Types of online slot machines (2021 update)

Mar 30, 2021 Artyom Ustinov
Table of Contents
Online slots are the most important part of any internet casino, for they are the major player attraction. It comes as no surprise that the industry of online slots is developing, and sometimes it is even difficult to understand all the peculiarities of the types of slots. Now we will sort things out.

What are the criteria, upon which types of slots differ?

Game type

Among the game types there are 4 most prominent:

  • classic slots
  • video slots
  • mega spins
  • progressive slots

Classic slots

Classic slots are a tribute to the slot machines at the dawn of their existence. Since many players experience nostalgic feelings about physical slot machines with a lever, producers of contemporary online slots continue to release such games online. Depending on the game type , though, the number of reels, paylines and other parameters may differ, but the overall theme, fruit symbols and the atmosphere of a retro casino are pertained.

In most classic slots there are 3 reels and a little – in comparison to video slots – number of paylines. There are also simpler bonus rounds.

An example of a classic slot:

Amatic – Hot 27

Amatic Hot 27

Fruit machines

Among classic slots, fruit machines can be singled out as a separate category. The term itself comes from old school British physical machines which had fairly simple rules: a player only needed to collect a winning combination on a single payline. This kind of game is perfect for beginners.

Fruit machines produced today, though, may deviate from classics. Loot at the fruit slot “Fruit zen” by BetSoft.

Video slots

At the moment, video slots are the most popular type of slots in online casinos. The thing is that anyone can find a thematic slot he or she prefers. Usually such a slot has 5 reels and up to several hundreds paylines. Excellent graphics, animations and sound effects make the game process far more engaging. In addition, often the main characters of the games are popular characters from movies, animated movies or even members of musical groups. The slot below is dedicated to the legendary group Guns N’ Roses, where it is possible to choose one of five hits as a background music.

Another example is a slot based on the “Jurassic Park” movie. The slot features characters from the movie and the movie soundtrack. The pearl of the game is a T. Rex, walking among the trees and giving out additional bonuses.

Mega spin slots

This is the next level of gaming. A player can play 3 to 9 games simultaneously. When he or she chooses desirable games and bet amount and pushes the button, the story begins. Up to 45 reels in all the games start spinning simultaneously, which means that the chances of winning and hitting a jackpot multiply. Usually, 3-reel slots are played in mega spins, but there are exclusions as well.

Progressive slots

Progressive slots are a network of slot machines that share a jackpot. Every time someone plays a progressive jackpot game, its total amount increases until won by a single lucky player. Consequently, the amount of jackpot depends on the number of people playing the games.

The originator of progressive jackpots is the first producer of online slots, the Microgaming company. Its jackpots set records, the latest being in the Mega Moolah game in 2015. It was won by Jon Heywood, equaled EUR 17,879,645.12 and entered the Guinness World Records.

jackpot winner

Since we are talking about jackpots, it is worth mentioning different types of progressive jackpots and also a fixed jackpot.


Standalone Progressive Jackpot

This is a progressive jackpot, which can be won on one slot only. Consequently, the jackpot is accumulated slower, being still a large sum.

Proprietary Progressive Jackpot

Another kind of jackpots, shared inside a single casino. Don’t expect a multi-million winning here, however, the chance to win such a jackpot is higher.

Network jackpot

The jackpot sum is accumulated owing to players playing in different online casinos, which use the software of one provider (NetEnt, Microgaming, BetSoft…). The opportunity to hit a jackpot here is low, but the sum is cosmic.

Fixed jackpot

In this case, a casino sets a sum which does not change. So, neither the number of players, nor playing time or the round size impact the size of a winning. The fixed jackpot is less popular than the progressive one, but still is of demand.

Apart from types of game and the availability of jackpots, slots can be classified according to reel amount, paylines, bet lines, themes, quality of video etc. The most important thing is that your players like them.

2021 update

In 2021, all of the above slot types are still popular among gamblers. Classics lovers keep playing classic slots, and those who like innovation and technology, try something new. Among the most popular trends of 2021 there are several:

  • 3D slots
  • Freeplay
  • Virtual Reality Slots
  • Provably Fair slots

Gaining more and more popularity within the last few years, 3D slots developed into games that give a really exciting and realistic experience. On the market emerge new brands that compete with each other for the title of the best 3D slot provider, like Endorphina, Pragmatic Play and some more. But one of the best slot providers, is BetSoft.

This developer produces so-called cinematic slots, which let players dive into the game completely. Every game is not simply pushing the button, but a unique story. First the player watches an introductory video, which explains the plot. Then he starts playing, and the playing seems more like a quest. Numerous bonus features, animations and music keep the level of excitement high.

Another popular trend of this year is freeplay. It is easy to explain, because, among a great variety of games, players prefer to first try them for free. Those who are focused on the process rather than on the winnings may stop here, and other would play for real in your casino if you offer them really good trendy slots.

The third major trend is virtual reality. Needs to be said that this innovation is represented not only in slots, but in online gambling in general. For instance, Microgaming has developed a virtual reality Roulette, and Kiron is specialising in VR sports betting. Slots are not an exclusion, so you can find some casinos on the internet, e.g. VR casino.

Finally, in 2021, we can expect to see a rise of provably fair slot games for cryptocurrencies. These slot games work much like traditional video slots but have one feature that no other slot game has. You can use a special built-in system to trace back each spin and see how it came to be. This allows you to see for yourself that the casino is not trying to swindle you and fix the outcomes of spins. Every outcome is verifiable, which provides peace of mind when playing.

Artyom Ustinov

Artyom is Head of White Label & Turnkey Solutions and has been working in complex B2B/B2C sales, as well as business development and management consulting in iGaming for more than 10 years.

Together with the Key Account Management Team, he has helped over 100 start-ups and experienced gaming companies to launch their projects with SoftGamings.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest News & Articles

Fundamentals in sports betting platform development: insights from an industry expert

Jul 15, 2024
Dzianis Niasmelau, Head of Sportsbook at SoftGamings, participated in a roundtable discussion at the Gambling Insider conference. Alongside other colleagues from iGaming companies (Altenar, Kambi, Aardvark Technologies, and Pronet Gaming), he discussed solutions in developing and launching a sports betting platform.

SoftGamings Lands the Curaçao Gaming Control Board License

Jun 28, 2024
SoftGamings secures a license from the Curaçao Gambling Control Board (GCB), enhancing the credibility of its casino brands.

SoftGamings to Unveil Future-Ready Solutions at iGB Live 2024

Jun 27, 2024
Explore SoftGamings’ groundbreaking iGaming solutions at iGB Live 2024 in Amsterdam, shaping the industry's future.