Glossary on Slots Terms and Lingo

by Tim | Mar 21, 2022

Glossary on Slots Terms and Lingo

Back in the day, slot machines were humble things, and if you had the words “spin” and “jackpot” down, then you pretty much had them covered. Things have come a long way in the past decade, however, and now the best online slots have modern video graphics, enticing features and bonus rounds, cinematic sounds and much more.

Getting your head around all the quirks of modern slot machines can be pretty overwhelming, and if you don’t know your stacked wilds from your progressive jackpots when you play mobile slots with no deposit, then it’s easy to get confused. Not to worry!

At The Phone Casino, we completely understand that it can be hard to get a grip on all these new terms, and that’s why we’ve made this handy blog post filled to the brim with slot terms and lingo! 

Here’s a glossary of the most important words and terms you should know to make your no deposit spins on the slot machines much more enjoyable.

3D video slots

A modern innovation for slots where animation is used to bring the reels to life in the form of a 3D video that brings rich depth to the game’s graphics.


You’ll find the symbols for the slot game on the reels. These are the mechanisms that spin each time you press the spin button. Three-reel slots are the classic slot format and are mainly present in older slot games or those with a retro theme.


A slot game with five reels and different symbols, including fruit, jewels and a trophy.

Many modern slot games have upgraded from the three reels mentioned above to a five-reel slot format, although, of course, you might still prefer your classic setup.

Active paylines

If you land a winning combination on a payline that is active in a slot game, you will get the appropriate payout. Sometimes it’s just a single line, but when the game has multiple paylines, it will normally allow you to choose the number you’d like to have active on a spin (you’ll need to tailor your bet as a result). Depending on the game, you may also have to land symbols in a particular order along the payline, such as from left to right, so it’s worth reading up on the slot rules before playing.


If you don’t feel like hitting the spin button every round, then you don’t have to. Instead, the autospin button will do all the work for you. It allows you to set how many spins you’d like, as well as your win and loss limits and so on. Some slot titles will let you set autoplay to stop when you hit a bonus round, too!

Bet max

This is the maximum wager that you are allowed to put down on any single spin. Sometimes you are required to do this to unlock the chance for a maximum win, but it’s important never to bet more than you can afford, so set yourself a budget.

Bet min

The minimum amount that you can bet on a single spin.

Big Bertha

Big Bertha doesn’t really apply to online slots much, but it’s an important part of the game’s culture, so it’s good to know. Big Bertha is traditionally the great big slot machine that you’ll see at the entrance of brick-and-mortar casinos. It’s designed to attract the attention of passers-by.

Bonus features

A digital concept of a slot machine showing a welcome bonus.

Bonus features are often the most exciting aspect of slot machines. They are specific rounds triggered by a specific combination of symbols – normally wilds or scatters – that give you a free run at getting extra cash winnings and multipliers. Some are interactive, such as “pick-me” bonuses.

Branded slots

These are games based on movies, TV shows and other copyrighted material. Deal or No Deal Slingo and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire are just two examples of branded slot games.

Cascading reels

An exciting feature that sees symbols on a winning payline disappear and the reels above drop replacement symbols, which can also create winning combinations, all on the same spin.

Coin size

Most of the time, bet sizes are not actually set out in currency but rather coin size. You will be able to bet a certain number of coins on each spin. The coin size determines how much each coin you bet is worth.

Expanding wilds

This is when a wild symbol drops onto your reels and expands to cover the whole reel. As a result, there’s a higher chance of getting a winning combination.

Fixed jackpot

The payout amount for fixed jackpots stays the same for every win. Some games have more than one fixed jackpot up for grabs in a hierarchy of prize values such as mini, max and giant jackpots. 

Free spins

Many games will award players with free spins without deposits. They are normally triggered with a combination of symbols like wilds or scatters, but they could also be secured during a bonus round. Of course, you could also be given free spins daily to use on certain slot games as a reward from a casino.

Fruit machine

 A lemon, 7 and cherries on an old-school fruit machine.

These were the original slot machines found in casinos and pubs, and they feature symbols such as cherries, melons and pears.

Hot and cold slots

This is (respectively) when a machine is paying out a lot, or has been “quiet”. If a machine is on a payout streak, then it is a hot machine. Conversely, if there have been few payouts, then it’s a cold machine.


The thing that every player hopes to win in a slot game! The jackpot is the ultimate payout from a game. Some are fixed amounts, while others are progressive jackpots, which grow in size as the game is played.

Mobile slots

These games have been optimised to work seamlessly on smartphones or tablets and are great for enjoying a bit of slot action on the go.


Many symbols or winnings within a game will have a number with an “x” next to them. This is a multiplier, and it is used to multiply your winnings by the stated number. For example, if your winnings are £20 and you have a 10x multiplier that’s active, you’ll get £200.

No deposit mobile casino

A no deposit mobile casino is an online casino that gives its customers free spins or rewards that they can use without having to put a wager down. (Certain terms and conditions usually accompany these offers, so always read the small print so you know what to expect.)

Progressive jackpot

Certain games keep a percentage of every wager spent on a game played by multitudes of players for the jackpot, and this keeps adding up and growing the jackpot’s value over time. Eventually, someone will win the progressive jackpot and the winnings will reset.

Return to player (RTP)

The RTP is a theoretical percentage figure that shows how much cash a slot machine pays back to players over time. For example, in theory, a slot with an RTP of 96% should pay back £96 for every £100 spent. The game developers calculate this based on thousands of theoretical spins, so it’s a reliable indicator of how much you can expect to win over an average gaming session.


The paytable is part of the rules of the game and it will give you an explanation of the value of the various symbol combinations and so on.

Random number generator

A random number generator, or RNG, is the computer program that randomly generates the position in which the reels land on each spin. 


The reels refer to the vertical lines on the screen, whereas the rows are the horizontal lines that run across the reels.

Second screen bonus

This is when the bonus feature actually takes you to a separate screen from the base game. There’s normally some sort of interactive element, like choosing a particular box or playing a unique game within the game.

Stacked wilds

Stacking wilds are when wild symbols land on the reels and stack one top of one other to fill up an entire single reel.


A variety of different symbols on the reels of a slot machine.

These are the small visual icons found on your reels that you need to combine to win. Each game has a paytable that displays the payout for various combinations of symbols.


This is the frequency with which certain games tend to pay out. Low-variance slots pay out a little more often, but the payouts are generally smaller. A high-variance slot will pay out less often, but the prizes are generally more substantial.

Get your free spins at our no-deposit casino in the UK

As you can see, there is a lot of lingo to learn when it comes to modern slots, but with our free spins without deposit offer, you have ample opportunity to get to grips with them all! 

Register at The Phone Casino, a no-deposit mobile casino with free spins, and play all of your favourite games.

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