With the growing popularity of online casinos in Canada, the perennial favourite—slots games—is still one of the most in-demand types of casino games available. They are beginner-friendly, have great payout rates, and new players can often get free spins as part of introductory offers or promotions.
It’s not surprising, then, that these games are so popular. And, with the added convenience of online casinos, their popularity is only increasing. Of course, finding the best slots games when there are so many to choose from can be tricky, which is why we have pooled together ten of the best casinos to visit if you are looking to play slots in Canada.
What are Slots Games?
Slots games are online gambling games that are based on the physical slots machines (also known as fruit machines and one-armed bandits) that have become synonymous with casinos the world over. Moving to an online format has allowed for more variation and complexity than the physical machines allowed, but the basic premise remains the same.
Essentially, the player is presented with a grid of symbols. When they play (on physical machines, this would be pressing the button or pulling the lever), the symbols change to another random layout. At this point, certain combinations of those random symbols may earn you money.
The symbols that pay—and what combinations they need to be in—will be explained in the instructions for the slots game you are playing. Most slots games will also let you wager an amount of your own choosing, unlike traditional slots machines, which take a fixed amount. This means you can up the stakes of your spin (one play) with a greater reward if you succeed.
The amount you can wager will usually fall between a predefined range—your minimum and maximum bet—which will be made clear in the instructions for the slots game. Free spins come with certain restrictions but can sometimes come in the form of a cash amount that can only be used on slots games. In this case, you could have several free spins on the minimum bet or increase your bet but have fewer free spins.
There are also other elements in slots games, such as bonus rounds, which are unlocked in the course of playing and give the player the opportunity to increase their winnings. Other elements include wilds (similar to wild cards in poker), multipliers (self-explanatory), and scatters, which don’t need to appear in a specific place on the grid in order to win you money.
Online slots for Canadian players
When trying online slots you may want to start with games from leading game developers like NetEnt, Microgaming, Play'n GO, Big Time Gaming and Betsoft. These providers have been thrilling Canadian players through innovation for years. However, these providers are just the tip of the iceberg.
All software providers regularly try to one-up the other with the latest and greatest online slots. Some do it using gorgeous artwork and epic soundtracks that will blow you away. Others create engaging slots that use innovative features and special symbols. Themes can be another way of standing out from the crowd, as can jackpot-size payout potential.
Slots online can be great when you're at home, but mobile slots from an Android or iOS device are the perfect companion on the road. Let's face it, being stuck in public transport in Toronto or Vancouver can be pretty awful. On the long commute to and from work, you can play a game or two!
Canadians can play online slot machines free, which is a great way to get to know them. However, remember that qualifying for online casino bonuses and other promotions is only possible when playing online slots for real money. Best of all, playing online slots real money Canada means that you get to keep whatever you win!
Why Play Slots Online?
With the constant improvement of technology, slot machine functions have improved tremendously, with game developers adding exciting features. The new features are attractive and increase payouts and prizes for gamers. Some of the popular features of the best online slots include:
• Paylines: In online slots, the payouts are determined by winning combinations called paylines. Classic slots made do with one to three paylines, but the best online slots have between 10 and over 1,000 paylines. The increased paylines bumps up the payouts and increase award prizes. • Wilds: Wilds are a popular feature in a slot machine, and they substitute for other symbols in the reel. Since they form the winning combinations, having many wilds on the reel increases players' bankrolls due to its jackpots. • Free spins: The standard in-game bonus in slots is free spins. While developers have various ways of rewarding players, most offer a set amount of free spins. The spins have set winning multipliers and may have specific wagering requirements. • Graphics and animations: Many game developers use themed titles with unique illustrations for slot machines to spice up the gaming environment. The addition of animations and graphics makes the games interactive. The audio effects also entertain gamers.
Classic Slots versus Video Slots
The classic online slots are inspired by the physical gambling machines of the late 19th century. They are based on 3 reels and often have fruit themes. They generally offer the least amount of frills in terms of features, special symbols, et cetera. However, don't underestimate their nostalgic appeal.
Video Slots can have 5, 6, 7 or more reels and usually come loaded with extras. Because of this, they are a much bigger category of online slots Canada relative to classic slots.
Slots Casino Themes
Canadians will find that casino slot games come in an incredible range of themes. Some slots are branded based on epic movies such as Game of Thrones from Microgaming. Similarly, the Vikings television series was adapted into an exciting slot by Netent in 2018, and the international game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire has been made into a slot by Big Time Gaming. If you enjoy music bands, Play'n GO has several, including Twisted Sister, Demon and Sabaton. You may enjoy slots based on original arcade games like Street Fighter: The World Warrior from Netent.
There are many more unbranded slots, and there are too many themes to mention here. For example, ancient civilizations and mythologies (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Aztec, Mayan and Incan) are extremely popular. Cultural and nature themes based on the African Savannah, Mexican Day of the Dead, Irish leprechauns, North American wildlife and Japanese & Chinese history and traditions are also trendy.
There are many other themes, including the Wild West, fantasy, horror, pirates, jokers and diamonds, to name just a few. The best online slots Canada just might be better than watching Hockey Night in Canada on a Saturday night!
Casino Slot Games: Special Symbols
Special symbols are one of the best parts of a slot because they are like utility knives, performing many valuable functions. First, their unique abilities make casino slot games more exciting. Special symbols can also increase the chance and magnitude of winning. The random nature of their appearance adds to the suspense.
Although there are thousands of video slots, the special symbols boil down to a few familiar ones, some of which we cover:
A hard-working wild is probably the most common type of special symbol. This symbol is the joker equivalent in a deck of cards. At a basic level, it substitutes for regular-paying symbols. It can sometimes create an exclusive payline, often with the top payout. However, it usually cannot substitute for other special symbols like scatters or bonus symbols.
Wilds can also come with some additional abilities. For example, an expanding wild will typically grow to occupy an entire reel. On the other hand, a sticky wild remains in position for one or more spins. Walking wilds shift position, left/right or up/down on each spin until falling off the reels. A wild that applies a multiplier to a winning payline that it participates in is called a multiplier wild. Stacked wilds occur when wilds appear on top of one another and can fully or partially cover a reel. Finally, overlay wilds are placed on top of existing symbols.
Scatter slots reward a win (called a scatter win) when appearing in sufficient numbers. The payout grows in proportion to the number of scatters that land. They are a great addition to slots games because where they land is not important.
The second function of a scatter slot is often to trigger bonus free spins. Sometimes the quantity of free spins is proportional to the number of triggering scatters.
Bonus symbols can be used to trigger a casino slot bonus feature such as Pick & Click or Instant Prize. They work similarly to a scatter since their position on the reels usually doesn't matter, provided they land in a sufficient number to trigger the feature.
Mystery symbols appear in several spaces when randomly activated. It is not immediately clear what regular paying symbol it represents, which adds to the surprise. However, they eventually reveal an identical symbol to boost the odds of a win.
A slot without features is like pancakes without maple syrup or coffee without doughnuts. They make slot games more fun and increase the chance and size of winnings, much like special symbols. Although it is impossible to cover all possible features, we take you through a few common ones.
The free spins feature is standard in many of the best online slots Canada has to offer. It is ordinarily unlocked by a minimum number of scatters. Sometimes, the quantity of scatters will determine the number of free spins. Other times, the number of free spins is fixed.
The best online slots Canada free spins games often throw in additional special symbols or a feature for added fun. For example, Immortal Romance from Microgaming has the 'Chamber of Spins' free spins with 4 possible modifiers:
- 5x win multipliers
- Random symbols transform into 2x or 3x multipliers
- Rolling reels with 2x-5x win multipliers
- Random symbols transform into wilds
Pick & Click Feature
The Pick & Click Feature is usually triggered by a minimum quantity of bonus symbols. It's interactive because a player must choose from several displayed images concealing a prize. While this can be cash, it can sometimes be a feature such as free spins.
The gamble feature is unique because it is optional and triggered after a winning round during the main game. There are a few different versions, including the coin toss, colour pays, ladder gamble and card suit.
Buy In Feature
A 'Buy In' is another unique feature because it can be activated at the player's discretion for a price. It is used to automatically trigger free spins or alternative feature.
Bonus wheels have become famous for appearing in games like Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune. Canadians enjoying online slots can win real money jackpots or other exciting prizes. These can be randomly triggered or with the help of bonus symbols.
By referring to variance (aka volatility), we're talking about the expected return and risk of a casino slot. Every slot is designed with its own volatility level falling into either low, medium or high. Canadians all have their preference. It's sort of like chicken wings! Some like them mild, some like them medium spicy, and some like their wings on fire!
Low volatility online slots are ones where the risk of quickly depleting your player account balance is lower. This is because wins tend to be around the same size as your bet. These types of slots typically allow players to play for much longer between top-ups. They are ideal for conservative players wanting to play for fun and for as long as possible. The drawback to low volatility slots is that they will never have the same maximum payout potential as their medium or high volatility counterparts.
There are several very popular low volatility slot machines:
- Starburst from NetEnt
- Blood Suckers from NetEnt
- Big Bad Wolf from Quickspin
High volatility slots are ones where the risk of quickly depleting your player account balance is high to very high. This is because the frequency of wins tends to be lower, although the winnings tend to be higher. These types of online casino slots typically require more frequent top-ups or a larger bankroll. They are ideal for aggressive players wanting to play for the possibility of winning much larger payouts (typically 5,000x your bet or more).
Often, high volatility slots contain local or network progressive jackpots. Some network progressive jackpots can grow to incredible sizes. For example, Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune have 'mega jackpots' that often reach millions of dollars. A percentage of bets from every player across all casinos with the same slot contributes towards building the jackpot.
Local progressive jackpots can also reach very large sizes. Here, a percentage of bets from every player on the same slot and at the same casino contributes towards building the jackpot.
There are several very popular high volatility online slot machines:
- Mega Moolah from Microgaming
- Mega Fortune from NetEnt
- Bonanza from Big Time Gaming
- Divine Fortune from NetEnt
Medium volatility slots casino games represent a happy compromise between expected return and risk. It is ideal for Canadian players who want higher potential payouts while avoiding the risk of high volatility.
There are several very popular medium volatility online slot machines:
- Wild Blood 2 from Play'n GO
- Gemix from Play'n GO
- Fire Joker from Play'n GO
Return To Player RTP
It should be no surprise that online slots like all casino games are designed to give the house a natural edge. Although this edge differs between slots, the underlying mechanics are similar.
The return to player (RTP) is a theoretical number expressed as a percentage of usually 92%-97%. It represents the percentage of winnings theoretically won back on every spin if played a vast number of times. For example, a slot with an RTP of 97% implies that you would theoretically win back on average $0.97 for every $1 bet. So if this is true, then why play slots online? The answer is that over the short-medium term, anything can happen, including winning an enormous online slots Canada real money jackpot.
It's important to understand that the outcome of any spin is determined by a random number generator (RNG). The result of each spin is entirely independent of the previous spin. This concept is so fundamental that independent third-party labs are commissioned to test and certify slot games. They ensure that the stated RTP is correct and that the RNG is truly random.
All things equal, a player is likely better off playing slots online Canada with a higher RTP than a lower one. If you're more interested in playing for longer, then definitely consider slots with a higher RTP.
What you want from your slots games will largely depend on your personal playing style, but there are some things you should always look out for. One of these is a high RTP, so you can be sure of the best possible chance of winning. Another is bonuses, again, increasing your chances of winning big. Beyond that, just finding an online casino that has slots games you enjoy playing will often be all you need.