Real Money Online Slots Guide

There aren’t many games to play for real money in a casino that is easier than putting your money into a slot machine. Choose your game, make your deposit and start spinning, right? Well, for most people that’s all the game entails, which is what the casino is hoping from players. Truthfully, there are a lot of concepts that players should take into consideration before they push that “Spin” button (or pull the lever if that is still an option). These factors apply to all forms of real money slots play, including live and online.

Legit Casinos Online wants to make sure all our players are as knowledgeable as possible before they start gambling for real money. We will be focusing our Real Money Guide more towards the online game, but rest assured that the topics discussed on this page will be relevant even if you are walking into a Las Vegas casino and sitting down at your favorite game.

History of Slot Machines

Slot machines have been around for a long time. While there is some argument as to who built the very first slot machine, the timeframe can be narrowed down to between 1891 and 1895. The original machines were reel-based games, and while the two original manufacturers had slightly different designs, they both worked on the same principle. A player would put a coin in the machine, which then allowed them to pull a lever making the reels spin, and depending on the random outcome of the spinning reels, a winning payout was assigned. In the case of the Liberty Bell machine, those wins triggered an automatic dispensing of coins into the machine’s lower tray. The sound of these coins hitting the metal tray continues to be the iconic sound of slot machines worldwide, regardless if real coins are being used.

Since that very first machine was released, it was apparent that slot machines were going to be very popular. Over the years, design changes came with more modern technology; soon the lever system was replaced with an entirely electronic push-button system, and soon after the reels themselves were replaced by digital versions. These new digital reels were much better from a maintenance standpoint and also allowed machines to change the theme without having to change a significant amount of hardware.

Even more significant than the change in physical hardware was the introduction of the Random Number Generator to slot machines. This would open the door to everything from expanded paylines to the first ever progressive jackpot, which to this day is one of the biggest draws for people playing slots for real money both live and online.

In the early 1990s, as the Internet started to make its way into homes across many parts of the world, it seemed only logical to take the gaming experience online as well. Not only would that give players the opportunity to play games without leaving their home, but operators wouldn’t need to keep buying up valuable real estate to put more machines on the floor.

The original online slots games were relatively simplistic and designed to mirror the play of the machines in a live casino environment. As the online version didn’t require a physical machine, online software companies had free reign to design as many themes as they could, all running from the same random number generator. The result is thousands of operators today with thousands of game titles to choose from. The industry continues to evolve, and slots maintain their popularity well over 100 years since their invention.

Why Play Slots Online For Real Money?

The short answer to this is always the same: you play slots for real money to win more real money. Yes, there are usually free versions of the exact same slot machines in an online casino, but could there be a worse sound than that of a jackpot win that only rewards you with play money?

Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that while slots games can be some of the most entertaining in a casino with all the detailed graphics, second screen animations, and bonus games, you are also paying for that entertainment. Slot machines tend to have the biggest hold percentage for a casino. We will get into that a little later on, but the abbreviated version is that theoretically, you are going to lose more money over the long run that at other games such as blackjack.

Don’t let that stop you from giving some games a try! With new titles coming out seemingly on a weekly basis, there will no doubt be a slot machine that you will fall in love with, and hopefully, that love will bring you a huge jackpot!

Social Casino Slots

If you are on Facebook, you may have noticed some of your friends playing casino games, and specifically slot machines, right there on the Facebook page. Usually, your friends will be trying to gift you free chips at these slots casinos or broadcasting how they won a jackpot, etc. While it all sounds fantastic, Social Casino slot machines are an even worse option than free play slots.

How can that be, you may be asking yourself? Well, software companies didn’t build slot games for FB just for your enjoyment…they wanted to make money. First, they are making money off your data. When you are playing a slot machine on Facebook, you usually have to allow the company to have access to part of your feed, which may sound innocent enough but we promise you that information is valuable to someone. Second, and more importantly, there is always an option to purchase “special chips” that either allows to you climb a leaderboard faster or unlock a new payline, etc. The thing about social slots machines, however, is while you may accumulate tons of credits, YOU CAN NEVER CASH THEM OUT FOR REAL MONEY. That’s right – you can pay real money for chips to use in a slot machine that you can never cash out from. Sounds pretty horrible to me. If you are planning to play for real money, you should be playing somewhere that you can also win real money.

What to Look For in Real Money Slots

While you may get lost in the different themes or the sheer volume of real money slot machines at any given online casino, it’s important to know the intricacies of what to look for when picking a game. There are so many details that separate one game from another, and all of these can impact both your entertainment and your potential to win. We are going to cover all the main items that you should be looking for when selecting an online slot machine to play for real money.

How Many Reels?

The first thing you should notice about any real money slot machine you are planning to play is the number of reels the game uses. While the industry continues to introduce new styles of gameplay, the majority of all Real Money online slot machines are either of the 3 Reel or 5 Reel variety.

What does it matter how many reels are in use? Well, the number of reels changes the total number of measurable outcomes and also changes the number of possible ways to find a winning combination. Most of the traditional slot machine games found in a land based casino were of the 3 Reel variety, including some of the most iconic games including Red, White and Blue and Fruit Slots. Both of those games have been perfectly replicated online, as well as hundreds of other games featuring themed symbols.

The 5 Reel slot machine, while one of the original designs back in the 1890s, did not have the same popularity at the beginning, and the extra reels cause machines to break down more easily. However, when the slot machines went digital, adding the extra reels was easy and as mentioned, opened the door for a whole new wave of betting patterns. All the online casinos that we have reviewed at Legit Casinos Online have both 3 Reel and 5 Reel games, with even a few daring to move to 7 Reel Slots as well.

How Many Paylines?

The next piece of the slots puzzle is the number of paylines a given machine allows. For those of you who are new to slot machines, the payline is the line through which the symbols on a slot machine run to generate wins and losses. In the days of physical machines with reels, there were not many options aside from the one payline straight across the middle of the game board. As the games progressed, so did the number of paylines, giving the player the illusion of having more chances to win but in actuality making a player gamble more money on each spin.

Digital real money slot machines do not have the obstacle of a physical machine on which paylines need to be displayed, and as a result now most slot machines you find in a land based casino and at online casinos offer a multitude of possible paylines. In some cases, you can find an online slot machine that allows you to bet on 50 different paylines, which can be terribly confusing (thankfully the computer goes ahead and shows you what lines were winners.

Remember, betting on a lot of paylines can be a lot of fun, but it can also become very pricey, so it is important to get a sense of how much your average spin will be if you take advantage of all the paylines available.

Available Denominations

This is where you really see the value for a live casino when it comes to slot machines. In the old days, you would walk in and see different areas reserve for various denominations of slots play, from quarters all the way up to the High Limit Room. With a digital game format, you can have all those denominations on the same machine playing the same title. This has transferred nicely into the online real money slot machine world, where virtually every title you find online allows you to pick your denomination.

One thing to be very careful about when it comes to denominations is matching the paylines to the amount wagered. If you get this wrong, you could find yourself spending a significant amount more money than you realized, and with the Autospin feature of many online slot machines, you may not be able to back out of the bet until it is too late. Here’s an example of what we mean:

You have decided to select a game to play at a 2 cent denomination. The game you have selected has 50 different paylines, which means your actual wager per spin is actually $1.00. In the case that you were going to bet that much per spin, you actually have better odds playing games with lower maximum paylines. Now if you decide to Autospin 100 times, all of a sudden you are in for $100 before you can stop the bleeding.

Progressive Jackpots

As we mentioned earlier, changing the guts of a real money slot machine from physical reels to a Random Number Generator opened the door to many changes in the game. One of the most popular of these was the introduction of the progressive jackpot. A progressive jackpot is a prize that is awarded when a particular rare outcome is produced. To pay for this jackpot, a small percentage of your bet per spin on these machines is separated out and placed in its own pool.

A progressive jackpot can be played locally on one particular machine, across a network of games at one casino, or across several casinos. The more machines involved in building the jackpot, the larger it can become and the faster it can accumulate the total. The most famous of these progressive jackpots has to be the Wheel of Fortune MegaMillions jackpot, which has awarded a prize of over $10 million on more than one occasion.

The online casino world also offers a significant number of progressive jackpots, with networks of casinos across the globe being able to contribute. There have been many seven-figure jackpot winners at real money online slot machines, and casinos are only too happy to promote that fact as they are a great marketing tool to attract new players.

Check out our review pages for casinos that offer progressive jackpot games.

Skill Based Slots Games

Over the last few years, the advent of skill gaming has come to the forefront of the slot machine world. What were once the small bonus games of a traditional real money slot machine are now becoming the focal point of the game. Skill-based Slot machines are being built and released by vendors at a rapid rate, and have reversed the flow of the game. In a skill-based slot machine, the game starts with you performing a task of some sort to win spins, where the better you perform is directly related to the number of spins you earn. Once you are armed with spins, the slot machine takes over, and you play real money slots as per usual until you are out of spins and must once again play the skill game to pile up more spins.

This part of the real money slot machine industry it still in its infancy and it will be interesting to watch the growth of this section of the market and what type of player it will attract.

Mobile Real Money Slots

These days, we don’t seem to be able to do anything without our mobile devices. As a result, computing power on these devices continues to increase at a rapid rate. This is excellent news for the online casino gambler because the games that are available for play via mobile are increasing in quality and in speed.

Depending on where you are trying to play real money slot machines from, you may have a couple of options to choose from with regards to mobile play. If you live in a jurisdiction where online gambling is legal, you will likely find a bunch of different slots apps for your iOS or Android-powered device where you can deposit and play for real money right in the app. It is more probable that when you are playing Real Money slot machines on your mobile device that you are doing so through the device’s browser. This doesn’t require the casino to have an app approved by the mobile platform operator, and while that may make the slot machine a fraction slower, it does give you the chance to play at virtually any casino that has software optimized for the mobile market.

Real Money Slots Strategy

Wait. What?

Believe it or not, playing slot machines for real money isn’t just a matter of pressing a button and waiting for a response. We have a full strategy guide for you but for the purposes of this overview, here are a few tips that you should follow if you want to maximize your output at a real money slot machine.

Understand the Payout Table

Different slots games, especially those with progressive jackpots, have different Return to Player amounts. Most software suppliers list their RTP percentages on their websites. It may take a little research, but it is worth it, in the long run, to know exactly how much you can expect to lose over a period of playing.

Manage Your Bankroll

Boring? Yes. Smart? Definitely. Look, real money slot machines were designed to take your money in a slow drip over the long haul. Playing with the casino’s strategy in mind puts you in the best position to not lose money quickly and therefore be around long enough to hit some of the bigger payouts.

Beware the Mega Payline Games

As we discussed earlier in the guide, you can get carried away very quickly when it comes to playing games with a large number of paylines. While the allure of a big win may seem worth it, you will see your balance dwindle very quickly if you start playing 25 paylines for 25 cents a spin. Make sure you find a game you enjoy that doesn’t try to fool you into betting every combination of outcomes on the board, and you will be a smarter, healthier real money slots player.

Real Money Slots FAQ

Can I practice playing slots to improve my game?

You can for sure play slots for training purposes, but it isn’t really a guarantee that you will improve your chances when you start playing for Real Money. Most Real Money Online Slot Machines will offer a play money version, so we suggest that maybe to determine the look and feel of a particular slot, you can give it a try but very quickly you should probably jump right into the real money version.

Are real money slot machines rigged to make me lose?

Any decent slot machine operator or vendor will NOT be rigging their games. Casino players are very savvy, and anything that looks somewhat shady is usually reported on some watchdog forum. In the early days of online gambling, there were no real regulations to which operators needed to adhere. At that point, you may have read a story or two about casinos that were fiddling with their games to increase the house edge.

Now, all software suppliers have their Random Number Generators certified by third-party auditing firms, and when they receive their certification, they allow their licensees to display the certification logo right on their homepage. Legitimate casino operators aren’t dumb; they know that if they get caught screwing with their players that are it a death sentence.

What denomination should I play to give me the best odds?

There isn’t really a formula for what denomination of game you should play to be a big winner. The rule of thumb is this: the more paylines you play, the more likely the odds are not in your favor. So, if we were going to recommend anything, it would be to play the simplest games like 3 Reel slots with only one payline. As for denomination, we recommend you play the lowest amount possible to trigger any progressive jackpot.

For more questions and answers about Real Money Slot Machines, check out our full Real Money Slot Machine FAQ page.