UK Online Slots Guide, Free Slots, Free Spins & Real Money Slots Bonuses
It's as simple as this: casino players in the UK love playing online slots. There's no messing about or beating around the bush. Slot machines are massive among players for a number of reasons, but no one can deny that the biggest contributing factor is that just one spin can make a massive difference.
Given that online slots are also a game that doesn't require a lot of hard work. Simply hit the spin button and you are away, which means players are not required to be experts on the game itself. Slots are also the more enticing and visually appealing of games. When we compare the best slots in the market against the best video poker machines, it really is no competition. These are the games which dominate casinos, for obvious reasons.
If you have yet to sample even one slot in your life, then this guide will walk you through what you can expect. There is a wide range of slots, which can be played via your browser, downloadable software, or on your mobile or device. UK players have access to a cornucopia of slot games, which means they will never be at a loss for finding one to play.
How to play online slots
Slots remain the most popular and most diverse part of the online gambling industry. But behind all that colour, sound, and variety lie some very simple mechanisms.
These routines are kept simple because the casinos want a player who can play one slot to be able to play another. You can get some pretty in-depth and specialist knowledge that will enhance your enjoyment of playing mobile slots, but you can equally know very little and have a great – and very profitable – time.
A game of chance
The mechanics are simple. A player puts up some money in order to trigger an event with a number of possible outcomes. If the event ends in one of a number of predetermined patterns the player wins an amount of money that is determined in part by the odds against that particular event happening.
This means the mechanics for the player are simple too. There are variations but the player’s input is usually relatively limited to deciding on how much money you would like to chance. You may also have the choice of how many pay-lines you want to bet on.
A pay-line is a path along the reels along which matching combinations of symbols can occur to produce wins. Traditional slots simply measured these combos across the central line, but these days you can bet on large numbers of paths.
Be sure you understand the way this staking works, i.e., are you setting a total stake or staking an amount on each pay-line that you select. Good machine design should make this completely clear to you.
The most important rule of all
We’re going to explain in this article that there is no trick to playing online slots to win. There is a rule though, a very common sense rule: always read the rules. While slot play is generally quite standardized you are fooling yourself and putting yourself at risk if you do not at least take a look through the rules of the particular game you are playing.
That is the one rule to rule them all!
How to win on slot machines
So in this article, we will reveal the hidden secret that guarantees you some big jackpot wins every time you play online slots.
Actually, we won’t, because there isn’t one. Anyone who tells you there is – and particularly anyone who asks you for money in return for telling you the “secret” – is a scammer.
The truth about slot machines
Online video slots are ruthlessly controlled by software that does exactly what it is supposed to do, which is to deliver a profit to the casino. That is what it will do. This doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t win, and it doesn’t mean that you might not win a life-changing amount of money, it just means you should be aware of the system and the way it works.
Real ways to win on slot machines
There are real ways to win on slot machines. But they are long-term strategies rather than one-off tricks that are shortcuts to the jackpot.
The first is the one we’ve described above: know about the game you’re playing, how to claim bonuses, how to play bonus games, how to change your stakes and so on.
The second is to accept that playing slots to win is probably a long-term project. Your chances of winning a jackpot are completely random: it could happen the first time you ever
And the best way to play a game for a decent length of time is to pick a game that you actually enjoy playing.
Safe play is good play
Playing safely is another way to improve your chances of winning, because these rules of safe gambling – don’t chase losses, don’t gamble angry or sad, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose – are meant to keep things fun because winning is fun.
Online slots odds and pay-outs
How’s your mathematics? If it’s very good you can work out odds on particular online slots relatively simple. This being the Internet you can also try searching to see if someone else has done the sums for you. However, they are not easy sums.
You can do a certain amount of common sense totalling with publicly available information though.
Your first stop should be the machine’s pay table. They’re usually easy to find, and – though they don’t look it – relatively easy to understand. The paytable should offer you a full rundown of every possible winning combination in the game and how much it will earn a player. This is usually represented as a total in “coins” and that often relates to the stake the game is currently set to play. Some paytables will refer to the number of times your stake you’ll receive for hitting a winning combo.
The theoretical return to player (RTP)
The RTP or theoretical return to player is a favourite figure of slots players, and review sites like
However, these figures are not promises. A 97% RTP sounds great, but it does not mean that for every £1 you gamble you will win 97p. These figures are genuine and honest and checked by regulators, but they apply to the whole life of the machine not just your interaction with it.
Let’s go a little beyond that to actual online slots odds. To calculate these you need to know the numbers of each symbol on each reel and the total number of positions on each reel.
So a five reel slot with 20 symbols on each reel will produce a 20 x 20 x 20 number of possible combinations. And a symbol that appears once of each of those reels has a probability of appearing on all of them simultaneously of 1/20 x 1/20 x 1/20, which is 4,000 to 1.
So, if you have the time, you can do it, but we recommend sticking to the rules of thumb we have outlined above.
Slot Machine Tips & Slot Machine Strategy
So we know there’s no secret and no shortcut to big wins. So our advice remains to play what you enjoy playing, to gamble safely, and to have fun! However, there are some tips you can use to keep your sessions fun and to open up the possibility of winning more regularly.
Random is random
In the days of mechanical slots there used to be all sorts of theories about timing and defects that influenced players. Today, you can forget these. The slot machines are run on implacable random number generators. Any deviation from that is corruption and is illegal. Really, it just doesn’t happen.
Use what you know
So, while acknowledging the limits of your influence we would say this:
Knowledge is power.
Learn your way around games, read reviews, look at pay tables, and know the rules.
Small is beautiful
Big stakes might feel good, but they massively up your risk. If you want to have long sessions with decent returns you’re better off staking smaller amounts.
Figures do tell the truth
Big jackpots, big bonuses, and high RTPs have their limits, but they are the best indications we have. Pick your games with the possibility of massive pay-outs and the guarantee of long-term returns with generous RTPs and you’re giving yourself the best chance.
Play for free
Free slots are a great way to check out new games. New games are no more likely to pay out – whatever the conspiracy theories – but they are more likely to be linked to promotions and freebies, so look out for them.
Know your limits
The best way to not lose money is to not stake it. This is an unpalatable lesson for some gamblers, but you’re much better off cashing up your account by a small amount and then sticking your bank cards out of reach for a couple of days so you can’t chuck in more if you start to lose. Set limits and stick to them and you’re less likely to lose big.
Slot Machine Secrets
Sorry to keep the bad or boring news coming, but the secret is there is no slot machine secret! Those who tell you that there is, generally do so because they’re going to take money off you for revealing it to you. We could tell you a secret about them.
What there is to know about online video slots is relatively well known and it is available to everyone who plays them. At least it should be if you’re playing in a decent and licensed casino site.
A common misperception in the online world is that a genuine secret of the world of mechanical slots applies on the web. Sadly, the idea that betting the maximum amount on online slots does not apply.
It does on mechanical slots because of the way multipliers and top jackpots work in that setting, though, in practice the differences are marginal for most players.
Because computers are cleverer than mechanical slots these differences have been ironed out in computerised video slots.
In fact, your best bet is to bet small amounts on all pay lines, where you have a choice of pay lines to cover. The only advantage this gives is that it guarantees you are eligible for all bonus symbols that might be triggered. On some slot machines, those can only be triggered by combinations on pay lines you’ve bet on.
Bonus games are always a plus
Players enjoy them. And because they provide essentially free playing time they will make your money last longer.
Beyond that we recommend that you reveal all the “slot machine secrets” of the games you are playing by thoroughly reading through the paytables and rules of the game and the casino site you’re playing at, because the worst sort of slot secret to discover is that you can’t collect a jackpot because you’re in the wrong country!
Why play online slots tournaments
Gambling has long been a solitary, and even lonely, way to spend time. It doesn’t have to be though. Card games are social, and now internet connectivity means that you can play with others even on slots.
What’s a slot tournament?
Slots tournaments charge a fee for entry and then grant a set number of credits to each player. All players then compete by playing the game selected for the tournament. Instead of playing for cash payouts players are awarded points for any winning combos they score, and the player with the highest score wins –usually a cash prize.
Prizes are very variable. It could be all the entry fees, it could be a slice of them, you name it, it’s entirely up to the casino that hosts the online slot tournament.
Best of all, of course, are free slots tournaments. These essentially operate as a reward to loyal customers and are less likely to offer big prizes.
So why play slot tournaments?
Free games! That’s a good reason if you can find them. Even fixed entrance fee tournaments offer you a chance to mess around with a game without risking staking loads of money on it.
And, of course, you might just win!
Why play free slots
Free slots sound perfect, don’t they? But should you bother with them?
Our answer is yes you should! As much as you can and as often as you can.
You’ll find free slots all over the place. On review sites like CasinoExpert, on stand-alone free slots sites, on developers’ sites, and in casinos where you can often play games on demo mode without ponying up any cash.
We all love winning big jackpots and so on, but free play is a useful tool for any serious player. Why? Because you can learn your way around a game. Making mistakes when you’ve got £10-a-line staked is painful. Much better to press the wrong buttons when you’ve got nothing on the line.
As you don’t have the pressure of a balance ticking down with every spin you can take the time needed to trigger all the bonus features and make sure you’re on top of them too. Look out for “feature preview” buttons that might let you look at things like free spins rounds or complicated bonus games.
Playing without cash also takes some of the pressure off. It’s a good way to take a break when things are going badly in the cash games, to take stock and build a bit of confidence up.
Free slot play is also a good way to remember that these games can be played just for fun. Some of them have great graphics and charming music, really engaging gameplay and fantastic sound effects. Why not dive in and check them out just for the joy of it!
Any serious player will check out a new online slot game on free play mode before diving in and staking big money. It makes no sense not to. One thing we will add to free slots fans though is that you are playing the game in a different setting than the one you pay for.
The regulations may be different, including the number of apparent pay-outs it makes, so a game that gives you win after a win when played for free may be set up that way to tempt you to try the real thing with real cash.
Free Spins & No Deposit Slots Bonuses
The keen casino fan and online slots player
They’re rare, and once spotted are quickly grabbed. If they’re limited they’ll soon be used up, so if you see them then you should grab them.
Free spins for the win!
Free spins are much more likely to be offered to players than actual bonus funds. Anything that comes for free is unlikely to come without a catch, so – as we always advise – we say read all the small print and make sure you’re happy with the deal.
This is particularly true if the offer is coming from a site that you think you might want to come back to because once you’ve cashed in one bonus you won’t be able to pick up the next one – welcome bonuses are one-time-only deals.
Remember that you will almost certainly be expected to hand over a lot of information in return for free spins and other no deposit casino slots bonuses. Information is not a cost-free proposition these days. You should be sure that you’re happy that the casino you’re dealing with is legitimate and that you’re happy with their data protection and payment protection policies.
There we come to another issue. You may be asked to hand over payment details even if you do not have to pay anything as you register. Again, you should always be careful that you’re dealing with a secure and safe site when you hand over payment details.
At the best least, your “free spins” will cost you a stream of marketing emails. It’s also likely they’ll cost you in terms of what casinos call “wagering requirements” or “play through”.
These requirements will also apply to no deposit slots bonus funds. In fact, they apply to almost all slots bonuses. They may restrict your ability to withdraw money that you win with no deposit free spins or no deposit bonuses until you have wagered many times the amount of the bonus. It is likely that there are also limits on how the money you spend will be counted against those wagering requirements – usually, the most popular or lucrative games are penalised!
Free spins are fantastic
No deposit slots bonuses are fantastic. There’s no denying that, whatever the restrictions that come with them, but if you don’t want to be disappointed, then you will read the small print as you cash them in.
Why claim real money slots bonuses
Real money slots bonuses are sort of the golden fleece of casino bonus payments. If you see them, grab them – but only after you’ve read the small print.
The bonus world
We’ve covered online slots bonuses in some detail on this site. And most players at online casinos will have a decent amount of knowledge on the subject. That’s because online slots players tend to shop around and casinos do everything they can to tempt those mobile players in.
Bonuses come in a number of broad categories:
Free spins, which are wonderful!
Bonus funds, which are also great, and like free spins usually supplement your first deposit at a site you join, unless they’re...No-deposit bonuses, which are even more wonderful, but usually come with multiple restrictions, and...Real money bonuses, which are unusual, to say the least.
The reason why real money slots bonuses are so rare is that they’re so generous. When you grant slots bonus funds to a player you also grant any number of restrictions on how they can use that money, how they can withdraw it, how they can play with it, and so on.
Real money is real money
Players can play with it on whatever game they want to. They can win money with it and hopefully withdraw that money.
You can also count restriction-free free spins in this category in the opinion of some players. After all, spins cost money, so handing them over and completely freeing up the money that is won with them amounts to handling real money to a player.
It is very obvious why a casino would be wary about doing this sort of thing. It is a risk, and you should be aware of what that means about a site. It either means that it is very confident that what it offers you will make you stay once you have used up your free money. Or it is prepared to take dangerous risks.
Don’t run away too far with the idea that real money slots bonuses are never completely legitimate, many of them are. But never forget that old cliché: an offer that looks too good to be true is probably too good to be true. Clichés become clichés because they contain some truth.
Most slots casino sites are legitimate and most offers are fair in this business, but any player who doesn’t inform themselves about a site’s payment systems, licensing, and data and security protection before they cash in the “free £100 offer” isn’t doing themselves any favours.
UK Online Slots
UK players can access an online casino and simply bask in the glory of the hundreds of UK online slots they can play on. There is a massive range, from classic fruit machines to 5-reel video slots, those with progressive jackpots, and even 3D slots where you will be taken on an aesthetic journey courtesy of the best software developers out there. UK online slots are the sole reason why many people sign up to casinos every year.
It seems as though UK players just cannot get enough slot games. This is evidenced by the sheer range of titles which emerge every year. The greatest minds in the slots industry invest millions in delivering the games which eventually become classics. Then, there are the classics of this age. The games which endure time and stand ageless among others which seemingly come and go without making even a fraction of the impact.
It is important to know of the range of differences and features which are carried by slots. As the old saying goes, "each to their own." For both new and existing players, sampling a slot for the first time can mean falling in love with that game, the format, or the software developer behind it. It takes just one generous slot for us to sit up and pay attention, after all.
Online slots are popular for a reason. When we sit down at our laptop or desktop computers and become enthralled in a game, it has to be something special, right? Think of how many slots out there, which you have not come across yet, could grab your attention.
If you have ever engaged in a session playing slots only to have to leave the house for something annoying like work, food shopping, or getting married, then you will understand the frustration. Thankfully, the advent of mobile slots has changed that. Who cares what your future wife, family, and priest at the altar think? A few more spins and you'll land that bonus, right?
Well, no. That is not to be advised. However, and more to the point, mobile slots allow players to take the fun with them on the move. There are a number of casinos that support mobile slots via a wide range of devices. Pretty much every smartphone and mobile device will allow you to access a world where you can pick your favourite slot while being out and about.
Are Online Slots for You?
It is likely that slots could be the game which keeps you hooked. The various slots out there, with their own unique charms and appeal, are too many to mention. Just like any other game in a casino, we all tend to have our favourite. Even those who have never got the appeal of slots can admit that they find them curious. As the industry continues to grow, more and more casino enthusiasts flock to slots.
A reason for this is that slots generally have more variety to them than the other games which you would find in an online casino. Roulette, blackjack, video poker, backgammon, baccarat - developers of these games have never really found a way to modernise them to make them more popular. Well, they are popular enough without having to be changed, but sometimes the repetition can get exhausting. With slots, there are just so many different kinds.
The Various Types of Slot Machines
UK players will probably be aware of the wide range of UK slots out there. From those based on famous movies and movie characters to Egyptian-themed slots, Superhero-themed slots, and those which make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Exploding fruits, colourful blocks, treks through the jungle, you name it, slot developers have jumped on it at some point.
Did you know the difference between these slots in how they perform? For example, the traditional pub fruit machines are structured in an entirely different fashion to 5-reel video slots. There are big differences, and every slots enthusiast has their own personal favourites.
3 Reel Slots
Everyone with even a basic knowledge of slots will know that these are the Godfathers of slots. You can be certain that any casino you play in will have at least one form of 3 reel slot in their repertoire of games. Paylines are typically 1-3, with bonuses (if any) generally triggered with 3 special symbols.
The original slot. Anyone in the UK that has been to a pub at some point will have seen the bright, flashing lights of fruit machines illuminating an otherwise stale-smelling and depressing boozer with the allure of a siren.
Online casino software developers realise that, for many, this is where the love affair of slots started. Many have chosen to replicate the classics for online play, but they are far from the most popular slot out there. We just thought you needed a reminder of the importance of slots history...
5 Reel Slots
Now, this is where things get exciting. 5-reel slots have pay lines which can range from 9 to over 1,000. These are the second wave of slots, where bonuses and features are regularly built into. They are widespread in almost every single online casino operating today. The vast majority of slots will be based on the 5-reel structure.
6 Reel Slots
While not as common as 5-reels, 6-reel slots are still commonly found in online casinos. They are not as widespread as the 5-reel variety, but there are many players who prefer to play them.
7 Reel Slots
UK players who play 7-reel slots will have access to more combinations and a higher chance of winning big. Once again, these are nowhere near as popular as other slots out there, most notably, their 5-reel cousins.
Now we're talking, eh? Did you know video slots are a child of the 1980's? They have been around for longer than most of the footballers and singers who dominate the best teams of the country and annoy us from the radio waves. This type of game grew incredibly popular with the growth of the internet, reeling us all in (pardon the pun) with their exciting graphics.
Bonus chasers love video slots with as many features jammed in as possible. Luckily for UK players, more and more slots are built around the bonuses that can be unlocked more than anything else.
Jackpot Slots, also known as Progressive Slots
Progressive slots may or may not have their own in-game "jackpots" or could be part of a network where a life-changing amount of cash is up for grabs. One simple Google search will return a number of lucky players who have changed their lives by playing slots.
Jackpot slots are massively important to online casinos, as a huge number of players tend to seek out slots with the potential for record-breaking wins. We're talking millions and millions of pounds which could fall into your lap faster than you can say "holy s**t".
3D slots are the future, and even the ones we have presently do a good job of reminding us just how far software developers go with their designs. 3D slots typically have incredibly intriguing graphics and a complex storyline which can hook players in faster than a master-fisherman with the best bait on the planet.
Features & Bonuses
Features and bonuses keep players happy. They attract players like a light bulb attracts moths. The more exciting ones can be the sole reason why many play these games in the first place.
With the chance of wilds, sticky wilds, pick 'em bonuses, free spins, cascade wins, there is usually something for everyone. You can typically check any features and bonuses of the game before you play them, which will give you a chance to figure out if they are right for you. Alternatively, you can play in demo mode and try them out with fake money before you commit to depositing.
Slot Software Developers
Think of boxing's Pound for Pound rankings: there are boxers and then there are great boxers. The stand out performers of the craft. Software developers are pretty much the same, there are the big boys (Microgaming, NetEnt etc) and the smaller, boutique developers which would be more akin to a rising prospect.
Microgaming is always a great example of a heavyweight developer. Based in the Isle of Man, this company claims to have designed the very first online casino in 1994 and has been hitting it out of the park ever since. The company is renowned for more than just their slots, but the design and ideas which have driven the online casino market to the heights it enjoys today.
RTP & Volatility
What players want is slots with a high return to player (RTP). Slots which have an RTP of 95% and above are desirable. Slots with RTP of 90% are generally to be avoided, as the chances of wins are much lower. Higher RTP's are not always an indication of high payouts, as a slot with 97% RTP and low volatility pay out small but frequently.
It is important that you understand the RTP of a machine before you play it, in order to determine what to expect.
High variance games are usually those where wins might take a while, but the chance for bigger wins is greater. These machines typically have infrequent wins until you hit wins or trigger one of the various features of the game. These slots tend to be sought out by those with a budget strong enough to maintain their session while they wait to hit a big win. These games can be very strong in taking your money for a while, so don't favour casual players.
Low variance slots are more popular among players who want frequent but smaller wins, and just want to enjoy themselves or pass some time. While the chances of winning massively are lower, you could accumulate a decent balance over time. Low variance games do not really appeal to those looking for big wins.
What we want when we play slots comes down to our own motivations. We will have a unique perspective on casino games and this could be anything from looking for the elusive jackpot win to just having fun. Fun is the name of the game for many players in the UK, even those that are comfortable spending hundreds or even thousands per session.
When it comes to slots from the perspective of a casino, there is no doubting their importance to them. As the casino industry relies on players participating in games, you can usually figure out how they look at a game by studying how many are produced each and every year. There are more slots developed than any other game, and they will typically be the first thing you see when entering a casino for the first time.
From 3-reel slots to progressive jackpots, slots are massive for a reason.