The Ultimate Slots Glossary

Closeup of brightly lit slot machine reels showing bar and 7 symbols

Invigorating, thrilling, and out of this world fun – these are just some words that are associated with playing slots. The exciting jangling sounds and flashing lights of the slot machine draws in players from across the casino. Simply pull the lever and you could see winning symbol combinations on the slot reels. So, whether you’re a beginner or a slots expert, you should know all the terms and sayings associated with slots!

Just like bingo, slots have their own language, and if you’re into bingo games, you’re sure to love slots too. Read our glossary and you’ll never feel out of place when someone mentions free spins or RTP.

Let’s dive into the world of slots!

Slots glossary

3D slots

These are slot games that use 3D video with animation-heavy graphics. 3D slots make the gameplay a bit more immersive as the symbols are brought to life when the player hits a winning combination.

3-reel slot

Closeup of neon-lit slot machine reels

A 3-reel slot is a typical type of online slot that has three reels with three rows of symbols.


Refers to all of the activity that has happened on a slot machine during a particular period of play. In other words, it’s the total amount that you have won or lost during a session. Most casinos offer slot players a club card to keep track of the behaviour and patterns of the machine that they’re playing on.


Autoplay is a feature available in most slot games that automatically spins the reels without you having to pull the lever. Players can also set the number of auto spins within the game.

Basic slots

These are slot machines with one single payline and a static jackpot or a jackpot amount.


This is the number of coins that a player inserts into a slot machine to play a game. In other words, it’s a wager on a spin.

Bet max

This function on the slot machine allows players to bet the maximum possible amount of coins/credits on a single spin. Different machines will have varying maximum limits.

Bonus round

A special feature that offers players free games and instant cash wins.

Cascading reels

If an online slot machine has the cascading reels feature, winning combinations are replaced by symbols falling from above, which means you could win more than once per spin!


On occasion, a slot machine might encounter a problem when it needs to produce a payout, or if it simply malfunctions in some way. When a slot machine stops working, a light at the top of the machine will flash to attract a casino floor worker to come and fix it. This light is referred to as a candle.


This refers to a group of slots, which are typically found in a circle or oval formation at a casino. This allows casinos to organise their gaming floor and makes it easy for players to find their favourite slot machines.

Classic slots

Vintage Jumbo Slot machine against white background

Refers to an old-school slot machine with minimal paylines and zero bonus features. These slots usually have the familiar bell, 7, fruit, and BAR symbols.

Cold machine

Slot players refer to slot machines that do not pay out very often as cold machines.


The coins that players insert into the slot machine are converted into credits. Slot machines will pay out in the form of credits which are then transferred into cash when the player is ready to collect their winnings.


These slots allow players to play for free, but unfortunately, you can’t win money when choosing the freeplay option.

Free spin

This refers to the number of spins provided for free during a bonus round.

Fruit machine

A fruit machine is a British slang name for a slot machine that uses fruit symbols on the reels.


Gamble is a feature that appears on some slot machines that allows you to try and double your winnings on a spin.

Hammer a machine

To hammer a machine means to play the same slot game for a long period of time, usually with the hope of winning a large progressive jackpot.

Hit and run

This term refers to someone that plays a single payline slot at max credit for a few spins, and then decides to move on to another machine if it refuses to pay out credits.

Hit frequency

How often a slot game pays out based on an average. The higher a game’s hit frequency, the more often the player will win.


The area of a slot machine where money is stored, ready to be spilt out when you hit the jackpot!

Hot slots

Hot slots is slang for machines that pay out on a regular basis. They’re basically the opposite of cold machines.


Happy man holding smartphone and celebrating success while standing against a grey background

The jackpot is the biggest prize available on a slot machine.

Linked progressive slots

Two or more slot machines with a total jackpot that is connected.


A slot machine that accepts coins of different values.


Multi-line refers to slot machines with more than one payline.


A bonus feature that can multiply the value of your payouts up to ten times on a bonus spin.

Near miss

This happens when a player is one symbol short of getting a winning combination.


The “Nudge” button lets players push a reel in a specific direction to help transform the line into a winning combination.

One-armed bandit

One-armed bandit is a nickname for classic slot machines that have been around since the first slots were created.


A colloquial term for slot players who insert one coin at a time instead of putting a big sum of credits in at once.


The line at which winning combinations must fall on the slot reels so that a payout is awarded.


The paytable sets out the rules and payouts of a slot game. This information helps the player understand what the symbols are valued at.


The money paid out compared to the amount of money that the player initially deposited.

Progressive jackpot

A huge jackpot that accumulates as players take part in the slot machine activity. The more players convert coins into credits and spin, the more the jackpot will grow.


Any slot machine that has a big payout is said to be “raining” because of the sound it makes when the coins fall into the collection tray. Yes, slots can make it rain too!


The discs that spin inside the slot machine window with the symbols on them.


RNG stands for random number generator and it is a computer program that selects the slot machine results at random.

Return to Player

Refers to the payout the player can expect from a slot game over time.


A scatter is a symbol that pays out no matter what the other symbols on the reels are.

Slot tournament

Contest slot machine pull handle to win against white background

Players go head-to-head playing for a prize on a specific slot game.


The wild symbol can replace any symbol on the reels (except the scatter) to form a winning combination.

Win both ways

A slot game that wins both ways pays out from left to right and right to left on the reels.

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