Online Slot Terminology – What You Should Know

We’re going to explain to you some of the most basic concepts of online casino games so you can get a better understanding of the concepts that you might encounter while browsing for a slot to play. We know that finding the perfect online slot is a difficult task, but if you use these tips and understand all of these concepts, you’re likely going to have a productive time searching for it.

RTP – House Edge

The RTP, otherwise known as the “return-to-player” rate, is the amount of money that you can expect to get back, on average, from an online slot game. In fact, RTP is a term used to describe the expected return rates of most online casino games.

RTP is always presented as a percentage, and the average RTP varies depending on the type of game that you’re playing. Most online slots that have a good RTP often border the 96% or higher, whilst games under 94% tend to be mostly jackpot slots and the likes. In any case, the House Edge is the percentage that remains between 100% and whichever the RTP is. For example, let’s say that an online casino slot has an RTP of 97.50%, In that case, the house edge of that slot would be 2.50%. In short, the house edge is the advantage that the casino has over the player. In the previous example that we used, out of $100 that you bet, the online casino is expected to keep $2.50. This doesn’t mean that it’s what will always happen, as many players are able to make large profits from online casino games, but it’s what happens on average. You can lose or win more – it’s up to you and your own luck!


Wilds, much like in many card games, are symbols that act as replacers of any other symbol in the game, which allows you to form bigger streaks. Getting wilds is the best way to chain up crazy combos, and there are also many types of wilds that could give you some absolutely amazing rewards. Stacked wilds, for example, mean that you will get a full column filled with the same wild symbol. This allows 5-reel slots to be much easier to win, and you can chain some incredible wins with each other. Place a large bet in one round where you land wilds and you’ll be all set to claim some of the juiciest online casino rewards that can be obtained in a single spin of a slot game. Most modern online slots tend to have wilds in one form or another. Traditional “reel” slots offer wilds in most cases, while variations of slots where the symbols break and new columns appear each spin are also commonly known to have wilds. These symbols weren’t common back when slots first came to prominence, but they did start appearing more often when video slots became more popular. It was hard to program them on older machines, but the introduction of online slots allowed them to flourish.


Scatters are not too different from wilds in the sense that they give you a metric ton of rewards is you manage to land three or more in a single spin. As the name suggests, scatters are symbols that get activated even when they are scattered across the screen. For example, let’s say that you get a scatter symbol on the third reel, one on the first reel, and one of the fifth real on a 5-reel game. In that case, the scatters activate and you will be duly rewarded depending on what the game’s bonuses are. Scatters are fantastic because they are different in each game. Depending on the slot that you’re playing scatters trigger different rewards. Some scatters give you access to additional free spins, while others activate mini-games where you can claim rewards that range from free spins to free cash for your casino account! Much like wilds, though, scatters came to prominence during the era of video slots. We can’t even imagine what could’ve been like to have scatter symbols back in the days of traditional slot gambling!

Free Spins

Free spins are often given to players when they register on an online casino or when they make a deposit. Free spins allow you to play certain slots for free. However, many modern online slots also give players the chance to use free spins in-game, which means that you can earn free spins and use them right there, mid-game! Free spins are often won thanks to minigames or bonus rounds, or by managing to trigger a special bonus when connecting various scatters. In-game free spins, unlike bonus free spins given by deposits, are not subjected to any sort of wagering requirement. That means that the free spins that you obtain will generate money in your favorite online slot and that money will belong to you from the minute you obtain it. Free spins are extremely popular in the modern online casino industry, as they allow players to experience stress-free rounds in their favorite games. What’s better than winning a jackpot without spending a dime, for example, and then walking away with a fortune?!

Bonus Rounds - Minigames

Bonus rounds can be triggered in a variety of ways, but they are also super popular among modern online casino players because they allow you to experience something that differs from the norm of the game. If you’re playing a traditional online slot, then a bonus round might allow you to enter a different “area” within the game, upon which you’ll be presented with various prizes or rewards. You can also find special bonus rounds that get triggered by getting various free spins in a row, or by connecting scatters. In short, winning bonus rounds can be very similar to winning free spins, but it depends on what the conditions are on each game. There are games that specifically revolve around you winning bonus rounds, where you can encounter huge jackpots that are randomly triggered. These games often have lower RTP rates and higher volatility, but they tend to be much more fun to play than the average online slot. If you like variety, look for games with bonus rounds and special bonuses!

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Last updated  May 24, 2022
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Chief Content Writer


Chief Content Writer

Marco holds the title as Chief Content Writer and has a Mass Communications Major with a Specialization in Digital Marketing. He's an experienced casino writer with more than half a decade of gambling-related work on his back. He took a keen interest in gambling as a young adult and started writing expert content for the casino and sports betting niche in 2015. Now, he specializes in online slots, table games, and sports betting – producing well-researched content on all fronts of the iGaming world. He's also a regular contributor to Quora, where you can ask him anything related to online gambling and he’ll happily answer!

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