Your Guide to Slot Terminology

Slot machines, with their vibrant lights and captivating sounds, offer a thrilling and accessible form of entertainment. However, for newcomers, the terminology surrounding these games can be a barrier to entry. This guide aims to bridge that gap, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate the world of slots with confidence. Read our guide to slot terminology. 

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Guide to Slot Terminology

Guide to Slot Terminology | Essential Slot Lingo


  • Blanks: These are empty spaces between symbols on the reels, acting as neutral elements that don’t contribute to winning combinations. They can be frustrating as they disrupt potential paylines. 
  • Bonus: Some slot machines incentivise players to wager the maximum bet by offering a bonus on the jackpot payout. For instance, if the regular payout for hitting the jackpot with a single credit wager is 800 credits, the bonus might offer 1200 credits for the same combination at the maximum bet. 
  • Bonus Round: This is a special feature triggered by specific symbols, typically bonus symbols. These symbols, usually requiring a minimum number to appear on the reels (often three), transport you to a separate game screen with unique mechanics. Bonus rounds often involve free spins, multipliers, interactive elements, or mini-games, offering the chance to win additional credits or jackpots. 
  • Bonus Symbol: As mentioned earlier, these are the key symbols that unlock the bonus round. Each slot machine has a designated bonus symbol, and the required number to trigger the feature can vary. 
  • Credits: In the realm of slots, you don’t wager with real money directly. Instead, you use credits, a virtual currency purchased with your actual money. You win and lose in credits, which can then be converted back to cash at the prevailing exchange rate. 
  • Double Up: This is a thrilling, yet risky, gamble feature offered by some slots after a successful bonus round. It allows you to wager your bonus round winnings in a chance to double them. However, be aware that if you lose the gamble, you forfeit all your bonus round earnings.

Guide to Slot Terminology | Understanding Payouts and Jackpots


  • Jackpot: The jackpot represents the most significant payout a slot machine offers. Its value varies depending on the specific game, difficulty of winning the combination, and your wager amount. Generally, the higher the wager, the larger the potential jackpot payout. 
  • Loose Slots: Slot enthusiasts often seek out loose slots, known for paying out more frequently, albeit in smaller amounts. These slots offer a more consistent stream of wins, catering to players who prefer a steady flow of smaller rewards. 
  • Multiplier Symbol: This symbol acts as a power-up, increasing your winnings for a specific spin or the entire bonus round. The number of multiplier symbols revealed often determines the extent of the boost to your winnings. 
  • Payline: A payline is a designated line across the reels, where symbols must land in a specific combination to trigger a win. The number of paylines can vary significantly between slots, ranging from a single line to dozens or even hundreds. The more paylines a slot offers, the more opportunities you have to form winning combinations.

More Terminology

  • Pay Table: This crucial table, often displayed within the game interface, acts as your guide to understanding potential payouts. It details the specific credit rewards associated with various symbol combinations and bet amounts. Always consult the pay table before playing to gain insights into the game’s payout structure and potential returns. 
  • Payout Percentage: This metric, expressed as a percentage, indicates the theoretical return a slot machine pays out to players over an extended period. For example, a slot with a 97% payout percentage suggests that, for every £100 wagered, the slot returns £97 to players in the long run. It’s important to remember that this is a theoretical figure, and individual results can vary significantly. 
  • Payout Rate: The payout rate is another way to gauge a slot’s frequency of paying out winning combinations. Loose slots tend to have higher payout rates, meaning they pay out more often, while tight slots pay out less frequently. 
  • Progressive Jackpot: This unique jackpot type isn’t tied to a single machine. Instead, a portion of every wager placed on the game across a network of connected machines contributes to a progressive jackpot that grows continuously until someone wins it. These jackpots can reach staggering amounts, attracting players seeking life-changing wins.

Guide to Slot Terminology | Behind the Scenes: Slot Mechanics Explained


  • Random Number Generator (RNG): This is the core of fair play in slots. The RNG is a sophisticated computer program that ensures each spin outcome is entirely random and unpredictable. 
  • Reels: These are the vertical columns adorned with symbols that spin independently upon activating the game. Slots traditionally come with 3, 5, or 7 reels, although some modern video slots might offer even more. The number of reels can influence the complexity of winning combinations and overall gameplay. 
  • Scatter Symbol: Unlike symbols bound to specific paylines, scatter symbols can trigger bonus rounds, free spins, or even payouts regardless of their position on the reels. This flexibility adds an exciting element to the game, as scatters can land anywhere and still bring potential rewards. 
  • Slot Machine Symbols: These are the diverse icons that populate the reels and form the core of slot gameplay. They can be: 
  • Themed Symbols: These symbols directly relate to the slot’s theme, immersing players in the game’s narrative. They can depict characters, locations, or objects relevant to the theme. 

More terminology

  • Numbered and Lettered Symbols: Classic slots often feature numbers and letters alongside other symbols. These can be high-paying or low-paying, depending on the game. 
  • Pictorial Symbols: These diverse symbols encompass various icons like fruits, animals, objects, or anything else relevant to the slot’s theme. 
  • Themed Slots: As the name suggests, these slots revolve around a specific theme, which is woven into the entire game experience. The theme influences the design of symbols, bonus rounds, music, and overall atmosphere, creating a cohesive and immersive experience for players. 
  • Tight Slots: As opposed to loose slots, tight slots are known for paying out less frequently. While they might offer the potential for larger individual wins, they are generally preferred by players seeking a slower pace with the possibility of bigger rewards. 
  • Wild Symbol: This versatile symbol acts as a substitute, taking the place of other symbols on the reels to complete winning combinations. Each slot has a designated wild symbol, and it can significantly increase your chances of forming winning paylines. 
  • Video Slots: These modern slots utilise advanced video technology to deliver visually captivating experiences. They often boast high-resolution graphics, intricate bonus rounds, and faster gameplay compared to traditional mechanical slots. Video slots frequently incorporate innovative features like cascading reels, cluster pays, and interactive elements, offering a dynamic and engaging experience.

Understanding Your Options: Choosing the Right Slot

By familiarising yourself with these key terms and concepts, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the diverse world of slots. Consider these factors when choosing a slot:

  • Theme: Opt for a theme that resonates with your interests for an enjoyable experience. 
  • Volatility: Choose between loose slots for frequent wins or tight slots for potentially larger payouts, depending on your play style. 
  • Paylines and Reels: Consider the number of paylines and reels, as they impact the complexity of winning combinations. 
  • Bonus Features: Explore slots with features like free spins, multipliers, or progressive jackpots if they align with your preferences. 
  • Payout Percentage: Look for a slot with a higher payout percentage for a potentially higher return on your investment, although remember that this is a theoretical figure.

Remember, online casino gambling should always be approached responsibly and for entertainment purposes only. Set clear limits and prioritise responsible gaming practices. With this knowledge and a responsible approach, you can embark on your slot journey with confidence and potentially unlock exciting rewards along the way.

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First deposit only. Min deposit & spend £10. Max 30 spins on TED at 20p per spin. Spins credited upon spend of £10. 18+T&C apply

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