Online Slots: A Complete Guide to US Slots Online

When Slots Guys launched all those years ago, the site began with a love of slots row at brick-and-mortar casinos. We still love to walk the gaming floor at land-based casinos, soaking in the neon light and finding new slot games. Our love of slots has expanded over the years, though. We have added a deep appreciation of online slots in all their forms.

It is an expansive subject, and one our readers ask us about often. Today, we launch a new section on Slots Guy dedicated to finding and rating the best online slots. Over time, we’ll post articles about the best real money slots online, the top free slots, and where you can play Vegas slots online. This will be a huge project, but we are excited about our online slots guide.

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Online Slots Real Money Guide

Most players visiting our site want to know about real money online slots. For that reason, we are building a near-comprehensive online slots real money guide. Because tens of thousands of online slots exist and more appear each month, no guide to online slots will ever be complete.

Still, we’re devoting our substantial resources to reviewing the best real money slots on the internet. As the months and years pass, we’ll continue to post our honest slot reviews. For the time being, we have published pages with collections of online slot mini-reviews. These include tables of the best games by return-to-player and jackpot size.

That should give readers a start. As mentioned above, the subject of real money slots is a broad one with many categories.

Vegas Slots Online

One of those categories is the famous Las Vegas slots and where they’re available online. Often, the answer is that the land-based Las Vegas slot machines don’t have an online counterpart. If you want to play MegaBucks online, you won’t be able to do it. IGT slots exist online, but not all of them.

Because of the severe limits of Nevada online casino gambling, a game like MegaBucks cannot exist online (for now). Only one licensed online casino exists in Nevada, so you can’t have a wide-area progressive online slot at one site.

Of course, IGT services online casino operators in 5 other states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Delaware. Even there, you will not find MegaBucks slots online. Instead, you can play many other famous IGT slots: games like Cleopatra, Da Vinci Diamonds, Red White & Blue, Siberian Storm, and Crazy Wizard.

Notice that we mentioned only 5 states with legal online casinos. IGT, Aristocrat, WMS, Bally, and Konami don’t supply online slots to casino sites in other states. In the other US states, the best you can do is find real money online slots that mimic Las Vegas slot machines. We’ve provided our conversion for players on our page titled “Vegas Slots Online“.

Best Online Slots

That’s one sub-category, but not the most important one for most online players. Most gamblers want information on the best online slots. While it would seem easy to find and list the top games, it’s a subjective topic from a player’s perspective.

Some players prefer online slots with the biggest jackpots. Others take the opposite view, preferring the games with the best return-to-player (RTP) percentage. Often, the games with the biggest jackpots have the lowest RTP, while the games with the highest RTP have small fixed jackpots.

Best Slots with Free Spins and Multipliers

Still, other players consider games with the best features as the best slots online. For instance, they might prefer a game with dozens of free spins and high multipliers.

Pragmatic Play’s Sugar Rush Slots and Gates of Olympus Slots come to mind. So do SC Digital’s (Scientific Games) Monopoly 250K Slot or High 5 Game’s Banana Splits Slot. That is why IGT’s Da Vinci Diamonds and Lobstermania 2 are so popular, and why Family Guy Slots from IGT is so underrated. It is also why Bierhaus Slots from WMG Gaming makes so many “Best of” slots lists.

It goes without saying that some players rate online slots by their 3D graphics or theme. Maybe they like slots that are pirated-themed, Egyptian-themed, or Norse-themed. Or maybe they prefer licensed slots, such as the aforementioned The Family Guy Slot. In short, slots with the biggest jackpots are not always the best in many players’ minds.

Free Slots

Of course, free online slots are another subject altogether. One of the ways online slots far surpass brick-and-mortar slot machines is the ability to offer free versions of the game. Las Vegas casino operators spend billions to build a fancy hotel and a casino. They hire famous performers to put on shows and arrange with top restaurant and retail brands to put shops on their integrated resort’s premises.

These same casinos hire thousands of employees to staff their resorts. For sure, they must hire dealers, waitresses, cooks, cleaners, slot attendants, and repairmen. They hire pit bosses, security staff, accountants, and managers. It is a huge operation, so land-based casinos do not offer free play on their slot machines. Free slot games are not feasible.

Online Casinos with Free Slots

Online casinos have a much lower overhead. They have support staff and live chat representatives, but the games are handled with software and RNGs. Even their live dealer games have a relatively small staff. The casino software is licensed, so the site can offer free-play versions of online slots for promotional reasons.

The idea is simple. Let a visitor play online slots for free, hoping they enjoy the game but want bigger thrills. If that same player opens an account, makes a small deposit, and plays slots for real money, it’s a positive. If the player makes a huge deposit and plays for high stakes, it’s even better. Free online slots act as an advertisement for the casino.

Due to the competition for customers, any legit online casino offers a free version of their slots. That’s only one way you can play online slots for free (though it’s the best way). If you prefer, you can play free slots at social gaming sites, on social media apps, at sweepstakes casinos, tutorial sites, and even review sites like Slots Guy. Free slots are everywhere on the internet.

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The Best Online Casinos for Slots

Speaking of the best online casinos for free slots, we’ll also review the best online casinos for US slot players. In doing so, we seek online casinos with several distinct features:

  • US-Friendly: It accepts US players from all 50 states.
  • Lots of Slots: We hope for 200 to 400 online slots apiece, but more is better.
  • Multiple Slot Providers: One good slot developer is nice, but multiple excellent providers is the best.
  • Big Welcome Bonuses: New depositors should get lucrative bonuses with fair terms and wagering requirements.
  • Daily and Weekly Promotions: The reload bonuses should be top-notch, too.
  • Free Spin Offers: Since we talk about slots, casino sites should offer free spin bonuses.
  • Many Banking Options: The site should support deposits and withdrawals with credit cards, debit cards, web wallets, and crypto methods.
  • Great Customer Service: Help from a support staff who are friendly, knowledgeable, and available 24 hours a day.
  • More Slots, Please: Since these are slot casinos, they should offer free slot versions of all the real money slots.

Online Slots for Real Money

If you’re going to play online slots for real money, you need to create an account at an online casino. People can play at free slot sites, but gaming at social gaming sites does not give the same thrills as real money play.

Picking a top US online slot casino is an important first step, so players must get this decision right. As you pick a real money online slot casino, here are the factors you should consider.

What a Top US Slots Casino Offers You

When evaluating US online slot casinos, keep in mind the four factors below. While a player’s evaluations should involve other criteria, these are the factors at the top of the mind of most other US online casinos.

Hundreds of Online Slots

First, players want a huge range of slot games. They should have dozens of 3-reel classics and hundreds of 5-reel video slots. Of course, their online slots list should include a few licensed slots and a dozen or more progressive slots. All of these should be online slots for real money but also should be playable as free slots.

The Best Slots Software

Second, the best online slot casinos should have multiple software providers. Of course, the live dealer games provider will be different, but that’s not enough. One might offer the lion’s share of the slots and table games, but they should also have a few other companies to give players plenty of themes, features, and jackpot types. The platform should have SSL encryption to keep your private information safe and secure.

Great Welcome Bonuses

Third, reputable casinos must offer a generous welcome bonus. In fact, they should have a lucrative bonus for credit card users and an even better welcome bonus for crypto users. At the same time, the bonuses’ terms and conditions should be fair, attainable, and easy to grasp. Beyond that, good slot casinos should feature lots of reload bonuses and a few weekly bonuses. Also, the VIP rewards program should offer free cash, free spins, and other rewards.

All-Around Slot Playing Experience

That’s the bare minimum. Fourth, if sites have lots of slot games, several reputable software providers, and excellent bonus promotions, they make our shortlist of top casinos. To be singled out, they must have far more than that. The best US real money online slot casinos must have the payment methods Americans love, friendly and helpful customer support, and live chat to help players 24 hours a day.

The Best Rated Real Money Online Slots in the USA

Part of the fun of online slots is finding your own favorites. That being said, we help readers start their search by giving our picks for the best slots in each category. Read our picks and start playing slots for real money today.

Slot Title Provider Winner by Category
Megasaur RTG Best US Progressive Slot
Mega Moolah Microgaming Best Online Slots Jackpot
Dead or Alive NetEnt Best Bonus Round: 3 Free Spin Games
Rick & Morty Megaways Blueprint Gaming Best Licensed Online Slot
Starburst Slots NetEnt Best Slot for Beginners
Cosmic Quest: Mystery Planets Rival Gaming Best Return to Player (98.95%)
Break Da Bank Microgaming Best 3-Reel Online Slot
Dead or Alive NetEnt Best 5-Reel Online Slots
Zeus 1000 Slots WMS Best Multiple Payline Slot (100 Lines)
Buffalo Slots Aristocrat Best “Ways to Win” Slot
Rags to Riches Betsoft Best Halloween-Themed Slot
Rudolph’s Revenge RTG Best Christmas-Themed Slot

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The Various Types of Slot Machines

Players will find many types of online slots for real money. The list below might not include every type of slot machine, but it’s an overview of over 99% of the slot games you’ll ever play.

Three-Reel Slots

The original slot machines, due to the limits of mechanical slot reels. In the era of electronic slots, 3-reel classics still have smaller fixed jackpots and a higher RTP than the average 5-reel slot.

Five-Reel Slots

Certainly, 5-reel slots are the majority of land-based slots and online slots these days. Because they have more reels, they can have bigger jackpots. 5-reel video slots tend to have lots of game features, bonus games, and multipliers.

Multi-Payline Slots

Common among both 3-reel slots and 5-reel slots these days, these increase the number of winning combinations — but also the cost of playing. Multiple payline slots range from 3-payline to 100-payline slots. Common numbers include 9-reel, 15-reel, 20-reel, 25-reel, 30-reel, and 50-reel slots.

Ways to Win Slots

These slots get rid of paylines but use other winning combinations. The first of the “Ways” slots had 243 ways to win, but these also include 1028 ways to win slots (and other combinations).

Video Slots

In online casino gaming, video slots are the standard game. Video slots have lots of features, fun themes, and interesting music. More importantly, they have interactive bonuses, cool soundbites, and cut scenes before the bonus games.

3D Slots

In short, slot machines have cinematic 3D graphics. These were solid enough when they used Flash and Java, but are much more innovative and mobile-friendly now that HTML5 slots exist.

Licensed Slots

In brief, online slots are based on a pop culture franchise. In fact, licensed slots are based on movies, tv shows, game shows, board games, comic books, and musical acts. Because a company must agree on a license with the intellectual property owner, they are called licensed slots.

Fixed Jackpot Slots

Also called flat-top slots, these are games with a fixed jackpot. These tend to be smaller than progressive slots but can range into tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s especially true when the bonus game combines free spins with multipliers.

Progressive Slots

Progressive jackpots grow until the grand prize hits. A small part of each bet that doesn’t trigger the jackpot adds to the accumulated jackpot. Can be local-area, random, or wide-area jackpots. These can range from a few hundred dollars for mini-jackpots to millions of dollars for wide-area progressive jackpots.

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Slots Glossary

Before you play, here are a few online slot terms that you’ll want to know.

Slot Term Definition
Bonus Game Often called bonus mode, it’s a game-within-a-game that doesn’t follow the main rules. For example, it might have free spins or interactive games.
Free Spins Often called free games, these are spins that don’t require you to pay money. Commonly, free spins are part of a bonus game.
House Edge The casino’s built-in advantage. It’s how the casino stays in business. The smaller the house edge, the better for the player.
Jackpot The biggest prize in the game.
Multiplier A feature that multiplies the coins won. A 3x multiplier increases the payout by a factor of three.
Paylines Winning combinations according to the slot’s pay table. Slots might have 1 payline, 9 paylines, or 100 paylines.
Reel Symbols The colorful icons found on a 3-reel or 5-reel grid. When these combine in the correct pattern, they unlock wins.
RNG Short for a random number generator, it is the computer software that randomly determines the results of a spin.
Return to Player Also called RTP, it’s the expected return or payout percentage. The higher the RTP, the better for the slot player.
Scatter Pays A symbol that triggers random jackpots. Usually, they appear randomly on the reels.
Scatter Symbols A symbol that triggers a bonus game. Usually, they appear randomly on the reels.
Spin That is, the button you hit to start the next round of play.
Ways to Win Winning combinations that aren’t based on paylines. Often either 243 ways to win or 1028 ways to win.
Wild Symbols A symbol that substitutes for any other reel symbol to make winning combinations (except scatters).

Online Casino Slots: Real Money Features

Now that you have an overview of slots, you should know about game features that make real money online slots worth playing. In this case, “features” means a special rule that gives players an in-game advantage. Therefore, a feature might multiply your winnings, offer free games without risking your bankroll, or unlock bonus cash. Because players love these features, slot specs list which features a game has. To illustrate, here are the best game features on real money slots.

Bonus Game

Most slots have a bonus game. Games with scatter symbols have a bonus mode because they unlock the bonuses. In these games, you receive bonus coins without risking cash. In addition, multipliers, respins, and wild symbols boost your winnings.

Multipliers

Where most players expect a bonus game, it’s multipliers that get them excited. Multipliers act to modify the bonus winnings, so a 3x multiplier makes a 1000-coin bonus into a 3000-coin bonus. Since these add up quickly, few features impact a game more than modifiers. Once in a while, a game has such a high multiplier (Thunderstruck II: 9000x) that its base jackpot doesn’t need to be so big. 108 Heroes, Gonzo’s Quest, and Bonanza Megaways are other famous online slots with multipliers.

Free Spins

While multipliers are a favorite feature in bonus games, free spins are at the heart of such games. The idea of risk-free spins takes away the stresses of slots play, but offers huge winnings. Surprisingly called “free games” by many game design companies, free spins added to multipliers make for huge winnings.

Respins

Soon enough, free spins end, so players want more of them. If a bonus game allows players to re-trigger free spins during the bonus mode, it is called a “respin” feature. In short, these add to the fun.

Wild Symbols

Besides the features above, players expect a game to have wild symbols. A wild symbol is a reel icon that substitutes for all other symbols in the game, except for the scatter symbol. Obviously, this increases the possible winning combinations, thus activating a lot of paylines that wouldn’t otherwise trigger. Many types of wild symbols exist, so here is a quick overview.

Expanding Wilds

Expanding wilds expand over the course of a reel, thus increasing the chances of a winning payline by a factor of 3 to 5. If an online slot has a 5×4 reel setup, then an expanding wild would expand over 4 different reel placements. Naturally, this unlocks a lot of winning paylines. Of course, some companies call these cascading wilds.

Stacked Wilds

Obviously, these are wild symbols stacked on top of one another on the reels. This might sound like expanding wilds, but stacked wilds tend not necessarily fill the entire reels. Instead, they stacked in groups of 2 or 3 on the reel, thus helping with winning paylines but not as much as expanding wilds do.

Sticky Wilds

As the name implies, sticky wilds remain on the screen after a spin. Since they carry over from one set of spins to the next, it gives you multiple chances to hit a winning payline. This continues until the bonus game is over or until the stick wild triggers a big win.

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Autoplay Feature

This gets touted a lot, but it’s actually not as helpful as it sounds. The autoplay mode lets you program an online slot to continue betting for you after one single spin — usually from 5 to 100 different new spins. Since it spends your money without oversight, we suggest players avoid the autoplay feature.

Progressive Jackpots

Finally, many online slot players look for progressive slots. Of course, these give players a chance at a huge jackpot, though most progressive slots have a lower return-to-player (RTP). Each time a player hits spin and it doesn’t trigger the progressive jackpot, the pot grows. Eventually, one player collects a huge prize.

Conclusion

Online slots are a world unto themselves. People new to the online casino world will need to learn new software providers and new slot games. Even if you are a veteran of Atlantic City, Tunica, or Las Vegas slots, you might not be familiar with online slot companies. Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, RTG, Rival, and Betsoft might be new to you.

If so, keep reading our complete guide to online slots. Slots Guy started as a survey of the best land-based slot machines. As the industry evolved, our love for slots similarly evolved. It began with an appreciation of online slots, but that changed into respect and eventually love of the online slots niche. As you develop similar ideas, keep reading Slots Guy as we continue to explore the world of online casino slots.

Online Slots FAQ

How do online slots work?

Online slots use a random number generator (RNG), just like land-based slot machines have worked since the 1980s. RNG software produces random results based on probability. Each reel combination has a certain percentage chance of appearing on each spin. The RNG spits out thousands of results per second. When you hit “Spin”, the online slot chooses the last random result and graphics show the reel alignment associated with that result.

That is why players should not read slot tips about guessing the next jackpot based on reel symbols. From a human perspective, there is no way to predict what combination is coming soon on an online slot’s RNG. It’s impossible, so just have fun, gamble responsibly, and hope for the best result.

Can you play online slots for real money?

Absolutely, you can. American residents will find hundreds of online casinos that support real money players of thousands of slots. The sheer number of online slots available for real money play puts any land-based slots row to shame. The real issue is finding honest online casinos that feature the best slots online. That is where we come in. We provide honest reviews of online casinos and the online slots you will find at those sites.

What slot games pay out real money?

Many free online slot sites exist, but you will need to visit a real money online casino in order to play slot games that pay out real money. Some online slot casinos are famous and others are less well known, so it pays to find review sites without an agenda. Slots Guy reviews the top real money slot games in our reviewers’ expert opinions. Along the way, we also point the way to the real money casinos that offer the most and the best online slots.

What are the best winning online slot games?

Read our online slot pages for reviews and previews of the best online slot games according to RTP. We offer suggestions on any type of online slots, but we tend to rate games on their return-to-player. That’s an expected payback based on the game’s software, and therefore a mathematical judgment of which slot is best.

In several articles we’ll be posting soon, we’ll provide lists of the best winning online slot games based on RTP. Read our articles on real money online slots, the best online slots, and Vegas online slots to get the full scoop. In each case, we analyze the best slot games in each category.

Which online casinos pay out immediately?

The online casinos that support crypto payouts are the ones that pay the quickest. Blockchain technology is both transparent and anonymous, so the verification process does not have to be as drawn out. Many crypto casinos pay out within minutes or hours, which is as close to “immediately” as you will get in online slots play. These sites also boast crypto bonuses that are bigger than those for credit card depositors. Find sites that support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash if immediate payment is important.

Which casino has a fast payout and no verification?

Unfortunately, no casino has a fast payout with no verification. Players would not want that, because they don’t want identity thieves stealing their bank or credit card information — and thus stealing their money. Online casinos that support Bitcoin and other crypto payments are the quickest, though even those sites tend to verify your identity. If you want the quickest withdrawals, choose crypto casinos.

What online casino gives you free money without a deposit?

That is what is called a “no-deposit casino”. These sites offer no-deposit bonuses or signup bonuses when you sign up for a player account. Most casinos require a deposit before you get a bonus, but some sites offer bonus cash for a simple registration process. Such bonuses allow you to play for real money without risking your own bankroll.

It’s harder to find no-deposit casinos these days, but they exist. When we find a trustworthy casino that offers free money without a deposit, we’ll point it out. Right now, Planet 7 Casino is the best example. Planet 7 Casino offers a $25 free bonus chip without a deposit, though it doesn’t advertise the promotion. To learn how to acquire such a bonus, keep reading Slots Guy.

Do online slots pay real money?

Yes, online slots pay real money. Like any form of gambling, you must get lucky to win. That being said, legitimate online casinos absolutely pay out real money for slots play. The trick is finding trustworthy online casinos with a solid reputation for reliable payments. Because most US players play in the offshore online casino market, the key is finding honest casino reviews. That is why Slots Guy exists.

We offer online casino reviews of the best and most respected US online casinos. When a new casino launches, we review that site and give our honest opinion. Frankly, we do not list every US online slot casino because we don’t want to give publicity to those who don’t meet our standards. Once a casino review goes on our site, you will know that it has met our standards for excellence.

What is the best online slot site?

Our current pick is Slots of Vegas because it’s a trusted casino that offers a 250% welcome bonus up to $2,500. Slots of Vegas also has online slots from Rival Gaming and Betsoft, two of the most widespread US online slot software providers. The site also has slots from Nucleus Gaming and other designers, so it’s a good place to sample the best US online slots.

Other great online slot sites exist, though. Wild Casino has hundreds of slots, plus a 250% welcome bonus up to $5,000. The site uses RealTime Gaming slots, which is the most popular US online slot designer. Wild Casino is a newer site with only one provider, so not everyone will prefer it.

A site like Las Atlantis Casino might be some players’ favorite. Las Atlantis Casino has a 280% bonus up to $14,000, along with hundreds of online slots. Again, it uses RTG slots and live dealer games from Visionary iGaming (ViG). With the huge bonus, that will be the go-to online casino for many US players. Due to its multiple slot providers, we still recommend Slots of Vegas for most US slot players, though.

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