Online slot games for real money have come a long way since they were first launched back in the late 90s. Then, simple 2D reels with a handful of symbols have turned into something so much more. Players can now enjoy a more immersive gaming experience, especially when spinning on a real money slot machine.
Combine fantastic graphics and sound effects with the thrill of playing for real money, and you have a recipe for success. This is why the popularity of online slots continues to grow in Ireland, with a more extensive choice of games than ever before.
You can only play real money slots on specific websites with proper licenses. But, there is more to an online slot site than just being able to play games. The selection and quality of games, the bonuses, and other aspects play an essential part in the online slot experience. On this page, we explain what online slots are, how they work, and where you can play the best online slots for cash. Keep reading to find out more.
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What are Online Slots and How do They Work?
Online slots aren’t all that different from the video slots you may have experienced in a land-based casino. They can come with several different reels and payline configurations, and each is powered by a random number generator (RNG). When you click spin, everything happens instantly, but a lot is going on in the background during that split second. Online slots are a collective effort of design, user experience, and algorithms.
There are different types of real money slots across several categories, and every player tends to have their preferences (more on that later). In addition, software developers find innovative ways to keep their game portfolios fresh, so there’s always something new to enjoy. Below, we have outlined some of the critical components of online slots.
The Randon Number Generator (RNG)
A random number generator is an algorithm behind every online slot. It is in place to ensure that every game is fair and each player has the same chance as everybody else. In the backend, a number will correspond to a symbol. For example, when you click spin, a random number sequence is generated, displaying what you see in the frontend. Ultimately, the RNG is what decides whether it’s a winning spin or not.
Despite popular belief, every single spin is unique. The online slot doesn’t know if you won or lost in your last spin, and it doesn’t impact whether or not you will win on the next. There are no pre-determined rules, and everything comes down to chance.
The Return to Player Percentage (RTP)
Real money slot machine games has a return to player percentage. This isn’t a secret or hidden anywhere. In fact, the RTP of each slot is published and readily available for a player to check before they start spinning.
The average RTP is around 96%, anything above this would be considered a slot with a high RTP, and anything below would be a low RTP slot. So how is RTP calculated? It’s pretty simple. It means that for every penny a player spends on an online slot, they should get 96% back on average.
It’s important to remember that this is a cumulative total across all stakes on the game. For example, a 96% RTP slot with €100,000 of combined stakes from all players on a slot would repay €96,000. On the other hand, player one might have an RTP of 200%, whereas player two might have an RTP of 0%. The return to player percentage influences how a game plays and your odds of winning, so we recommend sticking to real money slots with 96% and above.
Volatility and Variance
Volatility is sometimes referred to as variance, and it describes the frequency of payouts and dictates how a real money slot operates. Slots can be low, medium, or high variance. A low variance slot will see a player winning more frequently, but they tend to be in smaller amounts. A highly volatile slot is the exact opposite; a slot that might make you wait a little longer but tends to pay well eventually. Medium is somewhere between the two.
Whether a player prefers high or low volatility slots will depend on several things, including gaming balance. Low volatility slots won’t reduce your cash as quickly and are suitable for wagering, whereas high volatility can drain your balance if it’s low. Some enjoy frequent hits, whereas some enjoy the thrill of waiting for the big win.
Online real money slots have both a minimum and a maximum stake. The exact amount can vary by developer and title, but the lowest stake allowed tends to be €0.10. Jackpot slots tend to have a higher minimum stake as each spin contributes to the top prize. Your account limits can influence the upper limit and can go as high as hundreds of euros per spin.
Every online slot has a maximum win, and this is determined as a multiplication of your stake and not as a monetary value. For example, the maximum payout from a slot may be 5,000x, but the payout in euros would differ depending on your spin amount. Some real money slots, such as Megaways, can have maximum wins as high as 100,000x.
Real Money Slot Types
Real money slots come in many different designs and themes, but that’s not the only thing that can vary. Several specific online slot types play differently and come with their perks and features. Here are the most common types of online real money slots:
Classic slots are a modern take on the original slot type. They have a simple three-reel structure with classic casino symbols like 7s, cherries, and clovers. Paylines are minimal, and most payouts only happen if there are three matching symbols in a row. These appeal to players looking for no-frills and like the nostalgic element of spinning on a classic slot. Some examples of classic slots include Triple Diamonds and Da Vinci Diamonds.
Video slots are newer, more interactive, and come packed with many features compared to their classic counterparts. The number of reels, pay lines, and even how the symbols behave can differ by the slot. These popular games come with great design and themes, including many based on popular TV shows, movies, and rockstars. There is a lot more going on and so a lot more excitement. Some of the most popular video slots are Rainbow Riches, Ted, and Gonzo’s Quest.
Megaways slots are similar to video slots but with one huge twist; many more ways to win. There are both standalone Megaways slots and those that were popular video slots reinvented into Megaways variations. Instead of relying on symbols landing next to each other or in a specific sequence, payouts happen for just having a certain number of symbols. There are up to 117,649 ways to win on the Megaways reels, so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Some of the biggest Megaways titles include Bonanza and Divine Fortune.
Jackpots look and feel like a video slot, but there is a massive prize up for grabs. The game will be fun in its own right, but there will be a jackpot round sure to get your heart racing. The top prize differs significantly across jackpots, but it can often be in the millions of Euros. The most famous jackpot slot is Mega Moolah which pays out colossal sums to a few lucky players.
How We Choose Best Online Slot Sites for Our List
A lot of work goes into identifying the best online slot sites. Our expert team has years of industry experience and knows exactly what to look for, and we use these criteria to compile our top lists. Only when a slot site fulfils all of the below criteria do we recommend it to our readers. Here’s what we look at:
Safety and Licensing
We check that every slot site has a valid license issued in the UK, Malta, or Curacao. This ensures that the site is safe, secure, fair, and takes care of its players. We will never recommend a gambling operator without a valid license, and they should be avoided at all costs.
Bonuses are one of the main perks of playing slots for real money. There are two main reasons for earning a bonus, a welcome bonus for signing up and making your first deposit or a loyalty bonus for playing regularly. We expect to see a generous welcome bonus, either a deposit match or free spins, and plenty of incentives to stick around. We check the frequency of the bonuses and the generosity, and we investigate the terms and conditions to ensure that it’s fair for the player.
When assessing places to play real money slots online, we, of course, take a good look at the choice of games available. Not only should there be hundreds, if not thousands of real money slots to play, but they should also be across all categories too. We look for classics, video slots, Megaways, and jackpots to cover every player type. If you don’t fancy slots and want to try something different, plenty of table games and live casino options should also be available. All of which must work on all devices.
Payment Methods and Payouts
Firstly, we look at payment methods, ensuring that there are plenty of ways to deposit and withdraw your cash. We expect to see traditional options like Visa, Mastercard, and a bank transfer method and more modern options like E-Wallets. Some of the most popular E-Wallets include PayPal, Neteller e-wallet for gambling, and Skrill, so we check that the slot site supports them. As well as methods, we look at the payout process and speed. It should be easy to withdraw cash, and you should receive it within a reasonable timeframe.
If you’re having trouble with a specific slot game, any technical issues, or any difficulty depositing or withdrawing, you will need customer support. We look at how easy it is to contact the support team and expect live chat as an option. The team should be professional, helpful, and responsive, and we provide extra points for long and flexible opening hours.
You should be able to play slots online for real money whenever or wherever you want. This means that the slot sited needs to be compatible across different devices, from desktops to mobiles and tablets. Therefore, we test all popular operating systems like Android, IOS, Windows, and macOS and check on various screen sizes. We recommend it to our readers only when we are satisfied that a slot site is compatible across different devices.
The gaming experience is a complex metric to measure, but our team knows exactly what goes into making a slot site great. Everything should be done well, from design to loading speed, graphics, and user platform. In addition, it should be easy to navigate and an enjoyable experience to browse, search and play.
Online Slot Features You Should Know
As well as the mathematical and scientific side to real money slots, there are many in-game features that the player gets to experience. These make the game more fun, interactive and even enhance your winnings. Here are some examples of what you will find in an online slot:
The reels and payline configuration is known as the ‘base game’, but bonus rounds can also be won. These can be triggered by three special bonus symbols or three scatter symbols, depending on the game. No two bonus rounds are the same, and every online slot bonus game has something unique. It can be selecting boxes to reveal cash wins, free spins, reel multipliers, and more. They are the aim of the game for most video slots and usually produce the most significant wins when landed.
Free spins can form part of a bonus round or can be a feature of their own entirely. They are precisely what you might expect; spins that don’t cost anything. Some slots trigger free spins from a scatter or just randomly as a perk of playing. They can be simple spins or include special features like sticky symbols, wilds, or multipliers.
Reel modifiers aren’t bonus rounds, but they’re also not just a standard spin, either. Instead, it’s when something happens to the reels mid-game. For example, in the Ted slot from Blueprint Gaming, Ted himself wakes up and does one of a few things, including shooting wilds onto the reels or adding bonus symbols. They are randomly triggered and can be a whole load of fun, as well as pretty lucrative.
Wilds land on your reels and can make a big difference to your payout. The wild symbol replaces any other symbol (except the bonus) and can create winning combinations. Multiple wilds, stacked wilds, or sticky wilds are even better and can result in maximum wins. A great example of a real money slot with lucrative wilds is Divine Fortune by NetEnt.
Win-all-ways is a reel configuration that pays out more frequently than others. Instead of relying on specific sequences in specific directions, you simply need to land the same symbol anywhere in consecutive reels to guarantee a win. The more of each symbol you have, the better the payout, but it doesn’t need to be in a specific order. An example of a popular win-all-ways slot is Avalon II.
Cluster Pays is a new type of slot configuration made famous by NetEnt. These have 5×6 reel configurations and rely on symbols landing in clusters instead of lines. This means that there are no fixed pay lines, and instead, there are more ways to win. Many slots that include Cluster Pays also have exploding winning symbols that are then regenerated, such as Honey Rush.
How to Play Real Money Slots Online
Playing real money slots online has become easier over the years, with more sites and games than ever before. Here’s an outline of how to get started and begin playing:
- Choose a real money slot site to join
- Register your details and make your first deposit
- Browse the game catalogue to find your favourites
- Launch your chosen game
- Set your stake for each spin
- Click spin or choose auto spin
You will need to click spin every time to begin a new round unless you opt for auto-spin. With auto spin, you can select several spins to happen automatically. You can also set a loss or win limit to stop the free spins if something specific happens.
Discover the Best Online Slot Software Providers
There are many online slot software developers and providers, all with their recognisable games and features. Although there are hundreds to choose between, there is still the same handful that continues to dominate the market. Here is an overview of the market leaders in the world of real cash slot games.
NetEnt is a Swedish company and one of the very first online slot developers. Any good slot site will feature the NetEnt catalogue of games, and there are hundreds to choose from. Although NetEnt does dabble into other gambling categories, slots have always been and always will be its speciality. Some of the most famous NetEnt slots include; Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Fruit Shop, Dead or Alive, and Mega Joker.
Pragmatic is a much newer slot developer, having launched in 2015. The company has become well-known for its highly volatile slots with free spins, bonus rounds and lucrative multipliers. In addition, they create the perfect video slots; well designed and themed, have plenty of features and are optimised for mobile. Popular Pragmatic Play slots include; The Dog House, Dragon Tiger, Release the Kraken, and Mysterious Egypt.
Despite having a smaller portfolio of games than some other providers, Play’n GO has some impressive titles and even more impressive player numbers. They create games that have a touch of both classic and modern real money slot machines. In addition, the developer is known for its high volatility and bonus rounds. Some of the most famous Play’n GO games include Reactoonz 2, Gold Volcano, Honey Rush, and Doom of Egypt.
Blueprint Gaming is the king of the reel modifiers. As well as very well-themed games and great licensing deals, blueprint creates some of the best slot experiences of all. There are wilds, bonus rounds and reel modifiers on almost every game, including their most popular titles like Ted and Worms Reloaded.
Play Real Money Slots on Mobile
There are two main ways to play real money slots on mobile. Here’s an overview of both.
Playing slots on a browser
Playing slots on a browser is easy; simply load your browser of choice, visit your favourite slot site, load a game, and play. Every mobile device has a browser, and so this is very accessible to everybody. It’s the same as visiting any other website on Safari, Firefox, or Chrome. The only downside is that in the event of any technical difficulties with slots, it’s often the browser causing the issue. This means that technical support from the casino is almost nonexistent, which can be frustrating.
Playing slots on an app
A dedicated slots app is an app that has been developed and designed by the online slot site itself. This is great because it’s purpose-built to load and power your favourite games. The issue is that these apps can often take up a lot of space on your device and is an extra icon on your home screen.
Bonuses You Can Get Playing Slots for Real Money
There are some great casino bonuses you can get for playing slots for real money. Each slot site offers something slightly different, but here is an example of what the most common bonus types look like:
A deposit match is exactly that; a match of your deposit. It is usually 100% to double your deposit amount, but it can sometimes be even higher—for example, 150% up to €100. Your deposit and bonus tend to combine into one bonus balance that will need to be played through before you can take away any winnings.
Free spins are very popular with real money slot players, as they are a way to play for free but win real cash. The number of spins you receive will depend on many things, but it could be anywhere from 10 to 100. Each spin will also have a value of 0.10c, so 100 free spins would be worth €10.
Cashback is a way of playing online slots for real money with a bit of insurance. If you win, great! If you don’t, you will get a percentage of your losses back. This is an excellent offer if you want to try a new game and want to minimise any losses.
Are There Any Strategies to Win Real Money in Slots?
We would love to tell you that’s there a sure-fire way to win when playing the best online casino to win real money. But it’s just not true. This page outlines that online slots are powered by random number generators and cannot be predicted, influenced, or outsmarted. Unlike some table games with a specific element of strategy, slots are entirely down to chance. There are no strategies out there that can increase your chances of winning, but there are some tips to make your money go further. Here are some of them:
- Accept slots bonuses when they are offered (but read the terms and conditions first)
- Play high RTP games with low variance, especially if you’re trying to wager a bonus
- Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose, and never increase your stakes, whether you’re winning or losing
- Never chase your losses or convince yourself that you will win ‘soon’
Are real money slots rigged?
- No, real money slots are not rigged. As long as you’re playing at a licensed slot site, you can guarantee complete fairness. Random number generators power them, and nobody can influence the outcome. So if you’re on a lucky streak or a losing streak, it’s nothing but sheer coincidence.
Can I play slots for free but win cash?
- An excellent way to play slots for free but win real money is with free spins. These don’t cost anything but can turn into cash. It’s tough to do, though, considering free spins tend to be low value and have very high wagering requirements. So it’s hard, but not impossible.
Which real money slots pay the most?
- The higher the RTP, the more a slot pays out. Therefore, we recommend that you stick to online slots with an RTP of 96% or above. Remember that even a high RTP slot doesn’t guarantee a win, but it can increase your payout chances.
Can I get a slot bonus? If so, how?
- Yes, there are two ways to get a slot bonus. Firstly, sign up to a new slot site and make an initial deposit to trigger a welcome bonus. This could be a deposit match or free spins. After this, continue playing to bag yourself loyalty rewards.
Are real money slot sites safe?
- Yes, as long as the slot site is licensed and has all the required safety protocols, you’re in good hands. All of the sites listed on this page have been tested for licensing and safety, but we can’t speak for any brands that we haven’t recommended.