The online slots industry is booming right now. There are more casinos with more games than ever before. But the best thing about it all, is the quality is going through the roof.
Technologies such as HTML 5 have been a huge driving force behind the success of the recent crop of games that are on offer. It means that not only do they look amazing online, but they also look great on mobile as well. In fact, the number of mobile players is increasing each year, so it’s imperative that they are able to look great on both platforms.
The game developers have definitely taken the range of games that they now include up a level over the last few years. The branded games and themed games are just a couple of examples of categories, but they do seem to be making more games now than ever before.
What we’ve tried to do is look at as many of these games as possible. We want to show you how they work and the casinos that are hosting them. There is also a lot to learn about the process of how the games work, which is another area that we have covered throughout the site.
Are All Slots Sites the Same?
If you’ve already taken the time to look through a number of slots sites, then you’re likely going to have the impression that they are all very much the same. This is true to a certain extent, but there is a good reason behind this.
You see, the games that you see within any casino are not actually made by that casino. The casino will buy a license from a dedicated game developer who then creates a massive portfolio of games. The developers set a price for the use of their games and then the casino or slots site are able to use that portfolio.
The purchase is not an exclusive deal. This means that multiple casinos can use the same developer, and this is why you see the same games on the same sites. There are a handful of casinos that create their own range of games (a section of 888 casino springs to mind) but for the most part, they are all bought in.
It’s worth noting that there are dozens of game developers in the industry right now and that there is no limit on who or how many developers each casino can use. This means that you can get a range of games throughout each, depending on who the caisno chooses to power their platform.
Another point that we want to make is that it’s the developers that host and run their own games. If there are 2 casinos that offer the same game, the player will be playing on the same server as the developer and not the casino. This plays a big role in jackpot games, which we talk at length about later on the page.
To get back to main question of are all slots sites the same, we also need to point out that there are plenty of features that make them different. We’ve listed a number of these below:
Number of Games
One of the key areas for how they differ is the number of games that are on offer. As you can see from our short brand overviews, the range of slots on each site can range from the low hundreds to the thousands. In fact, we are seeing an increasing trend of these numbers continuing to grow across the board.
You will see instances where 2 or more casinos are both hosting the same game developer but have a different number of slots to choose from. This is because many of the larger developers will offer a certain range of packages which will include a certain number of slots.
So, they may charge a casino £100 for 100 slots, £200 for 200 slots, £300 for 300 slots and so on – although it will definitely be a heck of a lot more than that. The casino can then choose which package they want and then also pick the games that they want to include.
Generally, you will see that the developers will include some of their best games at the top end of the packages to get the most money. This is a common trait and why some casinos might not be willing to spend the big money to get the whole catalogue.
What you will see from this is that the casino will be more rigorous on the games that they do include. If they have a limited number of games that they can choose from, then you often see them refresh their stock quite often as a result. We talk several times on site about quality over quantity, and this is definitely one of those cases where it would need to be applied.
It’s rare for sites to have exclusive games, but as we touched on with the 888 overview, there are a few sites that still do them. The reason they are rare is that they take so much time and effort to make them and then to also run them.
In fact, Microgaming, who are now probably the biggest casino game developer in the world right now, started life as an online casino. They were one of the first in existence, but they decided that they were best to spend their time developing games rather than run a casino.
This highlights that doing both is just not viable for most companies. The developers know how to make games which allows the casinos the chance to just make sure that they offer a good product, with good bonuses and customer service, without having to worry too much about how the games are performing or even coming up with new games.
888’s venture works quite well as the games that they use are from a developer that they acquired a number of years ago. This means that whilst the company is separate from the 888 casino and the daily running of this, it’s still within the ever-expanding 888 Group, allowing them exclusivity over these games.
There have been other examples of this over the years, with Coral being one that particularly jumps to mind as they run their own games. But they often fade away as the upkeep is too resource draining, meaning that it’s just not cost efficient for most casinos to make their own games.
Do we wish that there was a little more exclusivity? We would have to say yes to this, and only because it makes each site a little more unique. There are obviously plenty of ways that they can do this, but it’s the games that most of us are here for, so this is often the most important part.
Jackpots have, and likely always will, be one of the most popular slot types that you can get. They allow you to win huge sums of money from relatively small stakes. What’s not to like?
They work in one of two ways:
A local jackpot is one that is hosted by the casino that you’re playing at. So, if you are playing at BetVictor for example, and you win one of their local jackpots, then it will be BetVictor that pay you.
Network jackpots are hosted by the game developer. This means that regardless of which slots site you are playing that game from, the game will be the same across the entire network.
The network jackpots are the bigger of the two. They are often linked to progressive jackpots as well, which are where you have a small percentage of each wager contribute into a prize pool that keeps growing. The more people that play, the more money that gets put into the pool and then the more you can win.
If you think that a single network could have their game on 20 or more slots sites, then this is going to get much more traffic than a local game that is hosted on a single site.
When you play network games you need to be aware that should you win the jackpot, you might not get paid as soon as you end that game. This is because the network will need to verify the win and then pay you into your casino account. It’s not a long process by any means but might take a little longer than usual.
Some of the slots are highly complex games these days and the number of features that get added to the modern titles are growing seemingly by the week. This is a good thing though as the majority add to the user experience and get away from the stagnated and now defunct games off the early noughties.
Here are a few slots site and in-game features that you can keep an eye out in your favourite slots.
Free play options aren’t as accessible as they once were given the new regulations that have come in to prevent problem gambling. But as long as you have an account and have verified that account (some casinos may require you to deposit as well) there are lots of free play slots that you can “try before you buy”.
If you are new to slots or new to online casino generally, then we would highly recommend that you try out the games on free play mode before playing for real money. It will give you an idea of how that game works and also the speed of the game, which is something that many new players aren’t used to at first, which means that things can often get a little overwhelming.
Multi Game Windows
There are some casinos that now allow you to play more than one slot at a time. You do this by being able to open the game in a new window and then continue to use the site just as you normally would.
Most allow you to play up to a maximum of 4 slots at any given time. If you’re a slots junkie and want all the action all of the time, then this is going to be the feature for you.
It is also good for when you only have a short amount of time and want to get through as many spins as possible.
Downloadable casinos are less common than they used to be, but they are still around. There was a time when all you could do was download the casino but given that most sites are now on an HTML 5 platform, there is no need to download and you can play straight from your browser or your phone.
Downloads will be sent to your computer just as any normal file would. You then access the same slots site and range of games as you would online.
In fact, many state that the games run and look better when you download them, but we would say that there is very little difference between the two.
Search and Filter
If you’ve a slots site with over 1,000 slots to choose from, you need a search and filter feature to keep you in check. This allows you to narrow down the exact games that you want to play and then target only those. It can turn a field of 1,000 slots, into one of just 10 tailored games that you are going to love.
Some of the filters that you can use include:
- Max bet
- Min bet
- Bonus rounds
- Free spins
Once you tell the site exactly what you want from the game, then they are going to be able to find the games that fit your criteria.
A lot of sites also allow you to create a favourites tab that saves every time that you log in. This means that you can store and then quickly access your best games in a super-fast time. In fact, this is without doubt one of our favourite features for slots sites.
Seamless Slot Integration
We’ve spoken at length about the fact that most casino will have several game developers on their platform. But, the majority of them, especially the dedicated casinos that don’t work in sports, poker or bingo, will have all the games integrated under one heading.
This means that it’s not always easy to tell where a certain game has come from and makes for a better user experience we think.
The alternative for this is that they have the games in multiple tabs, which condenses these sections. It means that the games are split up and then it’s not always easy to see all the slots on one page.
Another downside to using sites that aren’t integrated is that you may need to use more than one wallet to access the games. For example, a standalone casino will have a banking system that means you use the money in your account for all parts of the site.
A multi-part casino, that includes other gaming options, might require you to have separate wallets for each game type. This could be different wallets for casino, sports, bingo etc. or this could be to do with the range of games that are on offer.
Whilst it means you can often use the same account, you will need to move money about into each section to play certain games. After having to do this a number of times, it can become highly tedious.
This is why we recommend that you use a site that has everything under one roof, and most do these days. All the slots are in the same place and you don’t need to move money about from wallet to wallet to play certain slots.
Having said that, if there is a game developer that you particularly like, then you might benefit from choosing a slot site that lists who offers what. These aren’t all that common, but some do display their games in this way.
As you will know, there are lots of casinos that you can choose to play online slots. Here are some of our highest recommend slots sites:
Gala has been about since 2008. The recent merger with Coral has allowed the company to get a much bigger foothold within the casino industry, although it’s probably fair to say that they are better known for their work within the bingo sector.
The casinos is predominately powered by PlayTech and it’s here where the majority of their 300+ slots come from. PlayTech are one of the best in the business for games though and it means there is a good mix of both jackpot and your more “standard slots”.
Some of the highlights for us included games such as Narcos, Starburst, Ted and The Goonies. The range of branded games is impressive considering the size of the range of slots is not the biggest. As we’ve stated several times on the site, it’s not always quantity over quality.
Coral are another brand that need little introduction. They are a part of the bigger Ladbrokes Coral Group, which is now regarded as one of the biggest betting brands in the world. It’s worth noting that between the three brands – Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala – they all work as independent casinos, so the games might differ between the three.
The casino is another that is powered by PlayTech almost exclusively. They offer around 200 slots across the casino, which was a little surprising as the layout is similar to Gala – for obvious reasons – but they have decided to take on fewer games within the casino.
Some of the standout games for us include the likes of Gladiator, Buffalo Blitz, Big Banker Slot, Ted and Aqua man. Gladiator is also one of the biggest jackpot games on the site, but they also include a range of progressive jackpots that are linked up on the PlayTech network.
One of the best features of a new brand of slots at the casino is that of Megaways. This is where you are able to win up to 500,000 different combinations ins some of the games. We’d recommend slots like Holy Diver, Vikings Unleashed and Wolf Legend as games to try for this.
The BetVictor brand dates back to 1925, but the online caisno did not make an appearance until 2000. This was after some initial success online with their sportsbook and also that of their online poker room, which at one point was one of the biggest in the UK.
The casino now has around 600 slots, making it one of the biggest. The reason they are so well stocked is that the games on offer come from the likes of Microgaming, NetEnt, IGT and Playngo, to name just a few.
The games are pretty well organised on site and they also include the Megaways games that so many casinos are offering as well. You can jump between their full range of slots, jackpots and then daily jackpots as well.
The jackpot games are probably where most players will spend most of their time, and this includes the likes of Mega Moolah and Major Millions, two of the biggest and most iconic slots in the industry. The daily jackpots offer smaller prizes, but are still worth playing, with prizes ranging from £100 to £10,000 every day on these.
We liked the fact that BetVictor was able to offer a handy search feature and that you’re able to sort by a host of filters, including the network that the game has come from.
Betway has been offering online slots since 2006 and the casino has pretty much been built on the back of that. They now have a healthy catalogue of over 450 slots, which interestingly are all from the Microgaming network.
The slots are broken down into three main categories. The first of those are your classic games, which are now seen as a bit of a throwback to how games used to play out online. These are ideal for beginners and are usually pretty simple to both play and grasp.
Next up are the video slots. This is where the games get a little more into the 21st Century and with it you are able to play what we think are some of the best games in the industry. They include the 3D graphics that Microgaming have been keen to implement and with that they come with great themes and storylines to make them highly addictive.
The final group from Betway are the jackpot slots. These are your daily and your progressive games. The bigger jackpots are run over the Microgaming network, but the daily ones are powered by Betway.
The link with Microgaming and only Microgaming means that Betway are getting exclusive access to some of the best and biggest online slots in the industry. It’s a bold tactic to take just one developer on board, but one that is paying off, and then some!
It’s weird to think that Royal Panda have only been online since 2013 given that they are firmly one of the biggest casinos in the industry now. They’ve been able to carve out a niche for themselves, by simply putting the players first.
They’ve done this by jumping between several game developers in that time, before eventually settling with Microgaming, NetEnt and Evolution Gaming. Ironically, if we were to only pick three networks for a list of dozens, these would likely be the three.
The casino has just over 400 slots in total, which we think is a good number. They put a lot of effort into their jackpot and their mobile slots, which is why they have been voted as one of the best mobile casinos in recent years.
The jackpots speak for themselves and at the time of writing it’s over $17 million on offer, although we have seen this figure way above the $25 million at times.
We love that the casino offers a “hot and cold” feature, which highlights the games that are currently running hot and those that are running cold. Now, you can interpret this how you wish, but we actually see the cold as an opportunity to strike, given that they should hopefully be a due a win in the not too distant future. We would also suggest that you take this with a pinch of salt though, as all games are powered by a Random Number Generator (RNG).
LeoVegas are another brand that are still fairly new to online casino, opening their doors back in 2012. But even just a couple of years after starting, the company were winning prestigious industry awards, such as Mobile Casino Product of the Year at EGR Innovation Awards in 2014 and Best Gaming Operator of the Year at the ICE Magazine awards in 2013.
They’re another casino that has been able to tie links with some of the best in the business, such as Microgaming, NetEnt and IGT, to name just a few. The site now comes with over 600 slots as a result, which is one of the best stocked casinos that you will come across.
What stood out for us on the site was the “Must Fall Jackpots” that they included. We actually interpreted this as to their daily jackpots, given that other jackpot games were in the “all slots” section. But we still liked this touch as it allowed you to see the jackpots that were running for the day.
Some of the game highlights for us included the new Incinerator slot, Valhalla (classic), Paranormal Activity and Fortune of Sparta.
Dunder is still part of the “new breed” of casinos for us even though they have now been about since 2016, they’ve only just started making waves within the industry. The fact that they are able to host more than a dozen game developers means that they have every base covered when it comes to slots.
They have over 1,000 slots to choose from, which is one the biggest that we have seen. You could argue that it’s too many, but they organise them in a way that very few do, which makes it more than manageable.
For example, they have sections for slots with features such as stacked wilds, special wilds, falling symbols, special reels and bonus wheel. They also include your standard theme rooms as well, with thinks like Egypt, fairy tales, sports and Vegas. It’s actually one of the best menu systems that we have come across, although they do need that given the size of the caisno.
The design is unique to Dunder Casino as well, and it’s a really great design at that. It feels really modern and generally of a casino that has been around for decades, not just a few years.
Casumo have been one of the biggest casinos since they started life in 2012 and it’s been clear that have been keen to keep that crown ever since. They enlist a huge range of game developers to help them achieve this and as a result, they now boast over 1,500 games at the casino, with the vast majority of those slots.
The slots are extensive, and it can feel a little overwhelming to know where to start, especially that you can view the whole lot in one page, if you like. They can be broken down though, and you can even use their search function to find the game that you like. We liked that they include “top lists” as well, which highlights the most popular slots on site.
As you can imagine, the jackpot section has just about every title that you can think of and there is tens of millions up for grabs each and every day. The design of the casino is nice and simple, if a little unimaginative, although this means that it works great on mobile, with a huge range of slots that are mobile ready as well.
888 don’t need too much introduction here and they are one of the biggest gambling groups in the world. The 888 Casino has been one of the backbones to that success and with it they are now able to boast one of the best online casinos as well.
The slots section is one of the most interesting that we have come across, and that’s mainly to do with the fact that they are one of very casinos that actually produce their own slots that are unique to that casino. There’s not a huge range of games to choose from, but it offers some exclusivity, which is like god dust in the online casino sector.
The design of the casino is one that is totally unique as well, which is a huge bonus. They love to include a good mix of daily specials as well, which are usually your daily jackpots, although they do test their new in-house games here as well, before going into the full production, so keep an eye out for that.