Online Slots for Real Money | July 2024

Playing online slots for real money is an exciting activity, but getting started can be daunting for players new to online casinos.

In this primer on real money online slots, we'll cover everything you need to know including how to pick a legal casino site, collect casino bonuses, and play slots online.

CONTENTS

Legal online casino gaming is currently available in seven states:

While casino gambling at brick-and-mortar locations is legal in several more states, online gaming has a long way to go before becoming more widespread. Sweepstakes Casinos give bettors outside the states listed above an option to play slots online with real cash prizes.

HOW DO ONLINE SLOTS WORK?

Online slot machines are virtually identical to the video slots in land-based casinos. Many top branded titles like Buffalo and Wolf Run are also available in digital form with the same symbols and payouts they have on casino floors.

One of the biggest differences between playing at an online slot casino and playing in person is how you make deposits and withdrawals. A traditional slot machine at a retail casino accepts cash or tickets when you start. If you win, you'll receive a printed ticket or remaining credits when you cash out.

When playing slots online, you make a real money deposit to the operator and play whatever slots games you want to with your existing credits. Whether you want to keep funding your account or withdraw your winnings, you can do so anytime from the comfort of your home computer or mobile device.

There's a good argument that playing slots online is easier than playing them in person as you never have to worry about putting money into the machine or taking it out. As long as there is money in your online casino account, those credits will follow you to whatever slot game you play. Learn more about the similarities and differences between casino games in person and online in the next section. Or check out our article on how to play slots online.

ONLINE SLOTS VS. LAND-BASED SLOTS

Most online slots offer the same bonus features and free games as classic slots in retail casinos. Online progressive slots have jackpot totals that rival Vegas slots, paying out over six figures or even $1 million+ on top prizes. You risk and win real money when you play online slots just like you do when playing in person.

So, what differences are there between online slot machines and in-person slot machines? In most cases, the online casino has the edge:

  • Your Favorite Slot Machines Are Always Open: When you are playing on a crowded casino floor, the best slots are often unavailable. You never have to worry about that when playing online video slots for real money as your digital seat is always open.
  • The Vegas Slots Experience Without the Hassle: There is a certain thrill to playing slots games in person. But there are also a lot of headaches—commuting to the casino, finding parking, handling cash, and finding an open slot machine that you want to play. Why deal with the hassle when you can play slots on your phone at any time?
  • Slots Games With Transparent Return-To-Player Stats: Slot machines are always unpredictable. But when you play a slot game online, you can easily look up its return-to-player (RTP) percentage and volatility rating to get an accurate idea of what you're dealing with.
  • Better Odds to Win Real Money: In addition to being able to see the RTP percentage on your chosen slot game online, you can also rest assured that its return will likely be better than those of video slots at brick-and-mortar casinos. Since online slot casinos don't have the overhead that retail locations do, they can afford to pay out better on average. Typical online slots range between 94%-98% with land-based slots ranging from 88% to 94%.

ONLINE SLOT TERMINOLOGY

The world of online slots has its own lingo, but we're here to translate with this little glossary:

  • Reels - The vertical columns on a slot machine that spin around before setting in place. Classic slots used to have three reels, while it's common to see more on many of today's games.
  • Symbols - The images or icons displayed on the reels, such as cherries, bars, or sevens. Each symbol has a designated value in the game when matched with others. Many standard video slots have screens that display five reels, each being three symbols high.
  • Spin - The name for a turn on the slot machine. In person, you hit the button or pull the lever on classic slots. Online slots mimic this move by allowing you to click or tap the spin button.
  • Bet Size - The amount of money wagered on each spin. Players can generally choose their denomination and the number of credits they want to bet. Online slots have a wide range of bet sizes to accommodate players with different bankrolls.
  • Wilds - Wild symbols can substitute for most other symbols, creating additional opportunities for winning combinations. In most cases, wilds count for all symbols except for those that trigger bonus rounds.
  • Paylines - The set of predetermined lines that matching symbols can land on to award prizes. While old-fashioned slots only had one payline that symbols could land on, today's multi-payline slots deliver many ways to land a paying combination.
  • Paytable - A chart or list that displays all of the paylines and symbol values for the slot machine you are playing. Check the "Game Rules" or "info" section to find the payline for a given slot machine.
  • Payout - The total amount of money awarded on a spin with all winning paylines combined. High payout slots refer to games that deliver frequent payouts.
  • Scatter Pays - Scatter symbols trigger a payout or award free spins regardless of where they land on the reels. They are unique from other matching symbols that must land on a payline to count as a win.
  • Bonus Rounds - A special feature, such as free games or a mini-game, that offers players the chance to win additional prizes. Bonus features in bonus games can help you score much bigger payouts than those available in the base game.
  • Free Spins - A popular bonus round in which the player is awarded a certain number of spins that they don't have to wager additional money on. It is also common for free spin bonus rounds to include additional perks like win multipliers or extra wilds.
  • Jackpots - Large cash prizes that are awarded at random when specific criteria in the game are met, depending on the rules of the slot. Progressive jackpots are prizes that continue to grow until a lucky winner comes along.
  • Return-To-Player (RTP) - How much a slot machine is expected to pay back to players over time. As an example, a slot game with a listed RTP percentage of 95% will pay out 95 cents on every dollar wagered in the long run.
  • Volatility - The degree of risk a slot machine has. High payout slots that pay a large number of small wins are considered low-volatility (low-risk), while boom-or-bust machines with high-paying bonuses or progressive jackpots that pay infrequently are considered high-volatility.
  • Random Number Generator (RNG) - The mechanism that generates random outcomes on a slot machine. Every spin has the potential to be a dud or trigger a high-paying bonus round. The RNG algorithm is constantly shuffling potential outcomes until you press the spin button.
  • Slot Tournament - A competitive event in which players compete against each other to see who can produce the best results on preselected slot games. The top performers stand to win cash prizes or free play credits.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU PLAY SLOTS

Playing online slots for real money is a form of entertainment. There is no skill involved when it comes to tapping the spin button. Random chance will determine your short-term outcomes, and your long-term outcomes will shift towards the return-to-player (RTP) percentages listed on the machines that you play. While you don't have any control over the individual spins themselves, you do have control over the games you choose.

So what should you be looking out for when you play slots?

THEME

The most obvious part of the selection process is the theme of the game. Players will naturally gravitate towards games with symbols, designs, and sound effects that they enjoy.

After playing slots for a while, players will also build an affinity towards certain game features and bonus rounds. The more you play, the easier it will be for you to figure out what you have the most fun with.

book of the sphinx online slot for real money
The Book of the Sphinx slot at Golden Nugget Online Casino features a fun Ancient Egyptian theme. The music, graphics, and overall ambience transport you back in time.

VOLATILITY

Digging deeper into your personal preferences, you should decide what level of variance you are most comfortable with. Generally speaking, most slot machines fall into one of two categories; low-variance slots that pay out small amounts often, and high-variance slots that infrequently pay out large amounts and often pay out nothing at all. These are also known as low-volatility and high-volatility slots.

Low-volatility slots are great for players who want to preserve their bankroll and get the biggest bang for their buck with as much play as possible. But on the downside, you don't really stand to win as much with every spin. High-volatility slots are all about the thrill of the hunt for big scores like progressive jackpots. However, players have to be ready for big downswings in between the big hits.

In the long run, a high-volatility machine with a 96% RTP and a low-volatility machine with a 96% RTP will both theoretically deliver the same return. The difference is how high and low the peaks and valleys will be along the way.

BEST ONLINE CASINOS FOR ONLINE SLOTS FOR REAL MONEY

When it comes to playing real money slots online, there are many great options to choose from. Here's our list of the best real money slot casinos.

BETMGM CASINO

CAESARS PALACE ONLINE CASINO

FANDUEL CASINO

  • States Available: Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
  • Popular Slot Games: Fire and Roses Joker, Gold Fish Feeding Time Treasure, Rich Little Piggies Hog Wild, World of Wonka
  • Quick Facts: FanDuel features over 600 games in total including some exclusive live dealer options for casino game players.
  • Welcome Bonus: Deposit $10, Get $20 In Site Credit & Play It Again up to $1000!

BETRIVERS CASINO

  • States Available: Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
  • Popular Slot Games: 88 Fortunes, Cobra Hearts, Hypernova Megaways, Lightning Gorilla
  • Quick Facts: BetRivers is the only online casino on this list available in Delaware. In addition to the streamlined casino platform, you'll appreciate the accompanying sportsbook if you're into online sports betting as well.

DRAFTKINGS CASINO

  • States Available: Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
  • Popular Slot Games: Bonanza, Cash Machine, Lucky Larry's Lobstermania 2, Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme Spin
  • Quick Facts: The DraftKings app is fully optimized for mobile, making it one of the best online slot casinos for players using a phone or tablet. In addition to deposit bonuses, DraftKings also has promotions for existing customers like a VIP rewards program and a refer-a-friend bonus.
  • Welcome Bonus: Play $5, Get $50 in Casino Credits + $35 Extra on Deposit!

BORGATA CASINO

  • States Available: New Jersey, Pennsylvania
  • Popular Slot Games: Buffalo Chief, Colossal Diamonds, MGM Grand Millions, Rising Rewards
  • Quick Facts: Borgata has a handful of exclusive progressive slots including the MGM Grand Millions, which has had progressive jackpots of over $4 million.
  • Welcome Bonus: Get up to a $1,000 Deposit Match + $20 in Bonus Credits!

FANATICS CASINO

  • States Available: Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
  • Popular Slot Games: Cleopatra, Dancing Drums Explosion, Fortune Coin, Jin Ji Bao Endless Treasures
  • Quick Facts: Fanatics Casino is the new kid on the block in the real money slots casino industry having just launched in Michigan and Pennsylvania in January 2024. The new site offers a diverse collection that includes both classic slots and new multi-payline slots.
  • Welcome Bonus: Deposit $5 and Get 250 Free Spins!

GOLDEN NUGGET ONLINE CASINO

  • States Available: Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
  • Popular Slot Games: 10,000 Wonders, Golden Nugget Hyper Strike, Green Machine Deluxe, Zeus God of Thunder
  • Quick Facts: Players can enjoy hundreds of real money slots online at Golden Nugget including some exclusive progressive jackpot slots.
  • Welcome Bonus: Deposit $5 Get $50 in Casino Credits!

MOST POPULAR ONLINE SLOTS TITLES

Many of the most popular Vegas slots are also available as online casino slots. Here's a list of classic slot machine hits that you can play at many of your favorite online casinos.

  • 88 Fortunes by Light & Wonder
  • Buffalo Gold Collection by Anaxi
  • Cash Machine by Everi Digital
  • China Shores by Konami
  • Cleopatra II by IGT
  • Double Diamond by IGT
  • Gold Fish Feeding Time Treasure by Light & Wonder
  • Invaders From The Planet Moolah by Light & Wonder
  • Kitty Glitter by IGT
  • Kronos by Light & Wonder
  • Monopoly Millionaire by Light & Wonder
  • Mustang Money by Ainsworth
  • Red Hot Tamales by IGT
  • Regal Riches by IGT
  • Rich Little Piggies - Hog Wild by Light & Wonder
  • Timber Wolf by Anaxi
  • Wheel of Fortune Ruby Riches by IGT
  • Wicked Winnings II by Anaxi
  • Wolf Run by IGT
  • Zeus III by Light & Wonder

BEST ONLINE SLOTS BY RTP

The return-to-player (RTP) percentage is the amount of money that a player can expect to win back on every dollar wagered on that slot game in the long run. For example, when playing real money slots games with RTP percentages of 97%, you can expect to win $97 on every $100 you bet. Luck will dictate whether you win less or more than that rate in the short term, but over time, the rules and payouts of the game dictate its projected RTP.

It is important to consider the volatility of a slot game when analyzing its RTP. A simple low-volatility slot with no bonus games and frequent small payouts will often pay out pretty closely to its stated RTP in any given session. On the other hand, high-volatility progressive jackpot slots with multipliers and other bonus features may generate massive wins on rare occasions that attempt to offset multiple losing sessions.

The theoretical math would eventually work out on the return-to-player percentage, but the real-world experience is very different. Think about volatility and RTP before you play real money slots so that you can choose online casino slots that best suit your personal preferences.

Here's a list of some of the best slots available online in terms of RTP %:

  • Mega Joker by NetEnt - 99% RTP
  • BloodSuckers by NetEnt 98% RTP
  • Medusa Megaways by NextGen - 97.63% RTP
  • White Rabbit Megaways by Big Time Gaming - 97.24% RTP
  • Secrets of Atlantis by NetEnt - 97.07% RTP
  • Gorilla Go Wilder by NextGen - 97.04% RTP
  • Steam Tower by NetEnt - 97.04% RTP

LOOK OUT FOR ONLINE SLOTS BONUS OFFERS

The competition is fierce among online casinos. To stand out against their competitors, casino operators offer slot players some outstanding bonus offers. And the best part of all for players is that you don't have to choose just one.

Taking advantage of multiple online slots bonus offers is a great way to tilt the odds in your favor and to try out the legal casinos available in your state. You can use the casino credits you receive on your welcome offers to try out games that interest you and see how each site's app works on your preferred device.

Just make sure to read the fine print on each welcome offer before you accept it. Understanding the criteria to earn the maximum potential bonus is important as you can only cash in on a first-deposit bonus once per site, so you might as well make the most of it. It's also good to know the wagering requirements to unlock your bonus funds in advance, which you can always find in the offer's terms and conditions.

Most online slots bonus offers come in the following forms:

  • Deposit Match - One of the most common casino bonuses you will come across is a deposit match. For example, a site may offer a 100% match on your first deposit up to $200. So, if you make your first real money deposit of $75, you will receive a 100% match of $75 in casino credits for a total bankroll of $150. If you have the bankroll to do so, it is best to deposit the maximum amount that the casino will match so that you can get the best value possible on this promotion.
  • Losses Back - Another popular online casino welcome offer is to have your losses on the first day covered up to a certain amount. This is essentially a rebate. For instance, if a casino is offering 100% of your losses back up to $250 on your first day of play and you lose $81, you'll be awarded $81 worth of casino credits. That makes the amount covered effectively risk-free, as you'll get it back in credits to play with again if you lose. And if you win? Even better, as you'll walk away with your winnings as usual.
  • Free Spins - Free spins are usually added to a deposit match or losses back bonus. So, in addition to that welcome offer, you'll get a certain number of free spins on a featured machine. These spins usually come at a low bet size.
  • No Deposit - Some casinos will give you slot credits or free spins simply for signing up for an account, no deposit required. These welcome offers are tough to beat as there is no risk at all, and they give you the chance to try out some games before making a financial commitment.

FREE ONLINE SLOTS

Social casinos are online platforms that offer various slots and table games that players can enjoy for free. As opposed to playing online slots for real money, social casinos allow you to play free online slots with a virtual currency to keep track of your winnings.

Play these free online slots directly on the web browser of the social casino's page or via the app. One of the biggest benefits of this style of gameplay is that it gives slots fans the chance to try out online slots in a risk-free environment. You can get a feel for how online slot games look and perform without having to make a real money deposit.

Another option for players looking for free online slots is to visit real money casinos like DraftKings Casino or Golden Nugget Online Casino. Both of these sites allow you to play demo versions of most of their games, and you don't even need an account to do so. Practicing for free before you play for real should make you feel much more comfortable with the online casino experience.

AVOID THESE ONLINE SLOTS

When you play online slots on a legal state-regulated casino app, you know exactly what you are getting. Each of these casinos is licensed and approved to operate by your state's government. Your personal information is secure. Your money is safe. You are protected.

The opposite is true when you play on offshore casino sites. You never truly know what you are getting or who you are dealing with. And you don't have any legal recourse if something goes wrong. If an offshore casino tempts you into signing up for an account with false advertising and doesn't deliver on its promises, there's nothing you can do about it. Games can be rigged against you. Money won fairly may not be paid out. We've sadly seen it all before.

Steer clear of the sketchy sites below:

  • Prism Casino - Prism Casino is a clear example of a bad actor that draws unsuspecting players in with a ridiculous welcome bonus offer that's far too good to be true. And instead of the lightning-fast payouts it promises, Prism Casino either takes months to process payments or just won't pay out at all.
  • Liberty Bell Casino - Liberty Bell Casino uses another site's skin to appear legitimate. Players who deposited money and played games believing they were playing at a legitimate casino received the bad news when their payments were never processed.
  • Lucky 18 Casino - Lucky 18 Casino offers new players a no-deposit bonus or a massive match bonus on their first deposit to draw them in. And like so many other scam sites, this casino refuses to pay out winnings.

RESPONSIBLE GAMING

Video slots that you can play online are a source of entertainment and enjoyment for responsible gamblers. Unfortunately, they are also a source of temptation for problem gamblers. To engage in responsible gambling, players must always be in control when playing online slot games. This means having a set gambling budget at all times and never wagering money that you can't comfortably afford to lose.

Slot real money apps have resources in place to help you maintain control. These resources include:

  • Deposit Limits - Setting daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limits on your account.
  • Wager Limits - Setting a limit on the amount you can bet in a day, week, or month.
  • Max Single Wager Limits - Setting limits on the amount you can bet on any single wager.
  • Time Limits - Setting limits on the amount of time in a day you can spend on your slots casino app or site.
  • Cool Off or Self Exclusion - Prevent yourself from accessing your account for a set period.

If you ever sense that you are losing control, seek out the problem gambling resources offered by your slots casino to ensure that you always only play online within comfortable parameters. You can also reach out for help at any time by calling 1-800-GAMBLER or visiting GamblersAnonymous.org.

ONLINE SLOTS FAQS

This section delivers the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about playing online slots for real money.

WHERE CAN I PLAY ONLINE SLOTS?

Online slot games are available at many reputable casinos including BetMGM, Caesars Palace, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, Borgata, Fanatics, and Golden Nugget. You can also play slots online at social casinos like High 5, Pulsz, and WOW Vegas.

WHERE ARE ONLINE CASINOS LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES?

Online casinos are currently legal in the following seven states: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Slot players in other states will have to use social casinos to play slots online.

WHAT OTHER CASINO GAMES CAN I PLAY?

Slot machines aren't the only casino games that players can gamble on at their favorite state-regulated online casino. Other popular options include blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, three-card poker, and video poker. Most online slot casinos even have live dealer versions of these exciting table games.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR ONLINE SLOT GAMES?

Online slot machines like Buffalo, Cleopatra, and Double Diamond are popular due to their existing reputation as fun and well-known Las Vegas slots at retail casinos. Real money slot games that are online exclusives like Mega Joker and Medusa Megaways are popular because of their high return-to-player percentages.

ARE FREE SLOTS AVAILABLE?

Slot players looking for free slots have a few options available. Some popular online casinos like DraftKings and Golden Nugget have free slot demos that you can try out with no sign-in or deposit required. You can also access free slots at social casinos that don't require deposits.

IS PLAYING ONLINE SLOTS SAFE?

Playing real money online slots is perfectly safe when done at legal state-regulated online casinos like the ones featured on this page. Avoid illegal and unregulated offshore casinos to ensure a safe online gaming experience.