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A brief history of land-based and online slot machines
The first slot machine was invented way back in 1895 in California, the land of the Gold Rush. It was called the Liberty Bell and had three reels, that were connected by gears to spin randomly at the pull of the lever. Three Liberty Bells in a row would get you a prize of 50 cents, about $15 in today’s money.
The machine has seen a quick success, followed by an almost nationwide ban in 1902. That’s when the fruit slots were invented. It was a way around the legislation. These slots would feature symbols of fruit or other goods, and if you hit a line of the same symbols, you’d actually receive what’s on it.
In the 1960s slot machines met new technology, and the “one-armed bandits” of the old were largely put to rest. Bally played a role in that and is still a big game developer today. With the introduction of the Random Number Generator technology and making the machines fully electronic, it became possible to place larger bets and win larger sums.
When the Internet was born and popularised, the casino industry moguls couldn’t pass on an opportunity to extend their most widely loved branch of operation, the free online slot machines, to the place, where they can be played from around the globe. Thus, online casinos began appearing.
Now the slots saw their peak. Online slots free or real money are better than land-based ones in so many ways. The graphics and gameplay of some games would be impossible to implement in a casino cabinet. Online slots can be tied in progressive jackpot chains across casinos to maximize your wins. You can bet at free online slots no download virtually any amount of money, starting from one cent on some machines. Many game developers offer tournaments to participate in and win more money. The possibilities of free slots games are endless.
Best SA Online Slots
Online slots are seemingly simple machines. You hit a spin button, and you either get or don’t get a combination. But under the surface, there’s complex mathematics and programming that allows all that to happen. Here’s what you should know about slots before you begin playing.
RTP, Return to Player, which also goes by the name of payout percentages, is the amount of the money you wager that is returned to you over a long period of time. Basically, it’s a calculation of how much will you win on average.
Why do you need to check the RTP of a slot before playing? The thing is, some game developers offer a fork of RTP to casinos. Some just go with however low they get away with, effectively robbing you of a couple of percent of returns. The difference between 96% and 94% may not be huge, but you want to maximize your chances.
A slot’s hit frequency percentage is a mathematical calculation of how probable you are to win each time you press the spin button. So, if the hit frequency is 20%, you’ll get money back 20% of the time. Of course, it’s just an estimation of your chances, but it can give a pretty solid picture of what you can expect from a game.
The next big thing about free slots, that is closely tied to hit frequency, is volatility. Volatility is a variable that describes the amount of risk in a game, and how much you can expect to win over a period of time. Low volatility slots usually don’t have that big of a win, but you win more often. High volatility slots need more time to play, you are running dry for a long time, and then you win big.
Knowing this, what type of slots should you play? Depends on your budget. If your wallet can suffer a long streak of losses before winning big, you can go for high volatility ones. Otherwise, that’s not the best decision.
Slots have branched out quite a bit, and their variety has grown over the past decade. There are many types, and some of them can be applied to the same slot simultaneously. Here are the main types.
Technically speaking, all free online slots that you can find in a South African online casino are video slots, as they’re fully digital. However, this name has grown to mean a 5 reel slot with 20 or more pay lines, in contrast with classic slots.
Again, technically speaking, classic slots are mechanical “one-armed bandits” that were popular before the 1960s. Now, this term is used to refer to 3 reel slots that have one pay line.
Fruit machines are a name for a specific subtype of three-reel slots. They feature fruits as symbols, have 3 pay lines, and have Hold and Nudge features. These features let you hold two reels before making another spin, or moving a selected reel downward.
Slots that form a single chain with other free slot machines to form a collective progressive jackpot are called progressive slots. Each time a coin is wagered it increases the collective jackpot, so when it is won, the win is truly huge. Considering the fact, that some developers allow connecting slots in different casinos, the end sums are enormous in some cases.
This type of free slot machine games without downloading or registration allows you to bet as low as 1 cent per line. Ideal for low rollers.
Free slots are those that can be played for free, without making a deposit and spending a single dime. You can do that to test out a slot before playing it for real money. Take a look at our gallery of free slots online to get started.
Mobile slots are those video slots that you can play from your mobile device. While many slots come out mobile-first, some of the older ones need remastering to run smoothly on a smartphone, so this category remains a thing.
3D slots are slots with advanced graphics and 3D animations. They’re not as rare in 2022, as they used to be, but they are still at the forefront of entertainment.
These are relatively new online slot games in the industry. Developers released them past year or in 2022.
iSlots are a kind of online gambling slots that some people love, and some people hate. Basically, it’s an interactive slot, that bases the game on a storyline or a gameplay feature, not on the solely slot, making it effectively a new kind of entertainment. Those, who just want to spin the reels uninterrupted, don’t really like these games. Those, who love entertainment, love them.
Feature slots are those South African slots, that have some additional features to them. Today, most slots fall under this category, as audiences want more possibilities to win. Read more about features you can see in slots below.
There are tons of features that can be in your slot. They are virtually inexhaustible, as different game developers offer their own unique features. Some features, however, are more or less universal and you can find them in many slots. Here they are.
The Free Spin feature is by far the most popular one and is likely to be in most slots. In many cases, you have to hit a combination of scatter symbols to trigger from 1 to 20 free spins.
Most online slots nowadays have this feature. It is a symbol that can act as the wild card, the joker, in a game of poker. It substitutes any other symbol in a winning combination, except scatters. A line of Wild Symbols counts as a line of the most paying symbols in a game.
In some games, wilds can expand to cover the whole reel. Many rules allow expansion either of special Wild Symbols or those wilds that land on a specific reel, the middle on in most cases. In bonus games, it is usual to allow wilds to expand on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reels.
Some games offer a feature that involves respins with some elements fixed on the gameboard. It might be a winning combination, a certain reel, or an Expanded Wild.
Many games offer a Gamble feature. It might be done either in the form of drawing a card from a stack and trying to guess its color or choosing between any two objects. If you choose the right one, you get two times your win. If you fail to, you lose it all.
Freefalls is a specific type of combination scoring, where the combination disappears after forming, and the tiles fall down, forming a new pattern. This feature affects the whole gameplay.
Best online slots in South Africa
Our team has found the very best free slots that you can play in South Africa. You can look up the whole list of free online slot games, but here are our top picks.
Book of Ra Deluxe
Book of Ra Deluxe is the first game of the Book of Ra series that was adopted to be available as an online slot. It is a throwback to the old days of the land-based video slots, as Novomatic, its developer, began operation back then.
Book of Ra Deluxe has really simple gameplay and very classic-looking symbols. You can play it in Hyper, Yeti, Casumo, or Energy Casino.
Starburst looks as though it floats in interstellar space. This NetEnt’s marvel shines bright with neon lights, and gems that are symbols in this online slot only add to the atmosphere. If you hit a wild on the third reel, it expands and triggers a re-spin, allowing wilds to expand on 2nd and 4th reels, triggering up to 2 more re-spins.
Play this slot in Tusk, Hyper, Fun, or Yako casino.
Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive is a Wild West-themed free slot. It features cowboy hats and boots, guns, and shots of whiskey as symbols. Bonus games pay double, and you can get up to 12 of them. Wilds stay on the reels during free spins and can trigger additional online casinos free spins no deposit South Africa.
If you want to give this NetEnt slot a try, you can do that in Mango, PlayMillion, or Tusk.
As you may have already understood, Cleopatra’s Gold is an online slot, themed around Ancient Egypt. It is a progressive slot with poker value symbols and Egypt-related symbols. Pyramids trigger free spins, and those pay three times your win.
You can play Cleopatra’s Gold as a free slot at CasinoHEX, or for real money at Uptown Aces, African Grand, or Yebo.
This NetEnt 3D slot greets you with a cinematic trailer of Gonzo arriving at the New World. Gonzo’s Quest has amazing graphics and 5 reels with the Freefall feature. Each time you score, the symbols are destroyed, and new ones fall into their place. If you have a winning streak, each next win has a bigger multiplier.
You can enjoy Gonzo’s Quest in Africasino, or Casino Days.
This Microgaming slot Mega Mollah is a perfect choice for South African players, as it is African-themed! It features pictures of African animals and poker symbols, a monkey being a wild. Wild re-spins pay double, free spins pay triple the win. The biggest thing about this slot is jackpots, there are 4 of them up for grabs.
You can play this slot in Brazino777, Fun, or Galaxyno.
Vikings Go Wild
Made by young and full of prospects developer, Yggdrasil, this 5-reel free slot games for fun takes you to the world of Vikings roaming the seas. The 3D graphics are amazing and cinematic. The symbols are Viking characters and old coins the Vikings are after. You can find a treasure chest that contains free spins and up to 1,000 coins. Wilds stick to the game board during free spins.
Enjoy this slot for free at CasinoHEX, or for real money in Tusk, or Africasino.
Produced by NetEnt, Mega Fortune takes the concept of riches to the very top. It is so rich, it’s posh. It features rings, Rolls Royce cars, dollar bills, and champagne bottles as symbols. The game board is covered in diamonds.
You can play this luxurious online slot in Yako, and Yeti.
EGT’s Flaming Hot is a classic. It features fruits as symbols, which is a great throwback to the land-based casino experience. It has a progressive jackpot too.
Play this online slot in Brazino777 and Winz.
Good Girl Bad Girl
This BetSoft’s 3D slot lets you choose your strategy. There are two mascots, Good Girl and Bad Girl. Pick the Good Girl and you will win with pays left to right and frequent small wins. Pick the Bad Girl and play right to left with less frequent, but bigger wins. Hit the Money Wheel on 1st, 3rd or 5th reel to trigger the Money Wheel Bonus.
You can enjoy Good Girl Bad Girl in SpinBetter, or Black Diamond.
South African online slots FAQ
Why must I choose among all the other casino games?
Millions choose online slots, so why shouldn’t you? But following trends is just too simple. Here’s another one, free slots are lots of fun. They are entertaining and give you an adrenaline rush, when you spin the slot, waiting for a big win.
Then, slots are a game of chance. Your skill has nothing to do with winning. Poker or baccarat can be more refined in a game, but the reality is, if you are playing recreationally, you’ll run into a lot of people who are simply better at the game because they practice more.
If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe you should try table games instead. There are plenty of them in South African Casinos.
What is the lowest bet I can place in a slot?
- The lowest bet you can place is 1 cent. Generally, it is multiplied by the number of lines a slot has, so that takes the minimum overall bet up to 10 cents. This is ideal for low rollers, who are playing for the thrill of it, because, as you might imagine, you don’t really win much.
What is the highest bet I can place in a slot?
- This largely depends on a free slot. There are a lot of betting options available, but the biggest bet we have encountered was around $500 a spin.
Are online slots legal?
- This is a tricky one. In some countries they are, in some, they aren’t. Online slots are not legal in South Africa. Casinos that operate in SA are certified by another country, Malta, UK, Gibraltar, or Curacao, typically.
How do I know if a slot machine online fair or rigged?
- Those that are fair, use random number generators, certified by a well-respected authority. Go to the bottom of the page of a casino, and look for badges of eCOGRA, MGA, Gambling Commission, or any other legislative body. An easier way is browsing through our list, CasinoHEX only features certified casinos.