: Themed slot machines are based on anything from movies to music to popular TV shows. For example, there are themes for Hulk, X-Men and the Wizard of Oz among many others.
Slots Tournaments: In a slots tournament, you and the other contestants pay an up-front entry fee and are given virtual credits to wager. The goal is to increase your virtual balance as much as possible during the course of the tournament. Whoever has the biggest balance at the end of the tournament wins a real money cash prize.
Understanding Slots Paylines, Payouts, And Jackpots
Getting the right symbols to line up on a payline is how you win money at a slot machine. Imagine a basic classic slot machine with three reels and a big pull handle on the side. This type of machine has a single payline the runs horizontally across the center of the reels. If the same symbol lands in the middle on all three reels, you receive a payout.
More complex slot machines have multiple paylines where you can win even more prizes. These paylines may run horizontally, diagonally or even zigzag across the machine. You can activate as many of these paylines as you wish. The more paylines you activate, the more it costs per spin. If you’re playing with a denomination of $1 and decide to activate 20 paylines, you’ll end up paying $20 per spin.
Needless to say, this can get expensive in a hurry. However, you can always just adjust your bet denomination to keep things sane. If you only want to risk a total of $0.20 per spin, you can just set you denomination to $0.01 and activate 20 paylines. Now you’ll have 2 chances to win every time you spin the reels.
Jackpots are larger-than-normal payouts that occur when you hit an unusually rare set of symbols on an active payline. Most jackpots are paid out as a multiple of your betting denomination. For example, a 2000 coin jackpot is worth 2000 times your denomination. This jackpot could be worth as little as $20 if you’re wagering with pennies or as much as $20,000 if you’re wagering $10 per line.
Some jackpots are set at a fixed dollar amount regardless of how much you wager. The caveat is that there is often a minimum qualifying wager before you become eligible to win that jackpot. For example, a slot might have a $10,000 random jackpot that is awarded only to people who wager at least $1.00 per spin.
Online Slots Bonuses and Signup Promotions
Are slots bonuses worth taking? Casino websites make more money off slots than any other game. Yes, the odds are against us slots lovers, but I’m sure you already knew that. The good news is you’ll find that the bonuses for slots players are generous – much more than for other games such as blackjack or baccarat. If you’re going to risk your money playing slots, you might as well take full advantage of any bonuses or promotions on offer.
First time deposit bonuses reward new customers with extra cash. If you make a deposit, the site matches your deposit amount on a percentage basis. It’s common to see bonuses offered in the 100% range. For example, a deposit of $100 would get you an extra $100 for a total of $200 to play with. Some slots bonuses have even higher match rates up in the 200% to 400% range.
Slots Bonus Clearing Requirements
Clearing requirements are the “catch” of welcome bonuses. The money that you get from a bonus doesn’t just go straight to your account. You must first release it by placing wagers at the casino. Read through the terms and conditions and you’ll see mention of a “rollover.”
The rollover amount tells you how much you need to wager before you can play with or withdraw the money. A rollover of 20x means that you need to place a total sum of wagers equal to 20 times the deposit plus bonus amount. So if you were to deposit $100 and get a $100 bonus with a 20x rollover, you would need to place $4,000 worth of wagers (200 x 20) before you could withdraw the bonus or any winnings generated by wagering the bonus.
What you want to look for is a low rollover. Smaller is always better. If you happen to win big along the way, you don’t want to spend it all trying to complete your bonus terms. An average rollover for slots bonuses is around the 20x mark.
Max Bonus and Match Rate
Maximum bonus and match rate both determine how much money you can get with your first deposit. The match rate gives you a clear idea of exactly how much money you’re entitled to based on the size of your bonus. All other things being equal, a 150% match rate is better than a 100% match rate. Every dollar you deposit will go 50% further.
However, most bonuses do eventually max out. There’s a limit to how much extra cash you can get no matter how much you deposit. There’s no limit to how much you can deposit but there is a limit to how much bonus money you end up with.
Online Slots Software Considerations
If you’re reading this page from a PC, consider yourself spoiled. Everything works on the PC. Mac and mobile users used to have it bad, but today’s gambling sites are well-equipped to handle your needs.
Do you own a Mac? Gambling sites cater to Mac users by hosting no-download games right on the casino website. All you have to do is log in to your account online and you can access the games in your browser. Modern browsers and coding languages make a cinch to offer games that are just as high quality and pleasing to the eye as what you would get downloading the full software.
Mobile Slots: Mobile users now account for a significant chunk of the revenue earned by online casino sites. Mobile visitors were once neglected but today’s gambling industry is much more mobile friendly. If you reading this on your iPhone or iPad right now, take a look at our mobile casinos page to learn more about which casinos are the best for you.
Online Slots Software Providers
The majority of gambling sites outsource the development of their gaming software to third party companies.
Slots software providers are highly experienced and can usually build a better product than what a betting site could build from scratch. There are dozens of online slots software providers out there, but not many are recognized by the average player.
If you have a good deal of experience betting on slots online, you may have a preference for certain software providers.
Below are a few of the more well-known slots software providers. This is far from a complete list but we do have plans to add more providers and provide you with casino recommendations based on each provider.
- Realtime Gaming (RTG)
- Vegas Technology
Rating the best slots software providers is almost impossible because a lot of it comes down to simple personal preference. Choosing your favorite is a matter of experiencing them all and coming to your own conclusion.
Internet vs. Real World Slots
Online slot machines offer two distinct advantages over their live counterparts. First, online slot machines offer higher payout rates than live machines. Gambling sites are so much cheaper to operate so they can afford to offer higher payout rates. Many online slot machines pay out $0.96 or more in prizes for every $1.00 wagered.
The second advantage is that there are many more choices of slot machines online. A single online casino will give you upwards of 100+ unique games to choose from, each with its own style and unique theme. As an added bonus, you’ll never have to wait in line to play your favorite slot online.
At the end of the day, finding the best casinos for slots is relative. What do you like? The odds are you don’t have the same exact list of priorities as I do. I’m sure we can all agree that safety and reputation are paramount but beyond that it’s open season.
The best slots site for your needs will depend on what you value the most. Are you looking for slots tournaments? Do you just want to play games themed after the X-Men or games developed by a certain software provider? Perhaps your main concern is to get a huge signup bonus.
Whatever the case may be, it wouldn’t hurt to try a couple of sites before you make your first deposit. You can sign up for free at any gaming site and try all the variations with play-money chips. Once you find the one you want, you can make a deposit and get started without any surprises.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.