Let’s be honest: doubling your money for minimal effort rocks! After all, you already spend 8+ hours per day slaving away at your desk to make a modest amount of money – but what if you could make more just by clicking a mouse?
That’s the promise of online gaming. While it’s important to realize that odds favour the casino in the long run, there’s no greater thrill than going on a hot streak. However, many casino games can get confusing. To narrow the house edge in games like blackjack, there are piles of strategy you need to learn. And let’s not get started on craps – trying to memorize all those different betting options gives us a headache.
Slots are the polar opposite of table games. All you do is size your bet, select the lines you want to play, and then you pull the lever. Everything else is in the hands of Lady Luck – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But if you’re playing a game you like, it’s always an entertaining session.
These games come in varying themes – from classic fruit machines to machines themed after extreme sports (like newcomer Nitro Circus), you’re sure to find one that resonates with you.
While every slot has the same underlying principles, gameplay varies more than you might realize. The number of reels, lines, and symbols is often different from one game to the next, free spins, wildcards, and multipliers keep things interesting, and free spin/jackpot spin rounds dangle the possibility of a big payday.
Ready to learn about one of the best forms of online gaming? This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about slots, where the best machines can be found, and answer the most common questions players have about this simple game.
How to play slots with real money
Virtual slot machines are the purest form of gambling available on the web. If you are a newcomer, though, all those flashing lights and buttons can be confusing. Before we get to that part, though, let’s start from the start: signing up with an online casino.
There are hundreds of online gaming platforms out there – sadly, not all of them are trustworthy. Realmoney.ca only promotes legitimate casinos – these establishments subject themselves to the rules and regulations of authorities like the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and so forth.
The regulations set out by these bodies mandate certain practices – the partitioning of player and operating funds, regular inspection of random number generators, and annual audits of gaming software, and so forth.
If a site follows these rules, they are granted a license – while virtually every casino will have an authority listed at the bottom of their homepage, always double check with the cited authority to make sure they aren’t pulling a fast one on you.
Once you are assured a casino is legit, then check out their selection of slot games. Some may have a hundred or so games – this may sound impressive, but keep in mind that the best gaming sites host well over 500 slots. More variety = more options.
Want to play for life-changing money? Check to see how many jackpot slots a site hosts. Jackpot slots are games that give players an opportunity to win gargantuan sums of money. Smaller jackpot slots top out in the high five figures, but the biggest games, like Mega Moolah and Joker Millions, routinely crown multimillionaires.
Narrowed your decision down to a few sites? Now, it’s time to compare deposit bonuses. These are promotions that award extra cash and free spins just for depositing on a specific site. Some offer a ton of money ($500, $1,000, or more), while others focus more on free spins.
Before picking a site, be sure to read the fine print of any deposit bonus, as wager requirements can vary widely. For instance, many sites require you to wager through your bonus 30x before you can withdraw any associated winnings, while other sites require you to bet through your bonus AND your deposit.
Ready to start playing? Before taking your first spin, take a second to familiarize yourself with your machine. While features may vary slightly from one game to another, virtually all slots have bet sizer buttons and a spin button (duh). However, other games allow you to select individual lines (which increases the size of wins but decreases win rate), put the reels on autopilot, or let you set a stop loss.
Once you learn your slot’s controls, all you need to do is pull the lever and hope for a profitable result – good luck!
After a while, you’ll quickly realize that virtual slots have significant advantages over their real-world cousins. Not only are they convenient (why get dressed up to go to the casino when you can play in your PJs at home), they are safer, they are always available, and you can try out games for free before wagering your hard-earned money.
Is there an optimal slot-playing strategy?
Not really. Slot machines are as close to a pure gambling game as there is in this world – all you do is bet, pull the lever, and hope for the best. However, some games give you the option of betting on individual pay lines. In these instances, we recommend betting across all available pay lines.
Why? Most slots are programmed to reduce the payout percentage when fewer lines are being played. While your chances of winning go down when playing fewer lines, your per line profit is actually lower when you do hit).
Playing on a budget? Reduce your total bet size – as thrilling as it is to hit huge spins when you are betting big, extended losing streaks can evaporate your bankroll in a hurry. Additionally, never risk more than 5 – 10% of your bankroll in a given session. Make use of stop/loss tools to restrict play – this way you can avoid the soul-destroying experience of chasing losses.
As you take spins, you’ll notice a variety of symbols as they fill up the reels. Some are worth more than others (e.g. in Starburst, lining up five blue/purple gems will get you 25x your bet while hitting five ‘BAR’ symbols will get you 250x your bet).
To find out what each symbol is worth, you’ll want to check out a game’s pay tables. Find the info button on the slot you are paying, and it will lay out what each symbol combination will pay when you make a winning line.
Note that winning combos will only multiply the line bet, not your entire bet across all lines. For example, if you bet $5 CAD on a spin, split across ten lines ($0.50 CAD per line), hitting a one-line combo for a 50x multiplier would net you $25 CAD, not $250 CAD.
Most games have symbols which serve special functions – the wildcard is a fun one, as it assumes the identity of the symbol that will give you the biggest possible win. Scatter symbols are also sought after, as getting three or more of these will send you to a free spin round.
Bonus game symbols are a special scatter symbol that will send you to a mini-game apart from the slot reels. For instance, when you get sent to Pharaoh’s Fortune bonus game, you’ll get a chance to pick a stone block that will boost your number of free spins or the win multiplier for certain symbols.
Some are triggered out of nowhere. That’s how the jackpot spin round in Mega Moolah works, although it is said that your odds of spinning the Mega Moolah jackpot wheel are heightened the more you bet.
In these games, considerable cash can be won (as much as tens of millions of dollars in the case of Mega Moolah), so if you hit three scatters, so prepare yourself for a fun (and potentially profitable) few minutes.
Not sure which slot is right for you? Fortunately, you don’t have to waste a single dime of your money figuring out which game is best – most casinos allow you to try out their games for free.
For example, Casumo allows casual site visitors to click on any one of its 700+ titles. With every theme, gameplay style, and paytable under the sun represented by these games, you’ll eventually find one that suits you best.
However, some sites require you to sign up for an account before they allow you to sample the merchandise. PartyCasino is one of those platforms – however, it does not require you to deposit before trying out games, so if you are attracted to this site for various reasons, don’t let the sign-up process hold you back.
It gets better, though. Did you know there is a way to play real money slots for free and win real money, all without depositing? While you are reviewing sign-up bonuses, keep your eyes open for online casinos that offer ‘no-deposit free spins’.
For instance, LeoVegas gives its customers 22 no-deposit free spins on Book of Dead just for signing up for an account. While winnings often come with strings attached (like a 35x wagering requirement), some deals exclude jackpot winnings. This means if you played Joker Millions with your no-deposit free spins and hit all 15 jokers in the jackpot bonus game, you’d walk away with a seven-figure payday, free and clear of any betting requirements.
Hungry for some no-deposit free spin action? Here are some of the best deals we’ve found across the web!
- LeoVegas: 22 no-deposit free spins on Book of Dead
- Jonny Jackpot: 10 no-deposit free spins on Immortal Romance
- Dunder: 20 no-deposit free spins on Book of Dead
- BitStarz: 20 no-deposit free spins
Slots Freebies and Bonuses
While the occasional huge spin makes most slot games worth the effort, you’ll inevitably go through a long losing stretch at some point. To keep players interested, sites have created lucrative welcome bonuses. This extra cash can help take the edge off a nasty losing streak and keeps players busy as they work to unlock these funds.
Much like the ‘freebies’ dangled by play money slot sites, casino bonuses are essentially ‘free money’. Even if the reels aren’t flowing your way, you’ll end up with at least some extra cash after you complete the wagering requirements attached to the bonus.
Take 888Casino for example: it has a tiered Premium Welcome Bonus. Over five deposits, it is possible to unlock up to $1,500 in bonus funds (on top of 30 no-deposit free spins). As you play with bonus funds, your underlying bankroll will be protected – effectively, you are playing for free, but with the opportunity to unlock hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Don’t have the seed money needed to qualify for the biggest deposit bonuses? Give Jonny Jackpot or Dunder a try. As you saw in the last section, these sites offer new customers 10 and 20 no-deposit free spins respectively just for signing up for an account. Wagering requirements may be high, but if you run well, there’s a solid chance you’ll end up with a nice sum at the end. Not bad for investing nothing up front!
Slots have a long and storied history. Let’s learn about where it all began, shall we?
A brief history of real money slot machines
In 1891, amusement company Sittman and Pitt came out with a machine based on poker hands. 50 cards were printed on the drums – to win, patrons needed to make kings or better. Drinks, cigars, and other prizes were awarded for qualifying hands.
However, the complexity of this setup made automatic payouts impossible. By 1895, however, Charles Fey came up with the Liberty Bell. With only three reels and five different symbols (hearts, spades, bells, horseshoes, and bells), the first slot machine in history came into existence. It quickly became popular – by 1908, they could be found in bars, cigar shops, and bowling alleys across America.
It wasn’t until 1963, though, that slots took the next step in their evolution – electrification. Bally Technologies debuted Money Honey that year – thanks to its electromechanical construction, it could count coins more effectively, leading to bigger payouts. It also introduced exciting sounds and lights to the machine – casino floors would never be the same again.
Video was added to slot machines for the first time in 1976. Fortune Coin, made by the Fortune Coin Company, was simplistic in its design, but it paved the way for the complex slots we now take for granted in land and internet-based casinos.
Increasingly sophisticated software led to another milestone in 1994. Reel ‘Em In was the first game that featured a bonus round, setting the table for the free spin and jackpot rounds we know and love today.
Finally, some random internet casino patron made history on InterCasino on December 30, 1996. By taking the first ever spin on an online real money slot machine, they set in motion a turn of events which led to the vibrant online gaming community that exists in the present.
Types of online slots
For such a simple game, online slots offer remarkable variety. Machines with 5X3 reels (five-reel slots) is the most popular variant these days, as their setup allows for enough pay lines to keep players interested.
While less common, purists will still be able to find three-reel slots in some online casinos. Keep your eyes open for games like Mega Joker, a NetEnt homage to the classic slot machine, or Alchemist’s Lab, a modern take on the old three-reel setup.
Fruit machines are a specific type of slot game that traces its origins to the UK. Many classic three-reel machines are mistakenly called fruit machines. However, these games differ from conventional ones in two ways – nudge and hold.
These features give players the ability to bump stopped reels (nudge) to turn a losing spin into a winning one or to hold one or more symbols in place (hold) before taking a spin. These features cut down the house edge, which is a big reason these games are hard to find in American and online casinos.
Finally, there is the jackpot slot. Also called progressive slots, this game takes a fraction of each bet and adds it to an ever-rising jackpot. Eventually, players will trigger a jackpot bonus round – if they get fortunate, the entire pot is theirs. This amount is often in the five figures, with the richest games offering a top prize in the hundreds of thousands or MILLIONS of dollars.
- Mega Moolah
- Gladiator Jackpot
- Major Millions Progressive
- Joker Millions
- Melon Madness
- Luck of the Jackpot
- Mega Fortune Wheel
- Super Joker
As entertaining as slots can be, most of us play for one fundamental reason: to win money. The best conventional slot games top out at 5,000x for their max payout – that sounds awesome, but if you’re only playing $0.10 per spin, that just gets you $500.
Now, winning $500 is better than having a losing session, but it won’t solve any significant money issues. There’s a reason we all dream of winning the lottery – a massive six or seven-figure payday can make a lot of problems go away.
That’s the promise of jackpot slots. No matter whether they bet $0.10, $1, or $10 per spin, every player has a shot at winning big money. That has made Mega Moolah one of the most notorious slot games on the planet – in September 2018, it awarded $27 million CAD to Britain’s Jon Heywood, the biggest online jackpot in history. In May 2016, an anonymous Canadian player took down a prize of more than $11.6 million CAD.
Not having any luck on Mega Moolah? No worries – there are scores of progressive slots on the web that have jackpots north of a million dollars. With themes ranging from ancient Rome to classic Vegas-style machines, you should be able to find an entertaining game that offers a shot at life-changing money with every spin.
Popular Canadian Real Money Casino Slots in 2020
- Book of Dead
- Mega Moolah
- Big Bad Wolf
- Second Strike
- Thunderstuck II
Fun graphics, engaging themes, big money – these are the main things Canadians look for in an online slot game. Book of Dead has logged the most Canuck spins for a few years now, thanks to its massive winning combos.
As we mentioned in the previous section, Mega Moolah draws in players with its seven (and, occasionally, eight) figure jackpots. It also offers three smaller jackpots – if you get to the jackpot spin round, you’ll at least win the mini jackpot, which runs in the tens of dollars.
Want to laugh while raking in the cash? Big Bad Wolf has you covered. Using 3D graphics/cutscenes, this slot game tells the story of the Three Little Pigs while giving you plenty of chances to win. Don’t believe us? A 97.35% return to player percentage will have you booking more wins than comparable games.
2020 top Canadian Game providers
- Play’n Go
- Red Tiger
- Evolution Gaming
- Pragmatic Play
- Nolimit City
Just like the video games you obsessively played as a teenager, online slot games are crafted by programmers in software studios. Graphic designers create the fun sequences that keep players entertained, while mathematicians ensure gameplay features maintain the house’s edge.
The above-mentioned companies account for the majority of slot games created today. Most titles are licensed to multiple casinos – however, some casinos have exclusive titles (like 888Casino), while others acquire exclusivity rights for games during their first few months of play.
Every company has their hits, but NetEnt has more than their share. Sadly, this company has yet to enter the Canadian gaming market, but rumours persist that this is about to change – stay tuned.
How do you play real money casino slots on mobile devices?
Real money gaming apps for iOS devices can be found in the App Store. Android owners are in a trickier spot, as the Play Store has banned real money gambling apps. However, many sites offer an Android version of their app on their website, so be sure to check the FAQ.
If not, or if you have a Windows or Blackberry phone, jump on their mobile site – most casinos have optimized their operations for phone/tablet users. Try out some slot games – if they look great, you’ll be set next time you are commuting home on the bus/train.
Is it possible to get a no deposit bonus for slots?
Yes. Numerous leading online casinos offer no-deposit free spins just for signing up for an account. Check them out below.
- LeoVegas: 22 no-deposit free spins on Book of Dead
- Jonny Jackpot: 10 no-deposit free spins
- BitStarz: 20 no-deposit free spins
- Dunder: 20 no-deposit free spins on Book of Dead
- 21.com: 210 (!) no-deposit free spins, limit 10 per day over 21 days.
Can I get a deposit bonus for slots?
Yes. Most online casino welcome bonuses offer free spins. On top of this, slot games are the most efficient game to play when clearing cash bonuses, as 100% of every bet goes toward your balance. Many casinos also offer reload promotions that specifically target slot players – keep an eye out and take advantage of them!
What is the best Canadian online casino to play slots at?
Most online casinos have a decent selection of slots. Having said that, Casumo, PartyCasino, and LeoVegas all have more than 500+ titles.
What is the difference between Las Vegas casino slots and online slots?
While they lack the flashing lights, exciting sounds, and the free drinks of a Vegas casino, online slots have advantages of their own. Online slots can be accessed from the comfort of your living room, bed, or backyard. You don’t have to wait to use your favourite machine online – each game can handle thousands of players at a time. Unique games that lack mass appeal can be found online easier.
While there is no replacement for the buzz of a land-based casino, online slots are often the better choice for many people.