Your Guide on How to Play Slots Online 

Slot machines can be enormous fun to play, and that’s just as true for online slots as those found in casinos. Playing slots online opens you up to a world of excitement, with thousands of games to choose from, with a huge array of themes and features on offer, and with real money to be won.

Online slots can look confusing and intimidating at first glance. But don’t be put off, online slots are really as easy to play as they are thrilling once you understand the basics. And at Mecca Games, we can help with that.

Here you’ll find a quick and simple online slots guide that explains how to play online slots and what sorts of features you’ll see. Plus, we’ll give you a whole host of casino slot machine tips so you can get the most out of your online play.

Slot Machine Basics

Despite the huge variation in slots styles and themes you’ll find online, almost all slot machines are based on the same core gameplay, and the basics of playing them is straightforward and easy to learn: You spin the reels of the game, and if you land lines of matching symbols across them, you win.

Once you’ve chosen a slot machine to play, start by:

1. Setting your bet level to decide how much you want to wager on each spin of the reels.

2. Press the spin button to set the reels turning.

3. When the reels stop, if you land matching symbols in certain patterns across them, you win.

That’s the simple idea of playing online slots, although we’ll give you more details on the reels, paylines, and common slots features below in our online slots guide.


The most important part of slot machines is the reels they’re based on. These are what you spin to play the game and what you place your bets on.

All slot games have reels, although they can take a wild range of different appearances. Slot machines nearly always have an odd number of them, typically three, five, seven, but sometimes more.

Each reel has rows of symbols on them, usually three, five, or seven, although some games have even more. If the symbols on your reels align in specific patterns when they stop spinning, you’ll win (see Paylines below). Some symbols can even trigger in-game bonus features.


Paylines are how you win with online slots.

A payline is a line of matching symbols that fall in a specific pattern across the reels, that return winnings to you or that unlock bonus features.

For most online slots, the following paylines rules apply:

  • Paylines must be made of matching symbols
  • Paylines need to run from left-to-right across the reels, with the payline beginning on the first reel on the left (reel 1)
  • Matching symbols have to land on consecutive reels, on reel 1, then reel 2, then reel 3, and so on, without any gaps
  • Matching symbols need to touch, either by being side-by-side or meeting at the corners diagonally

There’s lots of variation in paylines, however. With some slot games:

  • Paylines can also run from right-to-left, as well as left-to-right
  • Matching symbols don’t need to touch each other, they just need to land on consecutive reels

Most slot machines have multiple paylines, often between 10 and 25, although there can be lots more (Megaways slots often offer up to 117,649 paylines on some spins). A good way to understand the paylines an online slot has is to click on the in-game menu.

Some slots have fixed paylines, but with some slots you can choose how many paylines you want to have active as you play. The more paylines active, the higher your TOTAL BET per spin, but the greater your chances of winning.


As well as looking attractive and bringing a game’s theme to life, a slot machine's symbols are just as important as the reels.

With the vast majority of slots, different symbols have different values. Like playing cards, some are low value and some are higher value. The more symbols you land in a winning payline, and the higher the value of that symbol, the more you win.

Most online slots also feature special symbols alongside the regular ones, like Wild Symbols and Scatter Symbols. Keep reading, and we’ll explain all about these.


Wild Symbols, usually just called Wilds, are a type of special symbol that is a common feature of online slots. Wilds take the place of regular symbols in a game, helping you land matching paylines of symbols across your reels by filling in any gaps in the payline.

Some slots offer variations on the Wild, with features like Expanding Wilds that grow to fill every row on a reel, or Sticky Wilds that stay in place for a certain number of spins.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter Symbols, often simply called Scatters, are another common type of special symbol you’ll encounter as you play online slots.

Scatter Symbols award you a win if enough of them appear anywhere on your reels, usually three or more, without needing to land in paylines. They don’t need to land on reel 1 and they don’t need to align across your reels, just land enough scatters anywhere and you’ll win.

As well as helping you win, Scatters usually also unlock in-game bonus features, which we’ll explain right below.


One of the most exciting parts of playing online slots is triggering their in-game bonus features. These are usually the most rewarding part of playing too, where some of the biggest prizes can be won.

Online slots can offer a huge range of bonus features, but the most commonly seen are:

  • Free Spins Rounds: Where you have a certain number of Free Spins, usually with a multiplier applied to any winnings
  • Tombola Spins: That offer a range of prizes, from Free Spins to cash payouts
  • Picking games: Where you blind pick prizes
  • Added reels or rows: Where more reels or rows are added for a certain number of spins, improving your chances of landing more lucrative paylines
  • Multipliers: Multipliers that boost your winnings, such as by doubling or tripling them, are active for a certain number of spins

This is just scratching the surface of slot machines bonuses though, and you’ll find a massive variety of them as you play online. To better understand any bonus features offered by an online slot, open up the in-game menu to see all the features of that game described.

How Online Slot Machine Odds Work

You place a bet on an online slot each time you spin its reels. And as with any bet, you play against odds.The odds of an online slot game are based on a random number generator. Each time you hit spin, that number generator randomly decides which symbols will appear on which rows.

Every online slot is pre-programmed to offer certain odds, with a specific return offered on average, called the return to player percentage (RTP). The RTP can help you decide whether you want to play a certain slot game. It tells you what percentage of the money you wager is likely to be paid back to you. For example, a slot with an RTP of 95% will pay back an average £95 for every £100 you spend.

However, the RTP is an average number that the slot pays back over the long-term. If you wager £100 on a session of play on an 95% RTP slot, you won’t necessarily earn £95 back, you may win more, or less, on any given play.

Whilst a theoretical average, the RTP of a game helps you understand the odds you’re playing against, and is another way to compare the slots you’re interested in playing.

Winning at Slot Machines Online

You win with online slots by landing lines of matching symbols across your reels that fall on winning paylines. The more symbols you have in a payline, and the higher the value of the symbols, the more you win.

Paylines will differ by game, but they usually run from left-to-right across the reels, with the first symbol in the payline landing on the first reel on the left (reel 1). Matching symbols then have to land on adjacent reels.

It’s important to remember that online slots are based on random number generators and are totally unpredictable. There are no strategies you can play with that will improve your chances of winning on any given spin. However, there are plenty of casino slot machine tips you can follow to get the most from your online slots gaming.

Dos and Don’ts of Playing Slots

Whilst online slots are a game of chance, the following casino slot machine tips can help you get the most fun out of playing slots online:

  • DO understand the slot you’re playing: Make sure you know the rules and the features of an online slot before you play it. A good way to do this is to take a look at the in-game information menu.
  • DO keep track of how much you’re spending: Always keep an eye on how much you’ve spent as you play, to make sure you don’t gamble with more money than you can afford to play with.
  • DO make sure your bets are high enough to be eligible for progressive jackpots: If you’re playing a slot with progressive jackpots, make sure your bet level is high enough for you to be eligible to win them, to ensure you don’t miss out on any opportunities to win big.
  • DO try a variety of games: Play a host of different online slots to find out which types and which features you enjoy the most.
  • DO take advantage of bonus and promotions: Look out for regular bonuses and offers from Mecca Games that you can benefit from.
  • DON’T keep playing when you’ve reached your limit: If you’ve set yourself a certain amount of money to play with, don’t keep playing once you’ve reached that amount.
  • DON’T keep playing if you win a considerable amount: If you win big, it’s sensible to take that money and cash out, rather than keep playing and risk losing it.

Play Slots Online with Mecca Games

You’ll find a wealth of the world’s best online slots available at Mecca Games, from Mega Moolah to 9 Pots Of Gold, from Cleopatra Grand to Immortal Romance, and so many more.

Now you’ve read our online slots guide and you’ve taken our casino slot machine tips on board, you’re ready to discover the wonderful world of online slots gaming. Simply register with us to create your Mecca Games account, and you’ll be ready to play.

Mecca Games / 07 June 2023