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One of the key differences between online and brick and mortar casinos is the ability to play online slot games from the comfort of your own home. We live in an age where people have less time than they ever have, meaning that getting out to a casino to play slot machines is not as accessible as it maybe once was.
The online element allows a player to log in and start playing as and when they choose. Some argue that this removes the human element to these games, but others would state that this is yet another reason why some people like it.
The development of the mobile slot game has allowed us to take this one step further and play slots whilst on the go. We talk more about this later in the article, but there is no doubt that the mobile extension has been as popular as online was.
A key point that many people overlook when looking at playing any online slots is Return To Player (RTP) percentages. These numbers are way higher online than in most casinos and in turn, offer a much better deal for the player.
To put this into some context, most slots have an RTP of between 93 to 98%. Most land games that you play will be around the 90%, but it’s fairly common to see a decent number down toward the 80%, which is a huge difference, giving the casino and incredibly high edge with these games.
Finally, the rate that new games are released means this is an exciting and constantly moving sector of an online casino. They come out weekly these days which means it never stagnates.
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One of the major developments in playing slots games over the years has been the variations in which they are now developed. Slot game types come in all shapes and sizes so it’s important to know which ones to look out for and which ones are going to best suit your eye.
Branded slots are now some of the most popular games that you can play online. These are the games that are attached to the likes of movies, TV shows, game shows, sports teams and any other brand you can think of.
You’re going to find that branded titles are a little more polished than your average video slot. There are a couple of reasons why this is.
The first is that the budget to make the slot is often higher given that they’ve got the financial backing of a successful brand behind them. This means that they can push technologies and therefore create more immersive games.
Next, branded games need to be of a certain standard as they need to be reflective of the brand. For example, if you’ve got a slot called “Jewels” which is rubbish, then people will just avoid the game and think nothing much of it. However, if the game is Monopoly, then people will associate this with the brand, devaluing it.
Video slots are what we like to refer to as the “bread and butter” of the online slots section. The majority of games that you see online are video slots.
These games often come with features such as pay lines, slots bonus rounds, side games, great graphics and even mini-games. They’ve taken the classic slot game and then applied modern-day technology to make them more immersive and more exciting to play.
Games are going to range in terms of RTP and variance, which makes them exciting for both players and developers.
Standout games include Gonzo's Quest, Starburst, Dead or Alive and Twin Spin.
The jackpot games are the big money slots. This is where you can win life-changing sums of money from just a simple spin of the wheel. As a result, they are often the most popular variety of online slot game.
There’s a lot of confusion about how these work and that’s because there are two types of jackpot games; progressive and standard.
Your standard jackpot game is one that is usually hosted by either the casino or the developer. They set up a jackpot for that game and this will be triggered when the player hits the winnings combination. Once won, the jackpot is reinstated, and the game plays out again.
A progressive jackpot slot are games that continue to rise the more players play the game. They take a small cut of every spin that is made, and this sum goes into the jackpot.
These games are the biggest jackpot games, and this is because they are often hosted by the game developer. This allows the jackpot to grow across multiple casinos via the same game, massively increasing exposure and therefore, increasing the jackpots on offer.
As a general rule, it's a good idea to play at higher paying casinos when playing these jackpot slots.
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The classic slots games are your stripped back online slots and often mimic games from a bygone era. The games have fewer pay lines, fewer features and generally have fewer winning combinations.
It may sound pretty dull, but the games are designed to remove all the “noise” that comes with video slots and allow players to enjoy the simplicity of these games for what they are. It’s worth noting that some of the classics can have the highest RTP.
Standout games include Super Nudge 6000, Break Da Bank, Double Whammy and Couch Potato.
It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to sit and trawl through thousands of online slots to see which is the best in the business right now. Who has the time?
Well, luckily for you, the team at Gambling.com have done just that and from our testing, we’ve come up with a mix of what we think are some of the best games in the business right now. The games below aren’t just all video slots either, with a nice mix to get your juices flowing.
In no particular order…
We’ve spoken a couple of times in this article about game providers and we wanted to add a little more information about that. The first thing to note is that almost all casinos get their games from 3rd party casino software providers. These companies create the games and then sell off the rights to the casinos.
There are a couple of reasons why casinos do this. The first is that it saves investing in the huge costs that come with game development and the research and development that comes with them.
The second is that it’s one less job to look after. They know they can sign an agreement, often with several developers, and then the games are ready to go within their casino.
This is now a highly competitive marketplace and there is a huge emphasis on improving existing games and coming up with new, exciting titles. It’s big money for the developers, but then, the rewards are there as well, should they succeed.
Below we’ve listed several top software companies for online slots.
Microgaming is probably the biggest both in terms of the number of games that are on offer and the number of casinos that use their platform. They cover all basis and they are one of few that are used as a standalone software developer, such is the scale of the corporation.
In terms of their best slots, the jackpot games have to be up there given they are big as you can find in the industry. Mega Moolah leads the line here. Branded games also play a huge role and they’ve been able to sign lucrative contracts with the likes of Jurassic Park, Game of Thrones and Hitman. Some of their games have been so popular they are now their own brands, including Immortal Romance, Thunderstruck and Avalon.
NetEnt is a Swedish based company that has had to work hard to get to the top of the tree. It’s been the game innovation that’s allowed them to succeed and with it have created a range of slots that are now iconic.
Two standout games from their ever-increasing back catalogue are that of Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst. The former now figureheads the NetEnt brand, whilst Starburst is recognised as one of the go-to online slots for most bonus spins offers.
Another of the big hitters is that of PlayTech. They were one of the original casino game developers back in 1999 and have been in since the ground up.
PlayTech is one of few that have been able to power whole casinos on their own, highlighting the range of games that they offer. There are a plethora of standout titles, including a huge range of branded slots. Some of these include Justice League, The Dark Knight and Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven.
Yggdrasil Gaming is one of the many success stories that you hear about within the game software sector. The company were formed back in 2013 but have been able to cement themselves as one of the best in the business.
They possibly don’t get the accolades that the bigger brands do, but the quality of games, particularly slots, is second to none. Games such as Vikings Go Wild, Vikings Go Berserk and Blood Moon Wilds are three of their marquee titles.
Play’N Go is another Scandinavian brand doing well in the online slots section. Formed in 2007, they’ve now a wealth of games at their disposal and have been able to put a precedence on making sure that RTP rates are high as they can be.
Standout games from the brand include the likes of Troll Hunters 2, Rich Wilde and the Shield of Athena and Rally 4 Riches. What’s noticeable about each of these games is that they follow an exciting story as you play, unlocking a max bonus round and features that many of their competitors don’t have.
IGT has been able to specialise in themed games, as well as branded slots over the last decade or so. The company split their work between online and live casino, creating a huge number of the slot machines that you see all over the world in brick and mortar casinos.
Online, they’ve got a massive range of slots to choose from. What’s epic about IGT is that any games that are dated or are no longer up to scratch either get refurbished or ditched. This is rare, but from a user experience perspective, something that is highly welcomed.
Standout games here include the likes of Family Guy, Ghostbuster, Baywatch, Cleopatra and Wheel of Fortune.
Novomatic may not be the first brand that you think of when it comes to software developers, but they are the oldest in this list, dating back to 1980. The company not only have a great range of online slots but also over 2,000 land-based casinos that are hosting their games.
Games wise, the Book of Ra is what they are best known for, but other games include Lord of the Ocean, Dolphin’s Perl and Sizzling Hot, each adding to a strong package that’s on offer from Novomatic.
One of the most lucrative parts of online casinos is that of the welcome offers that you’re able to access. If we are being honest, a lot of casinos are pretty similar these days, which is down to the sheer volume that there are to choose from.
To differentiate from the crowd and to lure players in, the casino will offer some sort of welcome offer, usually in the form a welcome bonus or free spins.
The amount you can claim here will depend on the casino bonus that you are eligible for. This may range in terms of the wagering requirement, the amount in your first deposit and how many deposits you want to make.
A key thing to note here is that this is very rarely just free money. A welcome bonus, for example, is bonus money that is initially handed out by the casino, but for you to then withdraw the cash, you need to meet a certain criterion in terms of gameplay. These are commonly known as wagering requirements.
When you’re given the bonus, you will then be told that you need to wager through that bonus a certain number of times before you are eligible to withdraw the money. This can be anywhere between 20x and 50x the bonus amount.
So, if you were given a bonus worth €100 and the casino asked you to wager through that bonus 20x before you can withdraw, you would need to place €2000 worth of wagers (20 x €100) before that cash was technically yours to use as you wish.
You will also find that games will be limited when it comes to wagering. This might mean that only a percentage of ever €1 you wager will count towards this clearing rate. However, with online slots, almost all bonuses will be targeted towards these games and they usually come with a 100% contribution.
Other things to look out for include the amount of time you have to clear the bonus before it expires, the games that you can play to clear the said bonus, if the clearance rate is just for the bonus amount or the bonus and deposit amount and which deposit methods will be eligible to claim the offer.
Free spins are a little more straightforward than most slots bonuses. The casino will give you bonus spins for certain slots and then any winnings you get from this, you can usually keep.
Limitations from this offer generally include things like the maximum stake per spin, number of spins allowed and the games that you’re able to use your free spins on.
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The aim of the game for any casino bonus is to find the one with the lowest wagering requirements for their bonus. These are the ones that give the players the most chance of getting money out of the casino within a reasonable timescale.
Before you start looking at a casino, you first need to work out a plausible figure that you’re able to reach in terms of the deposit amount and how much you’re expecting to play. A good timeframe to work on for this is 30 days, given that most offers expire after this time. However, weekly amounts are useful as well, with some casinos giving less than 30 days to clear.
If you are new to online slots, then this is going to be tough to know straight off the bat. It’s for this reason that you need to find the smallest wagering amount over the longest period.
You could argue that this what you need to look for with each bonus, but sometimes the bigger offers are less user friendly, but still not out of reach.
To plan for this, decide what you want to deposit into your account and then a rough amount that you want to wager each week. Remember, this isn’t just the amount that you will win or lose as games will balance out the more you play.
Once you have a rough idea, it’s time to bonus hunt. Check for the casinos that have a high deposit amount, a long clearance time-frame and a low wagering amount.
What are good numbers, we hear you ask?
Well, any timeframe over 30 days is pretty good for a casino bonus. Any bonus that is a 100% match or better is good value and you can target money worth €100 or more for this.
The amount wagered is a key area to check. Anywhere around the 30x mark is good and lower is really good. However, it’s key that you find out if this number includes both your deposit and your bonus, or just one of these. You want to avoid casino bonuses that include both as it’s twice as much money that you need to clear to get your bonus.
Finally, you need to check the games that contribute to clearing the bonus. Most have slots as a 100% contribution, but it’s worth checking, just to make sure.
Lots of game developers and casinos offer free games that you’re able to play online. They were originally designed to be a “try before you buy” type of deal and it was something that we would recommend most new players to utilise.
These types of games or demo play features are still about, but it’s worth noting that players from Ireland won’t be able to access them. The reason is that they’ve been banned by the UK Gambling Commission who’s deemed they are too accessible for problem gamblers.
As a result, UK players no longer have access to these free slots online. It’s worth noting that if you are from the UK and you do get access to them then you need to be questioning the integrity of the casino and that they will be going against regulations from their licensee to do this.
Those of you outside of the UK, such as Ireland, will still be able to continue playing slots for free. We also still recommend that if you can get access, to use them and learn how a certain slots game will work in terms of pay lines and bonus offer features.
As the world slowly moves away from online and towards mobile, casino games are now starting to follow suit. Lots of games are now developed with a mobile-first approach in mind, meaning that they are designed for the smaller screen and then adapted to online.
However, of the thousands of games that are live across hundreds of online casinos, the majority of these games are designed for the online platform. To allow for the mass migration of these games, a platform called HTML 5 was created.
Without getting too technical for you, HTML 5 is a coding platform that has allowed websites, games, casinos and now slots to be fluid between online and mobile devices. It means that a program can be developed on this platform and accessed on a multitude of devices.
All this means that a slots player is now able to play games on iOS, Android, Windows mobile and any other mobile platform. The games, for the most part, have been beautifully moved across and can render to fit any screen size or resolution.
As a slot player, you’ve got several ways that you can access these mobile casino games games. The most common is downloading the casino's dedicated mobile app and the alternative is to access via your smartphone, which gives a mobile-friendly version of the casino.
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Slots tournaments are a relatively new feature to online casino games, and they are one that is still very much undervalued from within the community. The concept is as the name suggests, a tournament of online slots, rewarding players for being able to play through a set amount of coins in the fastest time.
Even though the concept sounds easy, it’s harder than it looks, which in turn adds a bit of skill to the games. There are also variations in terms of the games, prize pool and timeframe of each of the Casino Tournament that you can enter.
The number of casinos that are including this game type is growing in Ireland. Mr Green is one of the biggest and best. A typical example of how this would work comes in the form of their Reel Thrill Slots Tournaments.
To enter this all you need to do is play on the Reel Thrill games playing any real money slots from within the series. Once in, the game will then take your percentage of profit from your 20 spins and then combine this into a score. Whilst playing you can see the live leader board and the winner after 20 extra spins will be the player with the highest number of points.
The game will reset every 15 minutes and you are free to come and go as you wish. The top 5 places on the leader board will then be eligible for a cash prize, which will be applied straight to their account.
Mr Green isn’t the only casino that’s offering these game types. Others include Unibet, BGO, 32Red, Paddy Power, William Hill and many more.
The games often differ based on the number of spins that can be made within a certain timeframe or, like the example above, the highest percentage won by an individual player. They use percentage to allow players of all bankrolls to enter here and keep it one a level playing field.
Prizes are also going to vary. Some of the bigger tournaments can include things cruises, 5* holidays, gadgets, cars, latest tech, bonuses, cash and even free spins. You will find they are used to promote new games into the casino and get a bit of buzz created around it.
If you only look for one stat from an online slot, make sure it’s the games payout percentage. This is often referred to in the industry as the RTP (Return to Player).
In layman’s terms, this is the amount of money that is paid out per €1 that is invested. So, if you put €1 into a slot machine with a 97% RTP, then you can expect to get 97p of that €1 back.
As you can imagine, things aren’t as straight forward as that and we need to take into consideration variance. This means that events occur that are contrary to the mathematical route.
For example, the odds of flipping a coin are 50% chance for heads and 50% chance for tails. But, the possibility of flipping heads 10 times in a row is very plausible given it’s a low sample size. The more you flip, the more even the results will be, thus reducing the variance for that bet.
Slots work in much the same way. If for every single €1 we entered to the slot we only got back 97p, then no one would ever play. People play for the variance in the hope to run good and win more than they invested.
As a player, we want to be looking to take the highest RTP possible. Most only slots range somewhere between 92% and 98% RTP. The higher the RTP, the more it’s going to give back to the player.
Some online slots allow you to change variables in the game, which in turn affect the RTP for that game. Things like the pay lines and even the stakes can change a games RTP. This is a perfectly legal feature.
At Gambling.com we include the RTP for every slot and progressive slot that we review. This is such an important stat that it’s imperative we do not leave it out and you, as the player, are aware of the style of game you are playing.
Just as a final note on this, the lower RTP games don’t always mean they are poor games. It means they offer a different game style than other slots, which is why so many of them differ.
If you looked at progressive jackpot games, these are commonly around the 93% RTP mark, which is low. However, they are the only games that allow you to will millions of pounds, which is the trade-off that comes with these games. Higher payout casinos are always more preferable to play at when taking into account the huge figures up for grabs.
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*Casino payout rates are subject to change and provided by the operator via their own websites, they are correct at the time of publish and will be updated from time to time.
Online slots sites have come a long way over the last decade or so and one of the biggest innovations has been the number of ways that you can get your money in, and most importantly, out of the casino.
We are relatively lucky in that the typical Irish Slot Site covers the major payment providers such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Apple Pay and even bank transfer. However, it is worth noting that credit card payments are now banned for UK residents and also banned from UK-facing casinos.
Choosing your payment provider is never an easy task. There are lots to choose from and each has its pros and cons.
A good bit of advice that we like to offer is to keep a separate payment account for your online slots play from your main bank account. This means that you can track any transactions easily, but also move about from casino to casino chasing the best games and promotions from one single account. Any payments in and out are all gambling based and it’s a great way to perform proper bankroll management.
Payment methods are usually broken down into several categories.
The first of those is that of bank cards. These come in the form of Visa, MasterCard and Maestro. Pretty much all slots sites will accept one or all of these banking methods and they rarely come with any fees attached. Deposits will be processed instantly, and withdrawals can take between 1 to 5 working days.
These have become increasingly popular for gambling as it’s usually the fastest way to get money out. Withdrawals can be back into your account within 24 hours and most come with an account card attached meaning that you can jump to an ATM and get your cash immediately if you need to.
Bank transfer is often used for payments that are large or when you need to wire money to and from a casino. These take the longest to process as they need to be accepted by the casino and the bank, but they are often the safest method for large payments.
There are a series of other payment methods that you can access as well. These include:
All slots will come with dedicated rules that are applied to that game. They should be easy to follow and highlight things like winnings combinations, paylines and multipliers.
The biggest progressive jackpots are the likes of Mega Moolah, Major Millions and Arabian Nights. Each consistently has jackpots over €1million and above.
We have all the latest slots listed as they come out. We also offer a list of new slot sites that you can claim a bonus from when you join.
RNG stands for Random Number Generator. This randomly creates an algorithm of which then proceeds the symbols being drawn for that slot. This is a process that is governed and tested by the relevant Gambling Commission and is highly trustworthy.
There is no single slots site that offers the best payouts. This will depend on the games that you are playing which can span across multiple sites.
Yes, you can win. You will need to have some luck, but it’s very possible to win huge sums of money from online slots.
The best way is to read our reviews on Gambling.com. Each game is different, and our reviews will be able to highlight the game and online slot site that best suits you.
Not in Ireland, unfortunately. However, this feature is still accessible for a slots player outside of Ireland on casinos that have this feature.
You need to make sure that the casino you are playing on is fully licensed by the relevant Gambling Commission. Game safety is one of their highest priorities and as a result, are most definitely not rigged.
Apply bankroll management and target games with a higher RTP.
Yes. Almost all online casinos have a mobile version, be it a downloadable app or a mobile version of their online platform.
You can find these offers throughout our site at Gambling.com. However, they are rare, so the chance to start with an online casino with bonus funds doesn’t pop up all that often.
No, free spins are almost always limited to a single game, as highlighted by the casino. Starburst is often a popular one for these types of offers.
Slot volatility reflects the number of times a slot pays out and the multipliers on their wins. A highly volatile slot pays out big, but less often than a lower volatile slot, paying smaller, but more often.
Yes, all the top slots are fully licensed and regulated in Ireland.
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