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Updated: Dec 27, 2023


The evolution of slot machines is such that each casino probably has half a dozen different types of machines, all of which are recognizable as "slots". This section covers the main slots categories to prepare you for a journey to your local slots' paradise. Whether you play live or online, you need to understand these slot machine styles if you want to play without confusion.

Classic Slot Machines

This sentence can mean two things. A classic type of slot is a game that takes the style of traditional slot games. It is not likely that you will find a real mechanic in a casino. You are more likely to see such machines in the private collection of a gambling collector. We've seen a few mechanical machines on display in casinos and hotel lobbies, but never one that actually took bets and paid out winnings. Another type of "classic slot machine" is a modern game with RNG and electronics designed to look and act like a real classic machine.

Bonus Slots

The term "bonus slots" is a loose way of referring to any slot machine that offers a bonus game or other feature that goes beyond the traditional "spin the reels and win" game. Most modern games are technically bonus slots, although there are many online and casino-based slots that technically do not reward any bonuses. Bonus games are games that step outside of the traditional slot method and offer additional prizes or rewards. A side bet based on tossing a virtual coin, a game of skill that challenges you to test your skills with a virtual gun, and a gamble feature that offers double or nothing are all bonus games, and their presence makes every game you're on a bonus insert.

Progressive Slots

Slots that are connected to each other are called progressive slots. This is because their main prizes keep increasing as more and more people place bets and pay into the machine network. Some progressive slots are linked to other machines in the same casino. Other networks span multiple casinos. Online progressives are connected for thousands of miles through nothing more than an internet connection. The possibilities are endless.

Licensed Games

The first licensed slots appeared in the 80s. It didn't take long for the designers to realize the huge potential here. It turns out that slot players are much more likely to try a game if it has a familiar character, story, theme, or even a visual or sound effect. If you see a slot with a picture of a famous character, like Mickey Mouse, or a game with known rules, like Monopoly, you're probably looking at a licensed game.

Skill games

Games of skill are like slot machines with added functionality. In many states where traditional slots are illegal, so-called games of skill (where the player uses their skill to try to stop the reels at a specific point) remain legal and are even common. In casinos, games of skill usually take place near slot machines and video poker. You should think of these games as a combination of a video game and the rules of a slot machine. It's not that the element of luck has been completely removed - instead, like video poker, these are luck-based games with a strong element of skill.


Slot machines are the mainstay of the American casino. American casinos keep their doors open thanks to the profits from slot machines. The trick to playing slots successfully is to stick to your win and loss limits, play the machines with decent returns, and make sure you stop by for fun.

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