Evaluating Bonus Rounds in Online Slots

Types of Slot Bonus Rounds

What are slot bonus rounds?

You’ll hear them referenced wherever you decide to play your favourite online casino games. Slot bonus rounds are basically a mechanism that allow the potential for bigger and better payouts.

They differ depending on the game you’re playing in terms of their design, how they play out and their associated payout. One thing is for sure, if you’re playing slots online, you want to get to the bonus round.

Volatility is one of the most influential factors when it comes to understanding how slot bonuses work. Volatility is intrinsically linked to the return to player (RTP) rate of a given game.

For example, a high volatility slot game is one that has a low payout frequency. However, when a winning spin is landed, the payout is better than a low volatility game. Be sure to play with the best slot sites for the most choice and variety.

Slot bonus rounds for low volatility games offer a more regular payout frequency (generally over 96% RTP) but at a lower rate. This will also apply to the bonus rounds for the particular game you’re playing.

Now that we’ve answered the “what are slot bonus rounds”? question, it’s time to look at how you trigger them.

What triggers bonus rounds for online slots?

The most common way to trigger slot bonus features is to land matching symbols on an active payline. What these symbols are will differ depending on the game that you are playing.

While matching some symbols will trigger an immediate payout to your account, others are specifically designed to start the bonus round. This will be made clear to you by a key indicating the bonus symbols while the game is open.

It’s important to note that the size of the stakes that you place on a slot game does not impact your chances. Only by covering more paylines will you increase your chances of winning, once you do this, the only thing that a higher stake will do is increase your potential winnings.

Some slot games will have what are known as scatter symbols. As the name suggests, these are scattered across the reels and can trigger a payout or bonus round with other symbols in the game.

Having scatter symbols on reels increases the chances of you landing a winning spin. On most slot games, the scatter symbols can appear anywhere on the reels and trigger a payout or the start of a bonus round.

Once slot bonus rounds are triggered, you’re offered the opportunity to win more cash. This typically comes in the form of a secondary game on which spins are not deducted from your regular balance.

With so many slot games to choose from, there are also lots of different slot bonus features. But what are they and how do they differ? Well, we’ll explain.

Types of slot bonus features

One of the great things about playing online slots is that there are so many bonus feature rounds. What kind you’ll get to play depends on the game that you choose, so consider this before loading up a slot.

Slot bonus rounds offer a great opportunity for you to increase your funds. They can also increase your chances of landing the jackpot prize for that particular game.

The majority of jackpot prizes on slot games are fixed at a specific sum. However, there is a very specific type of slot that offers a top prize that fluctuates over time.

These are known as progressive slots. They work by taking a portion of your stake per spin and putting it towards a pot, collated between all games on the same network.

As you continue to play, you’ll see the progressive jackpot prize increase. This continues to do so until it is eventually won by one single player.

This is one of the most popular slot bonus features and it’s not hard to see why. People have won life-changing amounts of money landing a progressive jackpot.

There are other ways to win big, however. These come via the bonus feature triggered within the game. Below are some of the most common.

Wilds bonus

Wilds are a feature that are incredibly useful for players. They work by essentially being able to substitute for any other symbol on the reels, except for scatter symbols.

What this does is increase your chances of landing a winning spin, as there is more opportunity for a winning combination to land on a payline.

Expanding wilds are particularly fruitful. If you land one wild, it will expand across all reels, again providing more opportunities for you to land a winning spin or reach the slot bonus rounds.

Multiplier bonus

A multiplier is another bonus type that can be incredibly lucrative. The name is pretty self explanatory, but it works by multiplying your winnings by a certain amount.

Generally, you’ll find that the multiplier rate varies between anything up 100x the original payouts. Some slot games go even further, and you can some that offer 1,000x the original payout.

The amount that the multiplier offers depends completely on the game. If you’re looking to win big, it’s definitely worth checking that there are multiplier slot bonus features and, if so, what the max multiplier is.

Free spins bonus

Free spins are probably a player’s favourite when it comes to slot bonus rounds. Fortunately, they’re also one of the most frequently handed out bonuses when playing online slot games.

Casinos also tend to be quite generous in the amount of free spins that they give out. Generally, they’ll come in a collection of 20, 30, 50 or even 100 free spins.

Each free spin is a new opportunity to win and potentially hit the jackpot. All of this without taking a penny from your available funds. This is what makes it one of the best slot bonus features out there.

Sometimes, you may even bag additional free spins. This, in turn, provides even more opportunity to land a big win. If you get free spins when playing slots, make sure you use them.

Picking bonus

Another appropriately-named bonus feature that is popular with online slot games. Picking bonuses are usually triggered by lining up the required symbols on the reels.

A secondary window pops up and you’re offered the chance to make a selection from various options. You cannot see what is behind the choices, so this is a blind pick.

You are then credited with whatever prize is hidden behind your selection. Depending on the game you play, this prize will be predetermined, or will actually be random based on what you select.

Picking bonuses are popular because they give players a sense of control over the outcome. Even if that isn’t the case and the result is indeed predetermined, the ability to “choose” something is appealing.

Spin the wheel bonus

Another great bonus feature that is common on slot games is a ‘spin the wheel’ style bonus round. When triggered, a new window will pop up with a wheel displaying various prizes.

You are prompted to begin the spin of the wheel and are awarded whichever prize the wheel lands on. Occasionally, this feature will offer another spin of the wheel, giving more chances to win.

This is truly one of the most random slot bonus rounds that you can play. You simply have to spin the wheel and accept whatever it lands on, similar to the style of the reels of the original slot game.

Can players influence the frequency of bonus rounds?

Ultimately, there is nothing that you can do that would increase, or decrease, the frequency at which bonus rounds occur. These features are either set or subject to a random number generator (RNG) software.

As we’ve already covered, the size of your bets have no effect in this respect. You could stake $50 and not get to a bonus round. You could equally stake $5 and hit the game’s jackpot.

Playing for lengthy periods of time will not have an impact either. While you may get plenty of opportunities to reach the bonus round, you will ultimately have to stake a lot more.

This puts you at risk of losing significant sums of money. So, bear this in mind when you go chasing slot bonus rounds the next time you play online.

Making the most of slot bonus rounds

Once you actually get to the bonus round, you obviously want to win. That’s why it’s important to implement some strategies to increase your chances of success.

A top strategy for making the most of slot bonus features is to maximise the potential of free spins. Focussing on triggering free spins is a good tactic to significantly increase your chances of winning.

You should prioritise slot games that offer cascading reels and expanding wilds. These two features are key in boosting your overall payout.

It’s also wise to choose slot games that offer a high return to player (RTP) rate. This will, in turn, increase your chances of winning when you do trigger slot bonus rounds.

Understanding the mechanics of the bonus round is also vitally important. If you’re unsure how a game will play, try a free demo version first and play until you reach the bonus round to try it out before you bet with real cash.

Bankroll management is imperative if you are to maximise your online slots experience. Not only in the slot bonus features, but in the regular gameplay also.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to taking advantage of the many great bonuses on offer.


So, now you know the answer to the question “what are slot bonus rounds?” This understanding will give you a head start in your online slots journey.

We’ve also outlined the triggers for bonus rounds which are mainly to get matching symbols on a payline. This can also be supported by scattered symbols and wilds, which greatly increase your chances of triggering the bonus feature.

The many types of slot bonus on offer also further enhance your experience. Free spins are definitely the most common type of bonus that you’ll receive, so be sure to make the most of these when they occur.

It’s important to remember that you cannot influence the frequency that bonus rounds occur. These happen randomly and are not linked to the amount you stake or the length of time that you play the game.

When you do reach a bonus round, be sure to follow our tips to make the most of it. Understanding how the bonus feature is triggered and ultimately won will help you choose the game that is right for you.

All of this will help to ensure that you get the best possible experience when you reach slot bonus rounds. So, load up your favourite slot game and get spinning. Good luck!

About the author

Danny McKeown, Guest Author at BestCasinoSites.net

Name Danny McKeown
Job Freelance Writer Specialising in iGaming

Danny McKeown is a professional content writer who specialises in slots and poker. He expanded his expertise and worked for renowned companies in the iGaming industry.

Versatility, knowledge and passsion are the three factors that make a good content writer.

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