Slot machines are the most popular form of online gambling game in the world. People have always loved to play slots, either real or virtual, since they were first invented in the 1890s. Their appeal has always been how understandable and accessible they are. For even complete beginners it’s as simple as putting money in and pulling a lever (or hitting a button, or clicking a mouse).
Online slot machines have grown to become the mainstay of online casinos, with millions being played and won every single day. Modern online slots are beautiful to look at and have amazing sound effects and wonderful theming. However, underneath all the modern looks they really are no different to the classic mechanical machines of yesteryear – hit a button and see if the reels bring up symbols that add up to a big win. Continue reading..
Because of that we’ve put together a great selection of free-to-play slots so that you can enjoy a spin of the reels any time, on any device, without spending a penny. This is a great way to learn the impressive features that the latest slot games have introduced.
Once you’ve been bitten by the slot bug with our superb free to play games you can join one of our recommended online casinos and play for real. With your new-found slot knowledge you can hunt down some of the huge jackpots that are available every day.
Online slots history
Video slot machines have been around for a lot longer than people think. In fact the first ever approved video slot machines were installed in the Las Vegas Hilton in 1976. These machines were produced by the Fortune Coin Company, and in a nod to the classic slots of old they featured a pull-down “spin” lever – the famous arm of the one-armed bandit. However in the space where traditional casino slot machines would have had a window opening onto 3 or 4 traditional mechanical reels, the Fortune Coin machines used specially modified 19” Sony TV screens to display the simple computer graphics that they used.
The video slot machine became a huge success. So much so, that by the mid-90’s video slot machines were responsible for over 70% of the revenues in traditional casinos. As computer hardware and graphics improved, the games themselves grew more colourful and more interesting. Famous video slot makers WMS were leading innovators, and they introduced the concept of the “second screen bonus round”, now often known as a “mini game”.
With the rise of the internet and the development of online casinos, the technology quickly made the jump from the casino machine to the web browser. Online video slot machines are now the most popular way to gamble in online casinos. They are always attractive because they often allow you to play for small stakes and yet have access to some potentially huge jackpots.
The world record for the biggest video slot machine jackpot was won in 2015 when a British 26-year-old former soldier landed a £13.2 million pound progressive jackpot from a 25p spin of the very popular Mega-Moolah video slot.
Types of Online Slot Machines
There are a huge variety of online slot machine out there, but they often fit into one of a few types:
Classic Slots: These games do their best to capture the look and sound of a classic mechanical or electronic slot machine found in casinos. Often they use sound effects recorded from the real thing, and the graphics will try and reproduce the look of the mechanical reels – some even accurately mimicking the “bounce” as each reel stops. Most will feature the classic three reels, and a centralised winning line. These give you a true “old school” experience.
Video slots: These slots are designed to mimic the electronic video slots that became (and still are) hugely popular in traditional casinos. Online video slots usually have 5 reels and may have graphics designed to mimic real-life cabinet machines, or they may have their own unique look and feel.
The main difference between video slots and classic slots is the concept of the “multiple win line”. Whereas classic slots usually have one central win line straight across the reels, modern video slots can have as many as 20 or 30 – or even, in a few cases, up to 243 win lines. However, no matter how many win lines are available most video slots are carefully designed to have a house edge of somewhere between 2% and 7%.
3D slots: These are the most technically advanced of the online slot games. Rather than trying to mimic the look of video slots, 3D slots use the latest graphics technology to produce stunning visual experiences. The freedom to move away from the traditional look of reels means that instead of spins, 3D slots might have symbols that fall from the top of the screen, or fade into view, or any of dozens of different appearances. This means that 3D slots have some amazing themes available – undersea, space, jungles, ancient civilisations… the choice is endless.
Progressive Slots: Progressive jackpots can be offered by any of the above types of online slot machine. Sometimes referred to as “progressive slots”, these offer a jackpot that’s made up out of all the bets being placed by players. This means that the top prize isn’t a fixed amount, but keeps going up until it’s won – either a share of the pot or even the whole thing.
As you’ve discovered, modern online casino video slot machines offer a huge range of styles, themes, bonus games and ways to win big. Whilst the fundamentals of each game are the same, the effort that developers put in to the look and feel of their games means that people do like to “shop around” for their favourite online slot.
Because it can be a bit inconvenient to have to register for several online casinos just to try out a range of online slot machines at GamblingInformation.com we have decided to pull together our absolute top picks for online slots and offer them here as free to play versions. This will allow you to spin reels to your heart’s content without spending any money and find your favourite games.
Once you’ve found the slots that you enjoy the most, head on over to one of our editorial team’s top pick online casinos and you’ll be able to play for real and try for one of those superb jackpots.
Here’s our list of some of the best slots out there, playable in your browser or on your phone or tablet for free:
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WMS Slots – Williams Gaming
WMS is one of the most well-known and respected players in the gaming arena. Since the 1980s they have been responsible for some of the best-loved pinball and arcade machines of all time, and in the mid-1990s they produced their first video slots for casinos.
As well as an unrivalled reputation for quality gaming hardware, WMS revolutionised the world of video slots by pioneering the move away from mimicking traditional reeled slot machines to designing modern games that were tied in to well known brands or themes. These became incredibly popular in traditional casinos world wide, and used famous themes such as Monopoly, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and many many more.
At GamblingInformation.com we were thrilled when WMS made the move into online slots development in 2013, and they now boast a huge range of some of the best online slot games out there. They also brought most of their licence deals with them, which means thanks to WMS you can play some of your favourite themes online, like Monopoly, Cluedo, Star Trek, The Simpsons, and many more.