A Guide to Choosing Online Slots

Due to the rising popularity of online gambling, web-based casinos are popping up like mushrooms, making it more difficult than ever to simply choose the right place and game to play. What’s more, considering the cyber threats and the fact that you’ll probably be playing with your own money, it’s not a decision you should take lightly.
However, while it might seem like an impossible task at first, there are some things you can keep in mind that will make the whole search process smoother. From determining if you want to play for fun or real money, and deciding on your preferred payment options (e.g., debit or credit cards, e-wallets, or even cryptocurrencies), to choosing the machines with the highest RTPs, checking out the offered bonuses, and researching different types of slots – below, you will find more details about how to choose the best online slots to play!

Money, Money, Money… Free vs Real Money Slots, and Payment Options

Before you even open your browser to look for an online casino, you need to determine if you want free slots to play for fun or online slots that pay real money.

If you want to play for real money, the first thing you need to do is to select a trusted and licensed online casino with a good reputation. It’s always better to go with a big name than to risk your money with an unknown casino.

To make sure that the casino you’re about to join is safe and secure, go through its terms and conditions and check if it offers any sort of protection for your personal data. You should also look into the security measures it has put in place. While most casinos will offer a safe and secure environment, there are some that still fall short in this respect.

Licensed casinos will provide you with a range of bonuses upon registration. For example, some casinos will give you a welcome bonus for registering and depositing, whereas others will give you reload bonuses or even loyalty rewards. If you want to get as much value as possible out of your gambling experience, you should always take advantage of these bonuses. However, before you start playing with your real money, make sure to read the fine print and know the maximum amount of cash you can withdraw from your account.

If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to start with some free games so that you can get your head around the concept, find your preferred machine type, try out different casinos, and so on. It will also help you set the optimal budget. Speaking of which – once you have decided whether you want to play slots for real money or just for fun, it’s time to find the right payment method. 

Payment Options

While credit and debit cards seem like the most convenient option, bear in mind that no matter if you use Visa, MasterCard, or even Amex, there is always a risk of you being locked out of your account by your bank and having no access to your cash. An additional drawback is that you may have to wait for a few days until the money gets transferred to your account, which means that you won’t be able to play for real money straight away. This is especially inconvenient if you’re eager to play slots. Not to mention that transaction fees may be high, depending on your bank, your and a casino’s locations.

An alternative to credit and debit card deposits is using e-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill. The biggest advantage of these payment methods is that your money will be transferred instantly, which means you don’t have to wait for a lengthy verification process and you can jump right into the game. E-wallets are way more straightforward to manage, which will help you stay on top of your finances. Moreover, they offer additional security, as no casino will ever have access to your payment information and other sensitive data. 

One of the newest methods of making deposits and withdrawals at online casinos is with a cryptocurrency. Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), and other similar cryptocurrencies have been gaining popularity as they guarantee anonymity and provide security features. All transactions are difficult (or impossible) to track because they are based on highly encrypted codes rather than personal information or banking details. There is also no need to make any long bank transfers because cryptocurrency can be transferred instantly from one wallet to another. Furthermore, it’s impossible for banks or third parties to block the funds sent or received via cryptocurrency. The only downside may be their volatility.

Every single payment method you can think of comes with its own set of risks, so make sure to go over the terms and conditions in order to understand how the casino handles any potential cases of fraud.

Which Slots Pay the Best? Choose Games With the Highest RTPs (Return-to-Player) Rates

One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing the best online slots to play is the Return-to-Player (RTP) percentage. This value is a measure of how much money you can expect to win, on average, for every amount that you deposit or bet and for every game you play. It is expressed as a ratio between the total amount of money paid out to gamblers and the original bets.

For example, if the RTP is 95%, it means that out of every $100 you spend, you will be able to get $95 back; the rest is linked to the so-called house advantage – the money every casino makes on its players. However, these rates are calculated in the long run, so it’s not recommended to set your budget including the RTP money.

So, which slots have the best payout? With the highest RTP, of course. The best online slots to play are those that offer the highest RTPs. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why you should play slots online rather than in a land-based casino. For example, land-based slots have the RTP of anywhere between 70%-90%, rarely going higher than 92%, while online slots are considered not worth playing if they have the RTP lower than 94%-95%.

Check the Volatility of the Game

Further, in order to choose the best online slots to play, you should take into account the volatility of the machine. Long story short, the volatility of a slot machine tells you how often you can expect to win when playing on it. The lower the volatility, the more often you can win. It sounds pretty straightforward, but the strategy here is not – it’s not at all about choosing slots with the lowest volatility, though it might seem like a logical thing to do at first.

The thing is that the lower the volatility, the lower the payouts. As such, when paying attention to both the volatility and RTP, you need to find the perfect balance.

Try Different Types of Online Slots

While it’s true that you can’t have too much of a good thing, it might become a bit troublesome if you’re new to the world of slots or used to only the traditional machines. 

If you take a look at our short text about who invented slots and how they have been changing since their appearance in 1889 in the US, you will quickly notice that in the past, it was much easier to start playing, as there wasn’t a lot of choice. But it was often too boring to keep playing.

As the popularity of online gambling is on the rise, user experience experts and game developers are constantly coming up with upgrades and novelties to satisfy the players. 
The most popular online slots types include:

  • Three-Reel Slots are a blast from the past and the closest thing to traditional, real-life slot machines. You can even find a classic, three-reel, fruit online slot machine, and feel like a Las Vegas frequent visitor.
  • Five-Reel Slots add two reels to the good old-fashioned three-reel slot machine. This type has actually surpassed its predecessor in popularity and is the most widely played slot machine today, especially since the rise of online casinos, as this format offers more opportunities for upgrades, additional features and bonuses.
  • Video Slots offer a whole new online gambling experience. Thanks to the development of internet and game technologies, you can now play 3D slots, games with immersive sounds and stunning animations.
  • Bonus Slots are all games provided as extras; they can be based on popular movies or offer bonuses and additional features to existing slot machines.
  • Multi Spin Slots include more than one reel set and enable players to spin more than one wheel at a time.
  • Progressive Jackpot Slots include a set of machines that are linked by a network. A small percentage of each spin from all the games goes to a shared pool where the money is accumulated and can be won by a single player who hits the jackpot. There were cases of people winning as much as a dozen or so million dollars!

Fruit Machines are based on an old-fashioned mechanical fruit machine that can be often encountered in pubs. They are developed with attention to all their retro details, with both the looks and features matching the popular machines.

We dive deeper into the variety of online slots in a separate guide.

Don’t Miss Out! Look for Bonuses & Promotions

The other thing you should keep in mind when choosing the best online slots to play is to check out the bonuses and promotions, as they can add up to your enjoyment of the game, as well as your chances of winning.

In short, a bonus is a promotional offer that comes with a certain wager condition that you need to meet in order to withdraw it. You should look for bonuses, such as welcome or no deposit bonuses, and special offers like free spins and daily, weekly, or monthly giveaways.

However, it is important to note that not all casinos offer bonuses and promotions that are worth your time. That’s why you should do proper research before you even consider signing up for an online casino.

Remember that no matter how tempting the bonus might be, it’s always advisable to check if there are any strings attached. Before you sign up at a casino, check if there’s a wager requirement or not, and hold on to your bankroll until you’re certain you can meet it.

Make sure to always read the terms and conditions before accepting any bonus to avoid any unexpected surprises.
Some of the most common bonuses offered by online casinos include:

No Deposit Bonuses

No deposit bonuses are given to players who register at a casino but are yet to make any deposits there (some casinos also offer a first-deposit bonus). Usually, they are granted automatically, simply after providing an email address or signing up. The amount of such bonuses ranges significantly by casino and can be limited or not when it comes to slots type you can use them for.

Deposit Bonuses

Deposit bonuses are granted to players who have deposited some money in their casino accounts. The sign-up bonus is the most popular type of this promotion, but you can also get it later as most casinos launch such promotional campaigns regularly to attract new players and keep the existing ones with them. Deposit bonuses cover some of the money you have deposited or all of it.

Match Bonuses

Match bonuses are granted to players who have made a money deposit into their casino account. Such a bonus matches whatever amount that has been deposited by a player. While the most common are 100% match bonuses, it’s not rare to be offered more than 100% by numerous casinos.

Free Spins Bonuses

Free spins are extra turns given to you at no charge whatsoever. They are often offered in addition to all other bonuses. The number of free spins you can get varies by casino. There are many different kinds of free spins bonuses, each one having its own specific rules and restrictions.

Welcome Bonuses

Welcome bonuses are offered by pretty much all the online casinos. They are usually a combination of a deposit and free spins bonuses and available for all the newly registered players.

Loyalty Bonuses and VIP Clubs

No matter if it’s a casino, a shop, or a restaurant – a good establishment always rewards its loyal customers. Online casinos are no different, which you will be able to see once you spend some significant amount of time and money playing. The prizes and benefits vary by casino and can include free spins, extra spins, match bonuses, money back, cashback, and so on.

Cashback Bonuses

Cashback bonuses are a dream come true of all gamblers – they are granted to cover your losses. Of course, it can’t be all of them, but you can expect to regularly receive a cashback bonus of 20%-30% on average.

Reload Bonuses

Reload bonuses are very similar to deposit bonuses but can only be granted to existing customers; they won’t work for newly registered players. With a reload bonus, you have some of your deposit covered by a casino – usually around 30%-40%. Often, reload bonuses are offered regularly, e.g., on a particular day of the week.


Once you’ve done your research and you have an idea of what type of slots you want to play, it’s time to start playing. All you need is a computer with an internet connection. No matter which game you choose, the registration process will be pretty much the same. Simply sign up, deposit some money, and start spinning!

Indeed, online slots are a fun way to spend your free time, and the fact that they’re accessible from anywhere in the world and on any device, makes them even more attractive. However, considering the fact that there are so many options available, it’s also important to know how to choose the best online slots to play. That’s why we’ve outlined the most important things to keep in mind above.

By following these tips and information, you will be able to make an educated decision about which casino, payment method, and game you will use to play. Using your own money instead of free spins is a big deal and deserves a lot of consideration. On the other hand, staying on top of your budget can be made much easier if you know how to choose the best online slots to play.

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