The most common way players are able to trigger bonus features is by matching symbols on an active payline. However, when it comes to options such as cascading reels, gamble features, and bonus wheels, the process can differ depending on the game you choose to play.

If you’d like to know exactly how to activate these bonuses on slot machines, then you’re in the right place. This guide explores everything from the various bonus rounds and rewarding features to special symbols that could lead you to your next big win.

Triggering a Bonus on Progressive Slots vs Standard Slots

Progressive slots are titles that carry a jackpot amount that constantly grows as each bet is placed on the network until someone eventually wins it. Players should note that often there is a minimum bet amount that needs to be placed in order to qualify for a chance to trigger the jackpot win.

These pots can be triggered in a variety of ways. Some will require you to match a certain number of the same symbol on an active payline, while other progressive jackpots can be won randomly.

Standard video slot games can still have a jackpot, but this is often a fixed amount. Progressives will also have a lot of the same exciting slot features that can be found on standard online slots, such as free spins.

What Bonuses are Available on Slot Machines?

Reading guides on how to win online slots gives you an idea about the types of games available as well as tips on how to increase your chances of securing a payout.

However, by taking a closer look at the different slots bonus rounds and features as well, you’ll be able to pinpoint the ones that offer the best rewards for you.

This is why we’ve gone ahead and put together a little more information about the more popular bonuses you get to look forward to as well as how each one is triggered.

Free Spins Rounds

The most popular slots bonus feature you will find online is going to be free spin rounds. How to activate this bonus on online slots often comes down to matching a certain number of unique bonus symbols or scatter symbols.

Although you will usually receive a set amount of free spins on slots, there are certain games that allow an unlimited number to be triggered during during slots bonus rounds.

Free Spins Bonus Round

Gamble Features

Certain slot machines will have mini games in place, such as gamble features. This allows you to put any of your winnings on the line after a given spin and potentially double it. You will often have a 50/50 chance of doubling your money.

If unsuccessful, then you will lose all of these winnings. Gamble features often include flipping a coin, selecting a card, or spinning a prize wheel. Usually, this bonus feature is triggered after landing a big win on slots.

Gamble Feature

Tumbling Reels

Tumbling reels, also known as cascading or avalanche reels, can be found on many popular video slots. During a game that offers this feature, you will spin the reels as usual. However, when winning combinations are formed the round won’t stop there as it does in a standard slot game.

Instead, the bonus symbols that formed the winning combinations will explode, leaving open spaces where the symbols above have the chance to fall in. Although this is considered more of a bonus feature, it’s still worth considering slots that offer it as it provides players with more opportunities to enjoy multiple wins with just a single bet.

Pyramid Tumbling Reels Feature

Bonus Buy

Usually, you will have to land a number of scatter symbols to trigger a bonus on a standard slot machine. However, the bonus buy feature gives you the chance to trigger bonus rounds at any point in the game in exchange for a fee.

Note that the amount you pay for your bonus round will need to be greater than your initial stake. The exact amount will vary depending on the game you play, however, this information is easily found in the overview of the slot game on the site.

Bonus Buy Feature on Slot

Wheel of Fortune

Possibly the most rewarding slot bonus feature is the wheel of fortune, also referred to as a bonus wheel. The way in which this bonus is triggered will depend on the game you play. However, in most cases, you will need to land three matching bonus symbols.

What makes this slot bonus round so exciting is that it often guarantees a prize. These include major jackpots, multipliers, free spins on slots, and cash prizes.

Bonus Wheel feature on a slot machine

Different Types of Slots & Their Bonuses Explained

When it comes to triggering bonuses on slot machines, you should consider the different types of slots as each will offer slightly different ways to win. To help you understand the three most popular options available online, we’ve put together a little more information below.

Standard Video Slot

When playing at online casinos, you will find that the libraries will mostly consist of standard video slots. These titles will typically have some great bonuses in place, such as gamble features and free spins bonus games.

The Starburst slot from Netent in action

Fixed Jackpot Slots

Certain video slots will also carry jackpots, the other mechanics of these games will then be very similar to what you get with video slots, there might be a fixed jackpot in place that is always going to be the same amount and triggered when you get a certain combination of symbols. Then there are daily jackpots whereby the pot has to be won each and every day.

Fixed Jackpot Slot

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Finally, a progressive jackpot is when the prize money keeps building until someone wins it. How to activate bonus on online slots with progressives will vary depending on the game you decide to play. Some can be triggered randomly, while others require a certain combination of symbols.

These types of slots are known for paying out impressive sums of money over the years. In fact, the most famous of all progressive slots, Mega Moolah, broke the Guinness World Record for the largest jackpot payout in an online slot machine game when it paid out $20,062,600 in 2016.

Mega Moolah Slot

Understanding the House Edge & Payout Percentages

When you’re looking at different types of casino games, one of the big topics of conversation that arises will be the house edge as well as the return to player (RTP) percentage. Considering 1 in 5 Americans stake over $100 every month on slots and casino games, it’s important to know just how much of it they’re getting back.

Payout Percentages

Every slot game that you play is going to have a payout percentage, also referred to as the slot RTP. This can often be found by taking a look at the slot information displayed on the site. The RTP percentage will always be less than 100%, with the average payout percentage for an online slot game being around the 96% mark.

This means that for every $100 that you wager, in the long run, the game will pay out 96% of that. For example, if $100 is placed on a slot machine in your current session, this amount is valued as the initial 100%. Now, let’s say that the slot is set to 95% RTP. Should the game return the theoretical average, you can expect an average return of $95.

House Edge

The term “House Edge” describes the mathematical advantage a slot game has over players as the game is played over time. The result is a guaranteed percentage return to the casino over a long period of time.

To calculate the house edge for a given game, you simply take the payout percentage and deduct it from 100%. Therefore, if a game has an RTP of 97%, the house edge will be 3%.

If you’ve played some of the best online slots before, then you would have come across a variety of different symbols. The two that often stand out most are the wild symbols and scatter symbols.

Based on our experience, when it comes to learning how to activate a bonus on slot machines, it’s worth understanding these symbols and how they contribute towards triggering rewards. This is why we’ve decided to put together a little more information about each below.

Wild Symbols

Landing a certain number of wild symbols can lead to you earning additional rewards as they can replace every other symbol on a payline. This will increase your chances of triggering a bonus and/or receiving a payout on slot gaming machines with the only exceptions being scatter symbols and specific bonus symbols.

Scatter Symbols

When playing online slot games, bonus rounds and payouts are triggered by landing matching symbols on the same payline. However, scatter symbols are effective anywhere on the grid.

This means that in order to activate a slot bonus round, you will need to land a certain number of scatter symbols on the board. Note that the number of scatter symbols needed to trigger slot games with a bonus round will vary depending on the one you choose play. However, this information is easily found by viewing the paytable.


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