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The Complete Online Slots Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Slots are one of the most well-liked game types in an online casino. It’s easy to play slots and if you’re new, you’ll learn quickly – especially if you finish reading this slots guide.

If you have ever entered a traditional land-based casino in Canada, you can probably recall the sounds of real-life mechanical slot machines as you enter the casino. The blinking and shining lights, that distinguishing smell, and if you’ve lived the casino life for a while, the rattling of coins as they waterfall down in your lap after a big win. With online slot machines, the same feeling is captured, with wonderful graphics and themes, sounds effects, great music, and smooth interaction as you play from your mobile device or computer.

When playing casino slots online you have the benefit of trying different free slots without losing any of your money. It’s a great way to learn how to play slots since you’re not risking any of your own money. We recommend you do this before playing real-money online slots. We also recommend that you continue reading this page for a full guide covering the topics of how to play and more importantly how to win at slots and where to play slots online.

How to Play Slots Step-by-Step

Casino slots are easy to play, with just the click of a few buttons you will be able to play for real cash or free slots.

  1. Choose how many paylines you would like to play and the amount of money you want to bet per spin.
  2. Press the spin or start button to get the reels spinning. Once the reels stop, you will get paid based on how the symbols of the reels line up with the paylines you have chosen.
  3. Get matching symbols to win. Each game is different, in some slots you may need three connecting symbols to win. If you have many paylines active you can win with more combinations, for example, diagonal and horizontal matching symbols.

Play Free Slots and Play for Real Money

Play Free Online Slots

If you are a seasoned slots player you already know the in’s and out’s of how to play. If you are a new player, then playing free slots is a good way to learn how to play, it’s also a way to just enjoy and play slots for fun. While playing free online slots you can find out what types of games you enjoy playing the most. Once you find a game that you like and understand well, then it’s time to make a move to play real-money slots.

Play free slots

Play Real Money Slots

It’s very important that you don’t play for money that you can’t afford to lose. Online slots should be fun to play and enjoyable so make sure you know how much you would like to spend. When you are inside a specific slot game, make sure to adjust the size of your stake in relation to the money you have available in your account, with a lower stake size you will be able to play for longer.

Offline Versus Online Casino Slots

The absolute biggest difference between playing slots online compared to offline is how you access and how to play slots. The main difference is the factor of convenience, as you can access the slots games and play anytime you want to. All you need is your mobile phone or computer. When playing in a real, land-based casino, you have to think about how to dress, how to get to the casino and there might even be a queue to the slot machine you want to play. With that said, if you have visited a land-based casino in Canada you’d know that the atmosphere inside is amazing and it does provide a social setting that can be quite enjoyable, with food and drinks available around the clock.

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Besides an awesome atmosphere, there is not much more that can’t be found in an online casino. You won’t find the same type of rewards, and the payouts in land-based casinos are lower. In an online casino, the selection of slots games is unparalleled, there are literally thousands of slots available to play. There are games for every taste with high payouts. The progressive jackpots that are built up are huge. Every time you sign up to a new casino there will be some form of welcome bonus offer available, whether it’s free cash to play with or free spins, you’re sure to get benefits from the rewards. If for some reason you are bored with one online casino, you can just move on to the next and see what they have to offer. Offline you will never be offered to play slots for free, while online you can play almost any slot game for free to try it out, learn or just play slots for fun. Food and drinks are usually within an arm’s reach or a phone call away.

Something You Should Know About Online Slots Strategy

You should know that slots are unpredictable. The outcome of each spin you make in the slot machine is determined by a random number generator (RNG). No one knows if the spin is a winning or losing round until this random outcome is actually presented in the slot game. Because of this, there is no sure-fire way of how to win at slots. You can maximize the number of lines you play, maximize your stake in order to have a chance for the biggest payout while doing so you are also maximizing your risk. The good thing with online slots is that you don’t have to go for the biggest payouts while risking little money you still have the chance to win big.

So, while you may spot trends and patterns between your spins it’s impossible to change anything about the outcome. The outcome of a new spin is independent of the previous spin and trying different combinations of paylines and stake sizes won’t improve your chances of winning. With that said, it’s still good to practice free slots games for fun before starting to play with real money. This will help you enjoy the games more, you will know the value of the symbols, and what payouts they have, how to unlock free spins, and when bonus games are triggered.

Different Types of Online Slots Themes

Out of all the games you can play in an online casino, slots are by far the most diverse. Each slot game has its own theme, with different graphics, sound effects, soundtrack, different number of reels, bonus features, and many other details that differentiate one slot game from another slot game. Again we want to highlight that playing free slots is a great way to experience different slots and find your favorite games.

Slots themes

Different Types of Slots

Classic Slots

Classic slots are generally basic and can be considered old fashioned. Not many game studios develop classic slots any longer. The gameplay is generally flat with little variation, lack of bonus rounds and features. These slots do provide a classic Las Vegas-style feeling and usually feature three reels.

Video Slots

Video slots are the modern version of slots with dynamic features, bonus rounds, interactive gameplay, and amazing sound effects and soundtracks. These slots are generally more complex and a little more difficult to understand compared to classic slots, however, the gameplay in video slots is straightforward and you will have no problem learning how to play video slots.

Mobile Slots

Mobile slots are generally the same thing as both classic slots and video slots. The difference is that the slots games are compatible with mobile devices and are played on either your phone or pad. Not all slots games are adapted to mobile devices but any new slots games that are developed by game studios would be compatible.

Jackpot Slots

Jackpot slots are slot games that have a fixed jackpot which you have a very small chance to win on each spin. Some jackpot slots would require you to use a certain bet size or a certain number of paylines. Usually, you would hit the jackpot during a bonus round.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Progressive jackpot slots feature a common jackpot pool that is constantly growing. A small amount of each real money spin is collected from all the players who are playing the progressive jackpot game. The reason why progressive jackpots are so big is that they do not come from the casino itself – progressive jackpots come from the game provider. For example, the progressive jackpot in a game from NetEnt, like MegaFortune, is being accumulated by every player who plays this game on every single casino which offers this game. When someone wins the progressive jackpot it resets and then starts accumulating again until another lucky winner hits the big win.

Online Slots Terminology


If you are playing for a longer period of time you may get tired of clicking the spin button every round. All slots offer you the option to set autoplay to a higher number of spins, with the option to stop autoplay when a bonus round is triggered so you can participate in the action this has to offer.

Bonus Round

Most online slots offer bonus rounds, this is a game feature that occurs on rare occasions and normally it prompts a specific game sequence where you can win for example free spins or get a massive multiplier which will increase your chances of getting a bigger payout than normal.

Free Spins

Free spins are the most common bonus in an online casino and can often be awarded inside the slot games you are playing. You are literally awarded a number of spins in the casino or in the game, for free.

Max Bet

The largest amount you can bet in one spin. Max bet size differs between each slot game you play.


Payout determines how much you can win and this varies from slot game to slot game and also on your bet size, how many paylines you use and what the actual result of the spin is.

Progressive Jackpot

A progressive jackpot is a jackpot that increases all the time. A small amount of each real money spin is collected from all the players who are playing the progressive jackpot game. Once a lucky person hits the jackpot, they win big and the progressive jackpot resets. Then it slowly builds up again until a new lucky player hits the jackpot.


The graphics on the reels represent symbols, matching symbols will result in different payouts. Symbols are usually part of the overall theme of the slots. So if you are playing a candy-themed slot game then the symbols will represent different candies.


The spinning component that displays symbols. Reels are sometimes also referred to as wheels.

Wild Symbols

Most online slot games feature wild symbols, similar to a joker in a deck of cards, these symbols can represent several different types of specific symbols. Getting wild symbols makes it easier to get a combination of symbols resulting in a payout.

Best Slots Games Providers

Who develops all the slots games you can play in the online casino? While some operators develop games themselves, the vast majority of all the games you find in an online casino are developed and provided by gaming providers. These companies have their own studios and departments that solely focus on building slots games and other casino game content.

This company has been around for over 20 years. They started in 1999 and rose to fame due to their innovative 3D slots. The gaming solutions they develop uses a 3D cinematographic presentation that closely resembles what you see in animated movie studios. 3D slots have a great flow, loads quickly, and are extremely engaging and fun to play.


In our brief History of Slots section further down, we mention Microgaming as the first provider of online casino software. This company dates back to 1994 and provides anything you can think of inside an online casino, including awesome slot games. Microgaming is known for its progressive jackpots and they have paid out over $100 million dollars in progressive jackpots only in the last 10 years. They have a huge library of video slots comprising over 300 different games.


Netent is one of the oldest and most successful gaming providers on the market today. Started in Sweden back in 1996, they quickly developed good relationships with large online casinos that were operating in the booming Swedish market. Today they are arguably the most popular online slots developer in the world. Netent has some organizational ties to Canada as all their slots games are verified by a Canadian company, which certifies RNG engines (Random Number Generator) of Netent’s games to ensure fair payouts.

Novomatic is arguably the oldest online slots provider in the world today. The company was founded in 1980 and was exclusively working with land-based casinos and building offline slot machines. It wasn’t until 2011 that they took a major step into becoming a major player in the online slots development industry.

Play’N Go

Play’N Go prioritize quality over quantity. While they do have an extensive library of slot games to offer, they don’t have that many releases compared to Netent and Microgaming. Everything they release is pure quality though. Most of their games are available as both mobile slots and desktop slots.

Red Tiger
The news gaming provider on our list is Red Tiger. They have managed to become a major player in just a few years. Red Tiger opened its doors back in 2014 and developed games being used by online casinos in Asia, Europe, and North America. Red Tiger themself say that they’re committed to the science of fun and their team of game theorists, mathematicians, graphic designers, and developers have a steady stream of new great slot game releases.

History of Slots

The original mechanical slot machine was first invented in New York back in 1891. The first theme that was used in this mechanical one was one of the traditional poker deck. It had five reels with playing cards as symbols, spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. The next mechanical slot machine was introduced in the following years where the number of reels was reduced to three and the symbols used were Liberty Bells, Horseshoes, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds. This slot had the first-ever automatic payout and paid out up to $0.50 Cents. Around ten years later in 1907, the first multi-reel mechanical slot machine was invented, it had three rows with three reels.

We then leap forward in time, to 1963 when the first electric slot machine was introduced. This slot machine dubbed Money Honey featured three reels and three rows and paid out up to 500 coins. In 1976 the first video slot machine was invented, it featured a digital display and computer-rendered graphics. The new video slot machines pioneered the slots industry and were a welcome addition in Las Vegas. With the rise of the internet in the early nineties, it didn’t take long until casinos were adapted for use online. In 1994 Microgaming started providing the first online casino software. The same year the first online casino started providing their services online. Since then the online casino industry has been booming and slot games in all its forms continue to be one of the most popular games in the casinos alongside Blackjack and Roulette.

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