Online Slots

How do Online Slots Work?

Of all the casino games available today at the most generous casinos, slots are by far the most popular. Perhaps it's the prospect of winning big that makes them so alluring. Maybe it’s just their simple play style. In any case, their fundamental design hasn’t changed all that much in the 100 or so years that they’ve been around.

The biggest change to happen in the last few decades, of course, is that you can now play them on the internet. But online slots don’t use the mechanical components that give traditional slots machines their randomness, so how can you trust that they’re working in the same manner? To find out, keep reading and discover exactly how online slots work.

Random Number Generator (RNG)

Hidden within every online slot is a random number generator (RNG). This software is exactly what it claims to be:

Every second, an RNG generates thousands of numbers between zero and approximately four billion. Each individual number is linked to a different outcome. When you spin the reel, it will connect to whichever number was generated at that exact moment. The randomness of an RNG is determined by online gambling authorities to ensure fairness.


The heart of any slot machine - and a major differentiator between online slots and mechanical ones - paylines help determine whether you’ve won and what kind of win was achieved.

Original slot machines had one payline along the center of their three drums. Being limited by virtually no constraints, online slots can have anything from 3 to 50 paylines, and some have up to 243 or even 1023 different ways to win. However, the average is around 25 paylines, which translates to an equal number of chances to win on every spin.

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It’s worth noting that more paylines is not always better. You still stand a chance of winning nothing at all, and since every additional payline costs more to utilize, you risk a greater loss. So, find a balance that works best for your budget.

Return to Player (RTP)

The return to player (RTP) is a percentage that defines how much of the player’s money the machine will return. The higher the percentage, the better. Any licensed gambling website should provide this information for each slot machine.

Hit Frequency

This is another way to determine whether a machine will yield a good set of wins. Hit frequency refers to how often you can expect a payout. So, if a machine has a hit frequency of 25 percent, you can expect a hit approximately every four spins. Using the hit frequency and RTP statistics can help you determine whether a slot is worth your money.

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Another aspect that makes online slots different is the presence of unique symbols. The most common symbols are wild, scatter and multiplier. It’s worth taking a moment to look into what these symbols mean, as they can completely change the dynamics of an online slot game. For instance, a scatter symbol can give you free coins or bonus games.

Now you know a thing or two about online slots and how they work. All that’s left to do is put your knowledge to the test and find a winning slot. Good luck!