Scatter symbols are special symbols that appear on a slot machine to trigger bonuses, offering players a good opportunity to increase their chances of winning. They can be found on a number of the new slots online and offer different rewards dependent on the game being played.

Scatters are also easy to understand, as they don’t have to appear on successive reels on a single spin – they can simply appear anywhere on the reels to unlock bonuses, free spins and features.

In this guide, we discuss everything you need to know about slot scatters – how they work, the various types, tips on using these special symbols, and more.

What are Scatter Symbols?

Besides the regular basic symbols, you’ll find wilds and scatter symbols in many new online slots – features added to enhance a player’s gaming experience. Wilds do their own part in helping to boost winnings on a reel machine, and scatters are one of the highest-paying symbols in a slot game.

Often considered a video slots player’s best friend, scatter symbols are a unique feature of slot games, offering players an avenue to unlock exciting bonus features. A great way on how to trigger a bonus on slot machines, they activate mini-games and free spins when a specific number appears anywhere on the reels. Also, they act as multipliers in some games.

Scatters may sometimes double as scatter and wild symbols; when they appear as the latter, they substitute for other symbols to help create winning combinations. Meanwhile, they open up extra bonus features when functioning as scatters. Play’n GO’s popular Book of Dead is an excellent example of a slot game whose scatters work as both wild and scatter symbols.

Book of Dead scatter symbols

Usually, scatter symbols’ graphics are inspired by slot machine themes. For instance, Playtech’s Gladiator, which is based on the classic Universal Pictures movie of the same name, has its scatter represented by the image of the Coliseum.

Gladiator scatter symbols

How Do Scatter Symbols Work?

To learn how to win at slots, it’s essential to understand scatters and how they function, so you can take advantage of the symbol when playing at the best online casinos for real money and earn some winnings. Like basic symbols and wilds, scatters have their unique way of working – perhaps the most interesting.

Scatter symbols trigger bonuses like free spins, multipliers, mini-games, and more, at a reel machine. And a player doesn’t have to land scatters on successive reels on a single spin to unlock these features. All you have to do to activate the bonus games is get scatter symbols to appear anywhere on the reels. The best video slots usually require three or more scatters on the grid to trigger a multiplied win – calculated by multiplying both the total and line win. For this reason, players tend to bet on all lines to increase their potential payout.

Varying from slot to slot, the rules and workings of scatter symbols are game-specific. Usually, the best online slots to play for real money specify a minimum number of scatters that must appear on the grid on a single spin to activate bonus rounds. So, before spinning reels at a video slot machine, it’s a good idea to check the game’s information to know the scatter’s mode of operation. It’s worth noting that, while wilds can substitute any symbol in fruit machines, they cannot replace scatters.

How to Find Scatter Symbols

If you want to learn how to play online slots, you should know how to find and identify scatter symbols in your video slots. Note, that not all slots have scatters.

Here’s a step-by-step guide showing how to locate scatters on most online slots games:

Step 1: Sign up or log in to your online casino

Choose a preferred option from the best slots apps and create an account to access the platform’s catalog of online slots games.

Step 2: Choose a slot game

Select the video slot you want to play and wait for the game to load. Opt for a demo version if you want to practice gaming without any financial commitments, like free video slots and free penny slots, or play for real money to stake and gain winnings.

Step 3: Open the paytable

The paytable is usually accessible from the gaming screen, and when you click the paytable or help icon, a box shows up. Here, you should find info on all symbols, including wilds, scatters, and basics.

Step 4: Check for the scatter symbol

Look up the video slot’s scatter symbol and note its rules and mechanics. You should find info on how to trigger a win with your scatters and the bonus rounds and features that the symbol unlocks.

Step 5: Start playing

Understanding how the slot game’s scatter symbols work, you can start spinning your reels, land scatters, and increase your wins significantly, especially when playing slots with the highest RTP.

Why Are They Called Scatters?

The symbols are called scatters because they can be scattered anywhere on the reels of electronic gaming machines or a video slot machine in no particular pattern or sequence and still trigger a win. Simply put, scatter symbols do not need to be lined up in any order on a payline to open up a free spin round, mini-game, pick-me game, and more.

Types of Scatter Symbols

With approximately 767,408 electronic gaming machines in North America for U.S. players to explore, there’s no shortage of gambling opportunities for residents. To beat the house edge and increase your chances of winning at these numerous gaming outlets, you should be able to differentiate between the types of scatter symbols.

Bonus game scatters

When you land three or more scatters on the reels in some online slots or fruit machines, a bonus game – which varies from slot to slot – opens up. Common games include Wheel of Fortune and multiple choice rounds.

Scattered wilds

These refer to scatter symbols that can transform into wilds and act as substitutes for basic symbols in the game to help create winning combinations.

Free spins scatters

On many online slots games, when three or more scatters appear on the grid, you’re awarded between 5 to 10 free spins. After activating the bonus feature, the active paylines and bet amounts for each free game will depend on the last spin.

Strategies for Using Scatter Symbols

If you’ve ever pondered ‘how do slot machines work?’ or ‘how can I use a strategy to in at slots?’, then to really increase your winning chances on a reel machine or online casino, you should also keep certain proven strategies at your fingertips to beat the house edge and enhance your likelihood of earning a payday. They include:

  1. Check for sites with high RTP and low volatility level. Since scatter symbols can increase your potential payout, such sites will earn more winnings.
  2. When using an electronic gaming machine, ensure the theoretical hold worksheet specifies a low ‘hold’ to ensure higher winnings for you.
  3. Remember to gamble responsibly and resist getting lost in the thrill of scatters.
  4. Play with maximum paylines. The more the paylines, the higher the probability that the sought-after number of scatter symbols appear on the reels.
  5. Use video slot machines with higher payout rates.


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