What are the Best Online Slots?

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If you like to play Canadian slots for real money, the truth is that you’re spoiled for choice when accessing a casino north of the American border.

Make no mistake; slots dominate the online GGY in Canada, with a number of low, medium and high-variance titles available for players to choose from in real-time.

But what are the best online slots in the Canadian market? Here’s our selection of the top three:

  1. The Guns N’ Rose Slot

We’ll start with a cult classic, with the Guns N’ Rose title part of NetEnt’s expansive selection of slot games.

In technical terms, this is a five-reel, three-row slot game, and one that features a total of 20 paylines within the reel grid structure. This is augmented by 10 variable bet levels and different coin values, creating a betting range that starts at £0.20 and moves as high as £200 per spin.

This slot also boasts a competitive return-to-player (RTP) rate of 96.98%, which means that you can expect to recoup an average of £0.96 for every £1 wagered online.

What really sets this slot apart is its huge range of bonus features, including ‘Expanding Wilds’ and ‘Encore Free Spins’.

With the former, expanding worlds can multiply to fill more than one space on the reel grid, potentially taking over entire reels in the process. Remember, wilds can be used to substitute for any other symbol on the grid (apart from the scatter icon), so you can create potentially huge winning combinations when this bonus is in play.

As for the ‘Encore Free Spins’ feature, this includes three separate levels and incrementally higher prizes (and multipliers) as you progress over time!

  1. Rich Wilde’s Book of Dead

If you’ve ever participated in a free spins welcome bonus, we’d wager that you’re familiar with the iconic Book of Dead slot.

This five-reel, three-row and 10 payline game is often featured as part of such welcome offers, with Book of Dead also considered to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing slots in the marketplace.

It’s one of the most accessible too, as it’s possible to trigger just a single payline and subsequently play for as little as £0.01 per spin. What’s more, the maximum wager per spin is £100, so there’s plenty of appeal for high-rollers and big spenders too.

As a Play ‘n GO slot, you’ll be unsurprised to note that Book of Dead is a high-variance game, which means that it tends to deliver relatively frequent but modest wins.

This is borne out by an RTP rate of 96.21%, which means that recoup a great deal of your bankroll as a player and can strive to minimise losses even over an extended period of gameplay.

The maximum win here is 5,000-times your initial stake, however, with this representing a large and inviting jackpot. This can be won when you trigger the game’s special expanding symbol feature, which creates a scenario where you can fill the reel grid with the crucial Rich Wilde symbol.

  1. Thunderstruck II

We close with what is one of the most popular online slots of all-time, with Thunderstruck II a truly superb sequel that has earned almost cult appeal since its launch back in 2010.

Powered by the omnipotent Microgaming brand, Thunderstruck II features five active reels and 243 paylines, thanks to the fact that paylines can also be formed from right to left and by matching select symbols anywhere on the reels.

One of the most striking elements of this game is its reliance on Norse mythology, which creates a thrilling and eye-catching backdrop for the reel-grid.

There’s also a good betting range in play too, although the sheer number of paylines available means that the minimum stake is fixed at £0.30.

In terms of gameplay, the randomly-activated ‘Wildstorm’ feature is the one to look out for as a player. This creates a scenario where all five reels can turn fully wild, forming some highly lucrative winning combinations in the process.

The ‘Great Hall of Spins’ feature also includes four separate bonus rounds based on the houses of Thor, Odin, Loki and Valkyrie, which offer multipliers of up to 5x your stake, random wilds and a maximum win value of 8,000-times your wager!

This is definitely one of the rare occasions where the sequel is much better than the original, so we’d definitely recommend checking this out if you get the chance!

A Brief Guide to Free Spins Bonuses

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In progressive iGaming markets such as Ireland and the UK, it has become increasingly difficult for operators to compete for a viable share of custom. However, many have sought to compete by offering increasingly diverse and generous welcome offers, which typically take the form of 100% deposit matches up to a fixed value.

Such bonus offers may also offer a fixed number of free spins to new players, adding another layer of excitement and targeting the single most popular and aesthetically pleasing iGaming vertical in 2021.

You can learn more about no deposit free spins bonuses at Bet in Ireland, but what are the key elements of this type of promotion and what are the key considerations for players?

What is a Free Spins Bonus?

As the name suggests, free spins bonuses enable you to access complimentary gameplay on one or a select number of different slots.

Each bonus will offer a finite number of spins at a fixed value, which may be awarded all at once or over a period of successive days.

When deploying a free spins bonus, you can essentially wager on a popular slot without risking your hard-earned cash, creating a scenario where you can win money for your bonus balance without incurring real money losses.

The amount of free spins on offer will vary wildly from one online casino to another too, anywhere from 10 to 100 on average and depending on the overall size of the bonus.


The Different Type of Free Spins Bonuses

There are two main types of free spins bonuses, and we’ve outlined these in brief detail below:

  • Free Spin Deposit Bonuses: The most common type of free spins bonus, this will see the requisite number of spins added to your account after you’ve made an initial deposit as a new player. To earn these spins, you’ll have to meet a minimum deposit threshold (usually £10) and credit your account using a verified payment method, while in some instances you may also have to wager some of this capital before triggering the bonus. Just be sure to review the T&Cs associated with each free spins bonuses before making a financial commitment.
  • No Deposit Free Spins Bonuses: No deposit free spins bonuses are genuinely popular but much rarer, primarily because of the cost to sportsbooks. This type of bonus is awarded to the account of new players once the registration process is complete, and without them having to make an initial deposit. The flipside here is that the value of these bonuses is significantly lower than those contingent on a first deposit transaction, while they may also be further restricted in terms of duration, viable payment methods and wagering requirements.

You’ll find various iterations of these offers online, and it’s important to compare each one in detail if you’re to make an informed decision!

Comparing Free Spins Bonuses – The Key Considerations

At this stage, all that’s really left is to appraise the key considerations when comparing free spins bonuses on the real-time marketplace.

By keeping these in mind, you can hopefully avoid the potential pitfalls of such bonuses and earn some risk-free spins on your favourite slots.

  • Check Out the Range of Viable Slots for Each Bonus: As we’ve already touched on, your free spins will typically be made available across one or a select group of popular slots. For example, most operators will offer a finite number of free spins on medium-variance slots such as Play ‘n Go’s Book of Dead, each of which will have a fixed and immutable value. It’s important to review this when comparing offers, so that you can identify bonuses that enable you to play your favourite games where possible.
  • Are There Any Wagering Requirements?: This is another important consideration, as wagering requirements are often applied to this type of bonus (especially those contingent on an initial deposit being made). These will dictate how much money you’ll have to play through before making a withdrawal, and are usually calculated by applying a multiple to your free spins winnings. This will typically be a low amount, but you’ll need to factor it in while considering the overall value of the offer.
  • Are There Time Limits When Playing Through Your Free Spins?: When a bonus features a larger number of free spins, these may be awarded over several 24-hour periods. In this instance, however, each batch of free spins may only be available during the day on which they’re credited to your account, so you’ll need to play through them quickly or risk losing them and forfeiting the bonus offer.

Online Slot Paylines Explained

When it comes to slot gameplay, newbies get told that they must first grasp what return-to-player and variance are before spinning digital reels for real money. While that is most certainly true, another element that they must also understand, and, which is just as crucial, are paylines. These are one or more invisible strokes that run across the reel grid and wait for the correct symbol combinations to land on them. When they do, they make the game payout a win.

In a bygone era, reel-spinners only used to feature a few of these lines. Yet, nowadays, titles in this genre have evolved to a point where they incorporate thousands of them. Given that hundreds of online slots hit gambling platforms each year, having a firm understanding of the basics of slot gameplay is essential in quickly adapting to the slew of incoming changes in this industry’s product offering.

What Are Paylines & How Do They Work?

The simplest way to explain a payline is to examine a classic fruit machine. These are old three-reel, three-row slots that feature symbols like cherries, lemons, bells, and sevens. Due to their configuration, they display nine images on their reel grid per spin. If three identical ones line up on its middle row, the slot will then pay out an appropriate prize. That reward depends on that specific title’s paytable, which determines the corresponding awarded multiplier for every three identical symbol combinations that lands on the slot’s middle row. You can check this information on the info page of your chosen game in its paytable section.

Naturally, as time passed, players began craving more diversity in their slot gameplay, as playing a single payline game can get pretty monotonous. Thus, developers responded by increasing the number of reels and rows, and consequently, the number of paylines. Today, the most rudimentary online slots feature a five-reel, three-row configuration. Straight horizontal lines are also a bit passé now, as games more frequently utilize ones that move in different directions from one side of the reel grid to the other.

A more modern definition of paylines is pre-defined patterns which the game reads to see whether you have scored a winning spin. Note that paylines are always predetermined and static. Some games let you choose the number of active ones that you can bet on, down to a specific minimum limit. The higher their number, the better your chances of walking away a winner become. Yet, such opportunities require that you stake more money. So, choosing the right amount involves weighing the risk-reward factor. The average industry number of slot paylines ranges between fifteen and fifty.

Cluster-Pay Slots

As touched upon above, some developers have moved away from the traditional way of forming winning combos. For example, cluster-pay slots are a sub-genre that does not use lines. In such games, bundled up groups of symbols up to a specific number, usually five or more, yield prizes. You form clusters of symbols per spin to earn rewards, not lines. What is essential in such titles is that symbols landed are adjacent to each other, connected by two angles, constructing a cluster. Most cluster-pay slots pay both ways, unlike classic ones, which only provide wins for symbol combinations that form from left to right.

An example of a cluster-pay slot is NetEnt’s Aloha!, which hit online casinos in 2016. It is a low variance game that requests that you match at least nine symbols in a cluster for it to provide a reward. The max payouts on Aloha! are for combos that consist of thirty clustered tokens. Since this is a six-reel, five-row game, that means that the entire reel grid must get packed with identical symbols for Aloha! to payout its most alluring prizes. Some refer to this format as the X-ways to win system.

To Sum Up

A payline is a pre-established line, straight or zig-zagged, that crosses the entire reel grid. If identical symbols above a specific number land on it, a slot will pay out a pre-arranged prize listed inside its paytable. Many developers and players look at paylines as an outdated concept. That is why the industry is embracing new ways of forming winning combinations on symbol grids. They want to boost the level of dynamism involved in the slot experience, making it more engaging. Cluster-pay or X-way slots are a popular subgenre that has recently gotten traction in the industry. Expect to see more novel winning combo forming mechanisms get adopted soon.

About the Author

Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.