Gambling illustrations by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Know Your Slots: The Different Machine Types Explained

By: Claire Ward

Slot machines have been around for well over a century. Today, they have enjoyed a renewed attention thanks to the popularity of online casino sites.

There is definitely a lot of variety in the slot marketplace. So, knowing which kinds of machines are available and understanding how they work before you dive in is a good idea.

To that end, here is a quick overview of the different slot machine types and what benefits they bring to the table for players.

Progressive Jackpot Slot Machines

The concept behind progressive jackpot slots is simple enough; all players are effectively contributing to a central prize pool. The biggest jackpot pays out whenever a given combination of symbols are hit.

The longer that the main prize remains intact, the larger it will grow. Progressive jackpot slot machines are found both at land-based casinos and at online gambling sites, often with multiple machines contributing to the total jackpot. It is no surprise that this has led to record-breaking wins in recent years.

Bingo Slot Machines

As outlined in this comprehensive guide on electronic bingo machines, slots which aim to emulate the experience of playing bingo dont pit you directly against ‘the house’, but rather require two or more players to compete against one another.

This creates a more communal, social experience as compared to standard slot games. While there are still spinning reels and different symbols, the bingo-based inspiration for these games is an interesting twist. In general you can expect to find bingo slot machines at brick and mortar casinos more commonly than online. There are plenty of bingo-based gambling sites that have this market cornered in the digital sphere.

Multi-payline slot machines

In a classic slot setup, you will find a set of three reels which, once set spinning, will land in a random order. If the middle line of symbols match a paying combination, you will receive a prize. For multi-payline slots, this concept is expanded upon even further. Rather than one horizontal line from left to right being eligible for symbol-matching purposes, many of them are.

Multi-payline slots can have anywhere from three or four paylines to over 50 available. Another consideration to note here is that the more paylines you want to play, the more money you will need to bet on a given spin.

It is also worth checking to see whether multi-payline machines have particular requirements for jackpot eligibility tied to the number of paylines played. You may need to bet across all potential paylines if you want to walk away with the top prize.

Bonus Game Slot Machines

In the era of video slots and online slots, it has become common for machines to offer bonus games built in alongside the standard reel-spinning aspects of play.

These bonus games can take all sorts of forms. One form is simply allowing you to match playing cards and other symbols in a pair-finding exercise. Other games give you control of a playable character in a small-scale equivalent of a skill-based video game.

There will typically be conditions which need to be met in order to unlock bonus games, such as matching a certain number of wild symbols.

Aside from being a nice change of pace and an entertaining distraction in their own right, bonus games in slot machines can also provide you with a means to multiply your winnings even further. These bonus games are potentially lucrative, so long as the reels fall favorably for you.

Themed Slot Machines

While plenty of slots use symbols such as playing card suits and juicy fruits, others are centered around other themes and points of inspiration. Some slots are now fully licensed spin-offs from major motion pictures.

While you might think that these themed slots are different to their “by-the-numbers” slot counterparts, the truth is that they rely on the same principles for play. If you understand how one machine works, then you should have an easy time getting into the others that are available.

It is this accessibility and ease of use which makes slot machines so attractive compared with other types of gambling. Whether you play at a casino or online, you should be able to quickly get the hang of the different games that are offered.

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