Playing slots not on Gamstop doesn’t mean having to compromise when it comes to fun, accessibility and big jackpots!
Slots, or slot machines, have over time become the most popular games in most physical casinos. That combination of fast play and huge jackpots means that anyone can hit it big in just a few seconds, giving slots games an obvious appeal to all gamblers. Online slots have a great advantage over their physical counterparts, however, in that the options and features available to online players can be so much greater, more interactive and more fun!
The great news for slots lovers is that online casinos now feature a huge variety of great slots, with many hundreds to choose from even at non-Gamstop slots sites. Top slots providers like Microgaming and Net Ent, whose games are some of the most popular in the world and which you’ve likely come across on more traditional UK sites, can also be found on slots sites not on Gamstop.
From simple 3-line slots to multiple ways-to-win, huge progressive jackpots, free spins and intriguing bonus rounds, everything you love about slots can be found at our top recommended online casinos, best for playing online slots.
Read on for more details on these great sites, including many with free spins and no deposit offers that are waiting to be claimed!
Best Casinos for Online Slot Machines
Non-Gamstop online slots, like all slots games, are based on the principles of the old-fashioned ‘one-armed bandit’. These mechanical machines tended to offer fast but limited play, as players yanked the arm to set physical reels spinning in the hopes of landing a winning combo.
However, even in land-based casinos many slots games have now done away with physical reels, instead combining the slots play we all know and love with more modern technology. Video screens and touch screens allow for far greater options, including animated bonus rounds that often borrow from the world of video games, and it’s these – the slots games that are the most fun to play – that have been most enthusiastically taken to heart by online players.
Incredible graphics, immersive sound and action-packed, intuitive gameplay combine to create a fun activity that’s always available. Meanwhile, innovations in progressive jackpots have seen the potential profits available to slots players take off into the stratosphere! Online slots also offer players greater control over the way they want to play, from variable stakes to multiple lines and ways-to-win, to opportunities to win free spins, bonuses or other prizes.
There are many online casinos not on Gamstop which offer a wide choice of slots games, so you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the best casino for online slots. Luckily there are plenty we can recommend, but we always advise customers to read up a little on a casino before making a deposit.
Slots from major providers such as Net Ent and Microgaming are rigorously and independently tested to ensure a fair game for all players, and every slot you find online should feature a very clear guide to payouts and gameplay. What’s more, many slots providers will also publish a ‘return-to-player’ percentage, which indicates on average how much of its players’ stakes will be won back over time (the higher this figure is, the better for players).
Whichever online slots site you choose, and whichever game you play, always make sure you know how the game plays and what you can expect to win.
History of Slot Machines
Slot machines have long been a favourite of online casinos as well as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. If you’ve set foot in a physical casino – especially in the past 20 years – you’re sure to have noticed how popular slots have become, as the banks of flashing lights and spinning reels have grown larger and larger over time. You’ll often find slots positioned near the entrance to a casino in a prominent position, as nothing brings in customers like seeing a punter hit a big win on a lucky spin! But how did it all begin, and when?
Mechanical gambling machines first began to appear in American saloons sometime around the late 1870s, offering customers simple games such as a two-horse race or a spinning wheel on which to place wagers. An attendant was required to pay out winners, however, as that part of the process was not yet automated. The first fully automated slot machine, or fruit machine as they are sometimes known in the UK, is believed to have appeared around 1893. San Francisco inventor Charles Fey is celebrated as creating the first of the coin-operated gambling machines, as well as the most successful and popular slot machine of its time: the Liberty Bell Slot Machine.
Paying out a huge (for the time) $0.50 jackpot, the Liberty Bell Slot Machine featured three reels and a range of symbols including horseshoes, spades, diamonds, hearts and the famous Liberty Bell itself. Fey is also notable for creating the Card Bell, a three-reel machine that exclusively used playing cards for symbols and required players to try and hit a winning three-card poker hand. As a result it could easily be argued that the German-born Fey not only helped to create and popularise slot machines, but was also the creator of video poker! Other poker-styled slot machines were created around the same time, notably by the Ideal Toy Company of Chicago and the Brooklyn firm of Sittman & Pitt, so this one might not be quite as clear cut.
Due to the illegal status of gambling at California at the time, Fey was unable to copyright his inventions, and a slew of imitators soon followed. The result was a boom in slots that is arguably still growing to this day.
Online Slot Machine Rules
Online slots not on Gamstop, along with their counterparts in physical casinos or online casinos licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), share many similarities. And yet the near-endless variety made possible by modern technology means that their differences can also be significant.
So firstly, what traits do these games usually share when it comes to rules? It used to be true to say that the action only starts when a customer pays up front for their spin, but with the growing popularity of free spins this is no longer the case. What is true is that players are generally able to select their stake (sometimes referred to as ‘coin size’), as well as the number of lines they wish to play (more lines are more expensive to play, but provide more chances to win). Other widespread similarities include options for ‘Fast Play’ or ‘Auto Play’, letting players set spin, win or loss limits before setting the reels running for multiple automatic spins in a row. It’s also usually possible to bet the maximum with a single button, and all slots games should feature a payout screen which explains how each winning line works, the prizes players will receive for hitting each combination, and details of any bonus rounds.
It’s these bonus rounds that hold the key to how slots games can differ from one another, especially online where so much variation in gameplay is possible. Bonus rounds are usually achieved by hitting a specific combination of symbols – often of ‘Wild’ or ‘Scatter’ symbols – and tend to take the player away from the ‘regular’ gameplay of the slot and into a new area of the game where prizes can be increased, but no extra credits can be lost. As you can imagine, modern technology has opened the doors to a massive boost in the playability and variety of these bonus rounds, borrowing from video games, mobile games and other gambling activities to create involving and spectacular games-within-the games.
Prizes in bonus rounds can reach crazy figures, which is always attractive to a slots player. Another way for players to see insane returns on their investment is through the creation of progressive jackpots. As the name implies, these are jackpots that continue to grow every time the slot game is played. Some may be guaranteed to pay out by the time they reach a certain size, or others may be guaranteed to pay out by a certain time. Some may even have a minimum guarantee, meaning you won’t necessarily have to wait for players to fill it up before it pays out. Extra value? Yes please!
However much a new slot game is similar to (or differs from) a game you have already played, we recommend always checking out the slot’s individual rules page and its payout information. After all, a good gambler stays informed.
Tips For Playing Online Slots
Online slots and other slot machines pay out in a way that is regulated by the game’s internal random number generator (RNG) and its return-to-player (RTP) percentage. This latter figure is a finely tuned and independently verified number that specifies exactly how much of the money taken in by a game will be awarded as prizes over the long term. A game’s RTP percentage will often be available to view on the operator’s website, or on the site of the game’s provider.
In a physical casino it may be possible to watch a specific slot over time to try and gauge when it may be more likely to pay out. For example, if over a long period of time you have watched a lot of money going into a machine, but very little coming out, you may assume that a payout is ‘due’ thanks to the RTP ‘kicking in’. While this way of thinking is not technically wrong, you should be aware that the RTP is designed to work over the long term, not the short term – and the ‘long term’ in this case may prove to be much, much longer than you have been watching a particular slot!
So it’s safe to say that success at slots games, both online and with physical machines, comes down to luck and timing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some valuable tips you should know in order to get the most out of your time playing slots. Here are a few that could help you raise your game.
- Pick your online slot carefully
As we mention above, slots can be very different from one another, especially online, so think about what it is you most enjoy about slots. Is it the promise of free spins, and the satisfaction of banking real cash using ‘house money’? Is it the chance of hitting a huge progressive jackpot, and landing the type of payout usually reserved for lottery winners? Or is it the fun gameplay and ‘nothing to lose’ element of a great bonus round that keeps you coming back to your favourite slots? Consider your top priorities and make sure you choose a game that ticks all your boxes!
- Don’t ignore the Terms & Conditions
Life these days is full of the dreaded ‘Ts & Cs’, and so many of us have become used to simply clicking ‘I agree’ when faced with a wall of text online. But the fact is, if you’re going to wager your hard earned money online, you should be fully aware of all the facts before you place a bet. Are you sure you know how to trigger the bonus rounds, or what all the symbols mean? If you do trigger a bonus round, what do you need to know then? Are you playing at the right stakes to qualify for the jackpot? Are you up to speed with things like the game’s minimum stake, maximum payout, or payline options? Check each game’s details before playing, from its Terms & Conditions to payout information, and you’ll never miss an opportunity or experience an unexpected surprise during your play.
- Manage your bankroll
This advice should apply to any gambling activity, but it’s important to remember never to play beyond your means or chase losses. Some things can make this harder when playing online slots, such as the speed of the game, the one-click nature of its gameplay, or the ‘Auto Play’ facility. Keep your wits about you at all times to play smarter and win bigger!
Popular Online Slot Games
It’s thought that up to 70% of a physical casino’s income is thanks to slots, so it’s no wonder they can take up such a lot of space. Anyone visiting Las Vegas, for example, is sure to come away with a new favourite slot machine thanks to the sheer volume of games they have available! And still the number of physical slot games is dwarfed by the truly huge variety to be found online.
Hundreds upon hundreds of different games are available to players around the world, around the clock, so online players are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a favourite, or even just picking a new one to try.
Non-Gamstop casino and slots sites feature most of the world’s most popular slots games, created by legendary game providers such as Net Ent and Microgaming. These include the likes of Net Ent’s celebrated five reel slots such as ‘Starburst’, ‘Gonzo’s Quest’ and ‘Guns ‘N’ Roses’, as well as Microgaming’s big names like ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Break Da Bank Again’. And among them all you’re sure to find some new favourites, like ‘Big British Bake’, ‘Football Fever’ or ‘Wild Cherry Blast’. It’s usually possible to try new slot games for fun before staking any real money on them, so why not check out what’s available?
Popular Software Providers For Online Slots
While still a relatively young industry, online slots have been around long enough for some major players to make themselves known as providing the best games.
When playing slots not on Gamstop, you’re likely to come across many of the same games, from the same providers, as you would elsewhere on UKGC-licensed sites. Microgaming is one of the best established gaming software providers out there, and together with Net Ent are the names behind many of the world’s favourite online slots including the legendary ‘Starburst’.
By visiting and using slots sites not on Gamstop, however, you’ll also have access to a larger world of slots brought to you by a wider range of providers. We’d recommend also trying slots from less well-known companies such as Amatic, Playstar, Evoplay and Saucify to really explore everything these fun games have to offer.