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Slot Machine Terms

2022 Aug 5 11 min read
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Making the jump to online casinos isn’t always as easy as diving right in. The slot games players will find nowadays are a far cry from the three-reel slot machines that stood at land-based casinos. Not only have slot machine game features and mechanics changed, but there’s also tonnes more slot machine terminology.

If you’re a new online slot game player, we’ve compiled a list of slot machine terms and phrases to help you along your journey and make the transition a little easier.


3D Video Slots: A video slot designed with 3D graphics.

3-reel Slot Machines: Slot machines with three reels.

5×3 Slot Machine: A slot machine with five reels and three rows.

7×7 Grid Slot Machine: A grid/cluster slot with seven reels and rows.

243 Ways To Win: The number of possible winning combinations that can be formed in a slot machine.


Active Payline: Some online slots allow you to select the number of paylines you bet on, while others have fixed paylines.

All-ways Slots: Slot games with no fixed paylines, allowing players to win in many different ways, increasing the number of ways to win.

Autoplay: A slot machine function that allows you to automatically spin the reels continuously for a set amount of time.

Autospin: Works similarly to the Autoplay function. Allows you to set the number spins.


Bankroll: A slot playing bankroll is the amount of funds slot players have to spin the reels.

Bar Symbol: A traditional symbol found in old-timey one-armed bandit games and resembled a pack of gum. In the early days, casinos used to use packs of gum as a slot reward.

Base Game: The general gameplay of a slot that excludes all bonus rounds.

Basic Slots: A basic slot machine offers the simplest gameplay with the fewest features. Basic slots often sport three reels — the lowest number of reels in a slot machine.

Bet: The wager value per spin.

Bet Per Line: In online slots with adjustable paylines, the bet per line represents the amount wagered per payline in each spin.

Betting Units: Another term used to describe the amount wagered per spin.

Big Hit: When players earn a huge payout, this is often referred to as a Big Hit. A jackpot win can be considered a Big Hit.

Big Time Gaming: Big Time Gaming is an Australian developer that began releasing games in 2011. This company is the creator of the ever-popular Megaways™ slots, releasing Dragon Born Megaways™ as its first Megaways™ title.

Blueprint Gaming: Blueprint Gaming is a provider based in the UK that forms part of Germany’s Gauselmann Group. It was founded in 2008 and was also one of the first Megaways ™ licencees . Blueprint’s most popular games include TED Megaways™, Genie Jackpots and The Goonies.

Bonus Buy: A mechanic that allows players to purchase additional bonus features. This is only available in select jurisdictions.

Bonus Features: A bonus feature is an additional slot machine functions that comes with the gameplay. Help form more winning combinations and overall entertainment. May include free spins, Wild symbols, Bonus symbols etc.

Bonus Funds: Additional funds awarded to players on top of their own cash.

Bonus Round: Bonus rounds are kind of like in-game mini-games that award special bonus features and payouts on top of all base game features. The bonus round needs to be activated by the bonus slot symbols in the slot machine.

Bonus Slot Machines: Bonus slots are characterised by their additional bonus features designed to enhance gameplay and potentially boost wins.

Bonus Spins: Another way of referring to Free Spins.

Bonus Symbol: Slot machines generally feature typical symbols that have no function other than forming winning paylines. Bonus symbols, however, would have special functions that trigger different bonus features.

Branded Slots: Slot machines with themes inspired by well-known, movies, TV shows, and other franchises.

Bonus Wheel: A special feature that resembles the classic ‘Wheel of Fortune’. Players will be required to spin the wheel for a chance to win a bonus.


Candle: The blinking lights on top of a land-based slot machine.

Carousel: A group of multiple slot machines.

Cascading Reels: A bonus feature that is triggered with every winning spin. Every time a winning combination forms, all winning symbols will be removed from the slot reels and other symbols will cascade down to fill empty reel positions.

Cashback: A Cashback refunds a percentage of players’ bets.

Cashout: When slot players withdraw their earnings after forming winning combinations.

Cash Splash: Cash Splash was the very first jackpot slot to be released. It did not include many special features outside of its progressive jackpot.

Casino Floor: The casino floor is the term used to describe the gaming area in a land-based casino.

Certified Slots: Games that have been certified by Responsible Gaming regulatory bodies.

Classic Slots: Basic slots that resemble the first slot machines in land-based casinos. These slot games are the most simplistic types of slot machines as they feature classic fruit symbols and barely any features. A classic slot machine can also be referred to as a fruit machine.

Cluster Pays: The payout earned from a cluster.

Cluster Slot Machines: Cluster slot games are not confined to typical rows and paylines. They are simply a grid of reels with no set paylines as winning combinations are attributed according to the combination of symbols in one cluster.

Coins: Also referred to as slot credits and pay homage to the coins used to play land-based slot games. They determine the value of your wager with respect to the coin size.

Coin Size: The coin size represents the value of one coin.

Cold Slots: Slots that award payouts slow and infrequent. Also referred to as tight slots.

Colossal Symbol: One giant symbol that covers multiple reel positions.

Console Slot Machines: Slots with added features to boost entertainment.

Credits: The equivalent of coins.


Demo: A free-play version of a slot machine that allows slot players to spin the reels using virtual funds instead of actual cash. All winnings are virtual as well.

Denomination Slot Machine Units: The unit of each coin or credit that can be used to wager on a particular slot machine. 

Developer: The creator of a slot machine. Also referred to as provider.

Dragon Born Megaways™: The very first Megaways™ title to debut and was released in 2016.

Dragonfish: An online casino operator that offers online casino games, including slot games and Live Casino games.

Drops: One of the more modern features of online slot machines. Instead of spinning reels, symbols will fall into place.


Egyptian-themed Slot Games: Online slots with an Egyptian theme. These slot machines are very typical to online casinos.

EGM: EGM is an acronym for ‘Electronic Gaming Machine’ and is a term used to describe slot machines.

Expanding Reels: Offers players the chance to form more winning combos by adding more reels to the screen.

Expanding Wild Symbol: A special Wild symbol that substitutes for other symbols on the reels while also expanding to fill multiple reel positions, forming even more winning combinations.


Feature: The special mechanics included in the video slot game.

Fixed Jackpot: A fixed jackpot is an additional prize that awards a lump sum of cash when players hit the jackpot combination. Once the prize is awarded the prize pot will reset to a predetermined value. Slot machine jackpots vary depending on the slot machine and provider.

Five-liner: A three-reel slot machine featuring five paylines.

Fixed-value Slots: Fixed-value slots are slot machines with unadjustable coin sizes or bet amounts.

Freeplay Mode: A version of the slot game that is free to play. Also referred to as the demo mode.  

Free Spins: Free spins are a common slot bonus feature that allows players to spin the slot machine reels without wagering real cash while also earning rewards. Free Spins rounds are often paired with other special features like Bonus symbols, Wild symbols etc. Each Free Spins bonus game comes with its own set of game rules. The number of bonus spins awarded depends on the slot game.

Fruit Slot Games: Slot games with a fruity theme. Resemble the old school slot machines in land-based casinos.


Gamble Feature: An optional minigame that allows players to risk their winnings for the chance to earn a greater payout. The winnings risked will be those earned from the winning spin. The Card Gamble game and the Ladder Gamble game are the most common gambling features. This minigame may not be available in all jurisdictions.

Gameplay: The general experience players get when they play a particular slot machine as defined by the game rules.

Gameplay-linked Progressive Jackpot slots: When two or more slots are linked by the same progressive prize pot. Also referred to as ‘Linked Progressive Slots’ in short.

Grid Slot Machine: A slot machine that does not conform to the typical layout of online slots. It is simply a grid of reels with no paylines. Also referred to as Cluster slots.


High-Value symbols: Each symbol in a slot game has its own payout value. High-value symbols represent the group of symbols in a slot that pay a larger amount than other, low-value symbols, and tend to be designed to fit the theme of the slot game.

High Volatility: A slot machine that awards large payouts but at a low hit frequency.

Hit: A winning spin.

Hit Frequency: The number of times a win is paid out.

Hot Slots: Hot slots are generally games with a ‘hot streak’, awarding payouts fast and frequently. A hot slot is similar to a loose slot machine.


Icons: Another word for symbols.


Jackpot: A large cash prize awarded in a slot machine on top of all the base-game payouts.

Jackpot slot machine: A specific category of slot machines that are characterised by their additional prize pots.


Land-based slot game: A physical slot machine found in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Liberty Bell: Liberty Bell that was the first variation of the modern slots we see today.

Line: Another word for payline.

Line bet: A line bet refers to the amount wagered per payline.

Locked Reels: Reels that stay in place and do not spin.

Loose Slot Machines: The term ‘loose slots’ is slot machine slang for a game that is likely to give out frequent wins. Loose slot machines are similar to hot slots.

Lose Streak: A succession of losing spins.

Low-Value Symbols: Refer to the group of symbols in a slot machine that award the lowest payouts. They tend to be less thematic than high-value symbols and often resemble playing card suits or numbers.

Low Volatility: A slot machine that awards small payouts but at a high hit frequency.


Max Bet: The max bet is the maximum wager players can place in a slot machine. The max bet may vary depending on the slot.

Mega Moolah: One of the most popular jackpot slots of all time. Released by Microgaming, Mega Moolah features FIVE whopping progressive jackpots on top of stunning gameplay.

Megaways™: The Megaways™ mechanic is a complex slot feature that was developed by Big Time Gaming. It changes how many symbols appear on the slot machine reels on any given spin, offering far more ways to win than basic slots.

Megaways™ Slot Machines: Modern slot machines that utilise the Megaways™ random reel modifier mechanic. The majority of Megaways™ slot machines offer over 100,000 ways to win.

Microgaming: Microgaming is one of the leading online game providers that is based in the Isle of Man. It is best known for its progressive jackpot slots, specifically the Mega Moolah progressive slot machine.

Min Bet: The minimum wager that can be placed in a slot machine.

Mobile Slot Machines: Refers to the type of video slots that are available on mobile devices. Some providers specifically design their slot machines to work best on mobile rather than desktop.

Multi-line Slot Machines: Refers to the video slots with more than one payline.

Multipliers: Multipliers are a unique bonus feature that multiply a winning combination by a specific value. Multipliers can be awarded in an array of different ways and can also be found in a Free Spins bonus feature.

Multi-way Slot Machines: These video slots allow players to form winning combos that go from left to right and right to left. These types of slot machines are not very common as most video slots tend to attribute wins from left to right only.


NetEnt: NetEnt is among the biggest players in the iGaming realm. This industry giant was founded in 1996, in the early days of slot machines, and has since built a massive collection of immersive online slot games. NetEnt’s most notable titles include Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst and Twin Spin.

Non-winning spin: A spin that does not result in the formation of a winning combination.

Nudge slot machine: A nudge slot machine allows players to change the outcome of a spin by shifting a reel up or down.


One-armed Bandit: The phrase ‘one-armed bandit’ is slot machine slang players use to refer to

Online Slot Machine: A slot machine that is played online.


Paylines: A payline represents a pattern on the reels where a winning combination can occur. Many video slots have multiple paylines across multiple reels.

Payout: The award a slot machine pays when forming a winning combination.

Payout odds: Refer to the chances of earning a payout.

Payout Percentage: The amount of money that is returned to a player by a slot machine over time. Also referred to as the RTP.

Payout Table: Lists the value of all possible symbol combinations, including those in the bonus round.

Paytable: Also pay table, a paytable is a more common way of referring to the Payout Table.

Penny Slots: Penny slots are land-based games with low bet levels.

Pick-and-Click feature: The Pick-and-Click feature is a modern mechanic to hit online gaming and is often included in a slot’s bonus round. This feature would present players with several options, all hiding a myriad of different rewards. Players would be tasked to select one of the options presented and a mystery prize would be awarded.

Play’n GO: Play’n GO is a leading Swedish gaming company that is the brains behind banging titles like Book of Dead, Reactoonz and Moon Princess.

Pragmatic Play: Pragmatic Play is an online game developer that specialises in releasing top online slots, immersive live tables as well as other top games.

Prize Pot: Refers to the huge prize awarded in a jackpot slot.

Progressive Jackpots: Progressive jackpots are one of the two types of jackpots found in online slots. A progressive jackpot can be charactertised by its ability to grow. Every time a player spins the reels of progressive slots, a portion of their wager will enter the pot — which is hot the prize pot accumulates. The progressive jackpot will continue to grow until it is hit and can span over a network of online casinos.

Progressive Multipliers: Progressive multipliers are multiplier bonuses that grow over time.

Progressive Slot Machines: Progressive slots are online slot machines that have a progressive jackpot up for grabs.

Provider: A company that creates slot games.


Random Number Generator (RNG): The random number generator is the best way to ensure that the online slot betting system is fair. This mechanic randomises the symbols that appear on the reels, so there can never be a strategy that guarantees winning.

Red Tiger Gaming: Specialising in rolling out high-quality content, Red Tiger Gaming is the big brains behind huge titles like Dynamite Riches, Aztec Spins and Rainbow Jackpots. Red Tiger Gaming was founded in 2014. 

Reels: Slot machine reels are the vertical positions found on the slot machine window.

Reel Swap: The reel swap feature swaps an entire reel with another to help form more winning paylines.

Relax Gaming: An online game provider that was founded in 2010 with the aim of producing top-shelf solutions. Its most notable titles include Tiger Kingdom Infinity Reels, Money Train and Cluster Tumble.

Respins: A popular bonus feature that awards a free spin right after a paid spin. May come in conjunction with other bonuses.

Return-to-Player (RTP): The RTP describes the amount of money a player is expected to earn back while playing the slot over time.

Rows: The number of horizontal lines in a slot.


Scatter: The Scatter symbol is a special symbol that appears anywhere on the reels and can perform multiple different functions. Scatter symbols are most commonly used as a way to activate the game’s bonus round.

Scatter Pay Bonus Feature: Scatter pays refer to the payout earned from a Scatter combination.

Second Screen Bonus: A second screen bonus refers to the ‘second screen’ that opens when a bonus feature is activated.

Shifting Wild: The Shifting Wild moves between reels with every spin.

Signature Slots: Signature slots refer to the brand of slots owned by the casino.

Single Payline Slot: A video slot machine with one payline.

Slot Host: The slot host is similar to the card dealer in table games.

Slot Schedule: Another way of referring to the slot paytable.

Slot Tournament: A slot tournament is an online competition that requires players to spin select slots and earn points for a chance to win great prizes.

Spin Button: The button that spins the reels once the bet amount has been decided. Found on the user interface below the reels.

Stacked Wild: The Stacked Wild is a special Wild that covers an entire reel when it lands.

Sticky Wild: As its name suggests, the Sticky Wild sticks to its reel position when it lands and stays there for the duration of the feature.

Symbol: Refers to the special icons that are used to form winning paylines.

Symbol Transformation: A special feature that transforms lower-valued symbols into higher-valued symbols.

Synced Reels: When two reels spin at exactly the same time.


Tight Slots: Tight slots are online games that are known to payout less frequent than other slot machines. This can be defined by the slot’s volatility.

Total Bet: The total amount wagered per spin.

Tumbling Reels: Another way of referring to Cascading Reels.

Twin Reels: Reels that are linked together.


Up/ Down Slot Cycle: The fluctuations that occur in a slot’s payout percentage for a period of time.


Variance: Also known as slot volatility. The variance is a measure of how likely a player is to form a winning combination and its payout size.

Video Poker: A form of poker that resembles slot machines. It does not come with a live dealer but works using an RNG and coins.

Video Slot Machine: A slot machine that does not have physical reels as in land-based casinos, but is the digital version of slot games. Every slot that players spin online is a video slot.

Virtual funds: A form of fake cash that exists within the demo mode of a slot. They cannot be withdrawn from the demo but are used as a way to test out slot gameplay before puting down real money.

Volatility: Another way of referring to slot variance.


Wager: Also referred to as bet. The wager is the amount of money used to spin the reels in one round.

Walking Wilds: Also referred to as Shifting Wilds. These Wild symbols move, or ‘walk’, along the reels with every spin.

Wazdan: A slot provider that was founded in 2010 in Malta. It aims to create top quality games while also providing a safe and reliable experience for players. Popular Wazdan games include Sizzling Gods, Magic Spins™ and Jelly Reels: Hold the Jackpot™.

Wild Symbol: A special symbol that subsitutes for other symbols on the reels to help form more winning paylines.

Winning Combination: A combination of symbols that awards a payout.

Win-Both-Ways: A slot function that allows players to form winning combos starting from left to right and right to left.

Win Streak: A succession of winning spins.

Win-ways: Found in Megaways™ slots. Refer to the winning combos that can form when playing a Megaways™ game as these types of slots do not feature typical paylines.


Zig-zag: The paylines featured in classic slots used to be straight lines, but most modern slots have a larger number of paylines, resulting in ‘zig-zag’ combos.