What Are Slots?

What Are Slots?

Here at Bet UK online casino we’ve compiled a full beginner’s guide for you to get to know and understand slots and what they are.

What is a Slot?

So firstly we have to know the definition of a slot to understand what it actually is. A slot (or slot machine) is a gambling machine that is comprised of three or more reels that spin when a corresponding button is pushed. Furthermore, an online slot is a game that can be played over the internet, hosted by an online casino. Online slots have became very popular over the last few years, with online casinos such as Bet UK consisting of hundreds of slot games.

The History of Slots

The idea of a slot was thought of all the way back in the late 19th Century, with the first gambling machine being developed in Brooklyn, New York, 1981. Based on the game of poker, the machine contained five drums and a total of no less than 50 cards! There were no set payouts either, with a good payout depending on the establishment in which you were playing in. For example, if you were playing in a bar and spun a pair of kings you might of got a beer on the house! Far from the idea of an online casino today where players are capable of winning huge cash payouts.

However, as there were so many ways to win it was practically impossible to create a set payout for combinations achieved, but this changed somewhere between 1887 and 1895. Stand up Mr Charles Fey of San Francisco, the man behind the first machine that was capable of offering an automatic payout system depending on combinations achieved. Indeed, the ‘Liberty Bell’ was the first slot machine that offered an automated payout system and it’s fair to say it took the country by storm. Just as online casino sites are taking the internet by storm today.

With three reels and five symbols consisting of diamonds, spades, hearts, horseshoes and (of course) the Liberty Bell. Fey’s invention generated such demand that the Liberty Bell was everywhere around America, it would have even been in your local barber shop! Due to the success of the Liberty Bell, the industry of mechanical gaming boomed and the idea of the Liberty Bell was copied by many companies within the industry, placing their own twists on the machine.

It stayed like this until 1963, when Bally Manufacturing (now Bally Entertainment) created the first fully electromechanical slot machine named ‘Money Honey’. It featured a bottomless hopper and this allowed for automatic payouts of up to 500 coins at a time. Just like Fey’s Liberty Bell, this invention furthered the gambling industry as well as trailblazing the way for electronic gaming.

Indeed, it was 13 years later that the first video slot machine was developed in California by the Fortune Coin Company. Debuting in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, the slot machine was approved by the Nevada State Gaming Commission and found itself on the Las Vegas strip as well as other surrounding casinos.

With the successful introduction of video slot machines coupled with the ever-growing technology industry the crossover was always going to happen between brick and mortar based slot machines and the online world. Thus, online casinos were spawned across the internet, bringing with them a mass of online slots. Some of the slots were the same as those played in casinos across the world, whereas some were exclusive to the digital landscape of online casinos. Since then, the online casino has grown to outmuscle those that are land based due to convenience and huge array of options among other factors. For example, we at Bet UK online casino currently boast over 350 games to play, so there’s plenty to choose from.

What are Slots Like Now?

Whether they are machine based or feature in anonline casino, slots have developed a lot over the years. Gone are the days of playing with 50 cards, or even 5 symbols for that matter. The foundation of the conventional slot back in 1963 had been given a serious makeover, as there has been considerable changes to the reel system, amount of symbols, value of symbols and the paylines. Due to these changes, we at Bet UK online casino understand that getting an initial understanding of online slots may be difficult, so we’re going to go through the core foundation of what makes a slot so you can be confidently spinning the reels in no time!


Reels feature within every slot and it’s what creates the spinning motion associated with slots ever since 1981, whether it’s with a pull of a lever or push of a button. Reels are much different now to what they were back in the development stages of what we now know as slots. With a minimum of three reels, the typical slot features a 5-long, 3-high reel set. Indeed, there is now all sorts of reels including tumbling reels, expanding reels and Wild reels, in which all will be covered in a future blog (so look out!). For now, however, we are just covering the basics.


While they have evolved since the Liberty Bell, core symbols within slots have stayed relatively the same as of recent. However, there have been significant changes to the types of symbols and what they mean for the player.

Basic Symbols

There are, of course, still your basic symbols such as the A, K, Q, J, 10 as well as other symbols that appear in variations of slots. The basic symbols make up most of the positions on the reels, with the rest being taken up by the new symbols that have helped to evolve slots as the most popular casino game on the planet!

Wild Symbols

A common feature in modern slots is the Wild symbol. Wild symbols substitute for all symbols, and this symbol can be used for completing winning combinations. For instance, if you have a ‘K’ symbol on the first, second, third and fourth reels with a Wild on the fifth reel, you will be awarded with a 5 of a kind win if it lands on the correct payline! In fact, there are now numerous online slots that feature a big focus on Wild symbols, even making them the basis of bonus rounds. Popular slots such as Wild Egypt, Wild Spartans and many others feature a strong importance on the Wild symbol and include Wilds within the bonus rounds.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols are also found in most modern slots and serve two functions within the game. Scatter symbols will usually payout whenever they are landed as they do not need to be involved within a payline to award a prize. Moreover, Scatter symbols can also be used to trigger bonus features that are in the game. If enough are landed (typically 3) in a payline, a cash amount will be awarded corresponding with the value of the Scatter as well as unlock the certain bonus feature, for example free spins.

Bonus Symbols

Bonus symbols are the most valuable symbol within most games as they usually pay out the highest value as well as triggering the main bonus round of the slot for the biggest wins possible! It is because of this that bonus symbols only appear in modern slots, as bonus rounds did not feature in traditional slots. Again, the topic of bonus rounds will be covered in an upcoming blog in which we’ll be discussing the types of online slots that feature here at Bet UK online casino.


You can hit as many King symbols as you want, but if they’re not on the payline you’re not getting a payout! Paylines are an essential part of all slots as it is the way in which symbols are combined to offer a payout. Some slots such as Double Diamond feature only one payline and 3 reels yet boast rewarding wins of up to 1000x your stake! On the other hand, the Starburst slot features 3, 5 and 10 expanding paylines that work both ways.

So that’s the basics of slots covered, come back soon to Bet UK online casino to see the types of online slots that we have on offer here at our amazing online casino. Remember, if you haven’t already you can get £5 free to play from our huge array of online slots here at Bet UK online casino.

Bet £10, get £10 + 10 free spins

T&Cs apply. £10 qualifying bet must be placed with cash on any sports market at minimum odds of 1/2. £10 free bet will be credited once qualifying bet has settled. Value of your free bet will not be included in any winnings. £10 free bet has a 7 day expiry. 18+, begambleaware.org

T&Cs apply. 10 Free spins will be credited on Starburst with all paylines active. Spin value £0.10. Winnings from free spins will be credited as cash. 3 day expiry. 18+, begambleaware.org

Full Terms and Conditions

Bet £10, get £10 + 10 free spins

£10 qualifying bet must be placed with cash on any sports market at minimum odds of 1/2. £10 free bet will be credited once qualifying bet has settled. Value of your free bet will not be included in any winnings. £10 free bet has a 7 day expiry.T&Cs apply. 18+, begambleaware.org

10 Free spins will be credited on Starburst with all paylines active. Spin value £0.10. Winnings from free spins will be credited as cash. 3 day expiry. 18+, begambleaware.org T&Cs apply.

Full Terms and Conditions