The most popular gambling games today are without a doubt slots. They are fun and easy to play with little or no skills involved. There is no need to pick up skills and strategy, just some good ol’ luck will do.
Here are some interesting facts about online slots:
- First online slot for real money play was launched: 1994
- Slots make up over 80% of games offered at online casinos
- Number of slots software providers: Over 60
- Biggest win on a progressive slot online: €17,879,645 on the Mega Moolah slot from Microgaming on 6th October 2015 by Jon Heywood of the UK
- Total number of online slots currently available: Over 3000
- Number of slots released monthly: 10
Top Slots Casinos and Bonuses for African Players
We have listed out for you the top slots casinos for African players and also the bonuses you get when you sign up with them. This list is automatically updated depending on your location.
Online Casino Software Providers: The Power behind the Slots
Almost every major software provider offers slots; however, not all software providers offer games to casinos available to players from Africa. In this section we take a quick look at the software providers behind the slots.
You can categorize all software providers offering slots under 3 major entities:
- Traditional land-based slots manufacturers: These are the companies that supplied the land-based casino industry before the online casino emerged. Over time, they have diversified to include online casinos and you find the games from a number of them in the casinos on our list. Some of the big names in this category are:
- Bally Technologies
- Williams Interactive
- Online casino pioneers: These are companies that have directly been supplying games to the online casino industry right from the time it was born in 1994. The first and biggest name in this category is of course Microgaming, which was launched the same year as the launch of the first online casino. Other names in this list include:
- Real Time Gaming
- Niche slot developers: In recent times – may be a little more than the last 10 years – there has emerged a new breed of online casino software developers. Their approach is to target niche areas of the market, one of which of course is slots. Some names in this category are:
- BetSoft Gaming
- Rival Gaming
- Yggdrasil Gaming
- Elk Studios
- 2 by 2 Gaming
- High 5 Games
- NextGen Gaming
- Play’n Go
- Blueprint Gaming
Types of Online Slots
All online slots can be categorized into the following types:
- Classic slots
- Video slots
- Progressive slots
- Branded slots
- Bonus feature slots
- Free spins slots
- Penny slots
These slots have a classic look and feel, like the games of old that can still be found at land-based casinos. They typically come with 3 reels and are fun to play.
Game play is basic; there are no cool features like Autoplay, for instance. The symbols are repetitive and limited too and include usually the number 7, different fruits, bells, the word BAR, and a wild symbol. That is why these slots are very easy to identify. Some of them may have a bonus round, or even a jackpot. There are classic slots with a progressive jackpot too.
These evolved from the original slots and today comprise the largest percentile of games at an online casino. They usually have 5 reels and multiple paylines. There are different kinds of video slots available today. Video slots are rich in features: there are high quality graphics and animations – games from providers like BetSoft Gaming, for instance, have 3D graphics, excellent sound effects, wild symbols, scatter symbols, multipliers, bonus rounds, free spins, and even progressive jackpots. The RTP value is quite high, going over the 98%-mark in a number of them.
As the name suggests, they have a progressive jackpot attached to them. A number of these slots require you to bet maximum to be able to trigger the progressive jackpot. There are different kinds of progressive slots:
- Standalone progressive slots: These stand by themselves and are not connected to any other machines at the casino. Jackpot build-up is slower as the only contributions are from players playing that machine. Therefore the amounts you win with these is not life-changing.
- Network progressive slots: They are connected to other similar machines across casinos. The jackpot grows through contributions from all players playing the different connected machines at all the casinos. It therefore grows big really fast and hitting one of these can give you a multi-million dollar payout.
A number of casino software providers have entered into collaborations with major companies from the world of entertainment and comic books to create slots that are branded and themed on different shows, characters, games, and more that are the hallmark of the collaborating entities. These slots allows you to connect directly to the superhero or game show that was your favorite and elevate the value of the software provider.
We list for you a few top software providers who have collaborated with some of the big names of the comic book and entertainment industries.
- NetEnt: One of the biggest names when it comes to online casino software, NetEnt has collaborated with 3 Hollywood bigwigs – UniversalTM, 20th Century FoxTM, and South Park Digital StudiosTM. The result of these collaborations has been magnificent slots of the caliber of AliensTM, Guns ‘n Roses, Motorhead, Jimi Hendrix, the South Park series, and more.
- Playtech: Playtech is currently the largest gaming supplier to trade publicly on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It was the first casino software to sign an agreement with Marvel Comics for the purpose of re-creating the Marvel superheroes in the online slot universe. The result was some outstanding slots based on the different Marvel superheroes, including:
- The Incredible Hulk
- The Iron Man series
- The Avengers
- Fantastic Four
Unfortunately, that agreement has been annulled as of 1st April, 2017. But it is in talks with DC Comics to use their superheroes in their slots, from film and television. Likely releases include Suicide Squad and Batman.
It has also tied up with some major Hollywood studios to bring to you outstanding games like Rocky and Gladiator, among many others.
- Microgaming: Microgaming has been at the forefront of casino software development from the time it was established in 1994. It is therefore only natural to expect collaborations with big names in the entertainment industry from this pioneer. It has to its credit some high quality slots thanks to its association with Universal Brand Development and others. Some of them are:
- Hit Man: One of the early branded slots from Microgaming.
- Jurassic Park: Based on the blockbuster Hollywood movie.
- Lara Croft – Tomb Raider: Another outstanding slot based on the Hollywood production of the same name.
- Game of Thrones: Based on the outstanding TV series from HBO.
- Bridesmaids: Based on the Hollywood hit.
- Bullseye: Based on the TV show hosted by Jim Bowen.
- Novomatic: Novomatic is another casino software provider that has collaborated with leaders of parallel industries to release some outstanding slots. Its branding deal with London’s GVC Holdings allows it provide 70 games from GreenTube on GVC’s poker and casino websites – PartyPoker, Bwin, PartyCasino, and Gamebookers.
Bonus feature slots
These are a slots with additional bonus features apart from the standard wild substitutions, multipliers, and free spins. The bonus features could be any of the following:
- Gamble feature: This feature is found in slots from Microgaming and a couple of other providers. You get to try and double your wins from a particular hand. If you fail you lose whatever you won in that hand.
- Bonuses based on reels: These are bonuses that allow multiple wins on a single spin. Different reel-based bonuses include cascading reels, tumbling reels, avalanche reels, rotating reels, and more.
- Win both ways: These games give you wins regardless of which side the symbols in the winning combination start off from, left or right.
- 243 ways to win: These games guarantee wins when 3 matching symbols land on the reels irrespective of which direction they start from.
- 1024 ways to win: The mechanism is the same as the 243 ways to win games. The wins are not solely on active paylines; instead, the system allows for wins to happen on any symbol combination, from left to right.
Apart from all these there are also bonuses that come in the form of special rounds or games within the base game. These include a spin the wheel bonus and pick-me-up rounds, among others.
These are slots that have a minimal wager amount of a penny. They are very popular because of the minimal betting limit. A decent bankroll can last you really long and a loss will not hurt generally. On the flip side, you will always win small and you run the risk of losing more than you win over time, especially if you are playing Max Bets all the time.
How To Read a Slots Paytable
Every online slot has a paytable that gives you details about the payouts. It lists out the different positions where the symbols land on the reels for a winning combination and also the payouts for each of these combinations.
Before you start playing, always go through the paytable carefully. You can click the ‘I’ button at the bottom left of the screen – that position depends on the software provider offering the slot – to get the game and paytable details. The paytable is the last entry in that list usually. Take a look at the paytable below.
The different bits of information on the paytable include the following:
- Data on the reel positions where the symbols must land to trigger a payout.
- The payline itself. It is shown as a line – straight or jagged – that shoots right across the different symbols on the reels with the winning combination.
- Payout possibilities for each payline. The standard way is for symbols to be present right under the payline.
Conventional rule of thumb states that the first symbol of the winning combination should be on the first reel. It is usually on the first reel at the left except for special cases. The rules for payouts to happen are also listed on the same screen as the one showing the paytable.
Winning at Online Slots
When it comes to winning at slots, there is unfortunately no magic formula. Strategy is also of no use as it is a game of chance. However, there are a few basic things you can do right to ensure you do not lose too frequently:
- Study the game before playing it.
- Target slots that are loose.
- Zero in on games and casinos that offer good bonus deals.
- Approach this like a business; you then have ROI to look forward to and plan for.
- Manage your bankroll well by betting reasonably.
- Establish a betting pattern that leaves you with a decent amount of money in your kitty.
- Learn when to say no and walk away; regardless of whether you are winning or losing.
Apart from the extensive list of tips mentioned above, here are 5 things you can do for a good slot experience as a beginner:
- Pick the right game.
- Get access to the casino’s VIP club for more bonuses and freebies.
- Be patient, because patience pays.
- Bet safe and play smart.
- Avoid gambling debt; don’t play if you don’t have money.
Some Slots FAQs
Since the online casino came about in around 1994, it is only logical to assume that the first online slot too was launched just then! Slots themselves have a long history: check out the section on the history of online slots for more information.
Slots are games of chance and strategy doesn’t work with them. The best you can do is take steps to minimize your losses:
- Choose the right slot.
- Don’t play with credit.
- Read and understand the paytable.
- Play reasonably.
- Manage your bankroll properly.
- Learn to say no.
In the early days the download option was better as it had the entire game range unlike the instant play option. Today there is no difference between the two. More and more providers – a good example is NetEnt – are shifting to the no download option.
What can you tell me about mobile slots? How different are they from online slots in terms of play experience?
Mobile slots are the latest development in the software industry and are set to revolutionize casino game play. They allow you to play directly from your mobile device wherever you are, on the go. That makes for a truly personalized experience, unlike online slots. However, there are a few advantages with the online slots, the biggest being the game range – online slots have far larger offerings than their mobile counterparts.
The RTP or Return to Player is a value that helps determine the amount of money you can win back over time from the total wagers placed. It is provided as a percentage value and is directly related and inversely proportional to the house edge – the higher the RTP the lower the house edge. A slot with a 97% RTP would therefore have a house edge of 3%.
There are 2 major differences between the two that we can list for you:
- Difference in the overall play experience – anytime and anywhere for mobile slots compared to the play from computer or laptop for your designed slot.
- Higher game range for online slots.
Unlike other games that need skill, slots do not have any specific rules pertaining to game play. Any rules that are there are related to the way wins occur. Almost all slots barring a few – the both-ways-win games – register wins only on combinations that materialize from the left of the screen to the right.
Both the kinds of slots – land-based as well as online – are good in their own way. Land-based slots are much older and have their own benefits and downsides – a major one being that you have to travel to where the slots are to play them. Online slots allow you to play from the comfort of your home and offer huge bonuses and incentives. While they are fair and reliable because of the RNGs, on the downside the same RNG usage makes them very mechanized and lacking the human touch.