How Do Online Slots Differ From Casino Slots?

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Brian Christopher now regularly plays three types of slots: in-person casino slots, online real money gaming slots, and social casino slots. So here’s a fair question based on that arrangement:

Is there a difference between the odds and/or features/rules on slots online versus the actual in person machines themselves?


The rules between one game and another, regardless of location, will usually differ. But if you’re looking at the same game, such as Dancing Drums, online vs. in person, the rules/odds tend to be either identical or nearly that. Here are some things, however, that can change between them.

Progressives vs. Jackpots

Many of the online versions of slots side step the progressives you’ll find in person, and offer flat jackpots that move with bet. So normally when you bet higher on Dancing Drums in person, the pot closes more often. That doesn’t happen online, because the pot values grow with bet, so the odds of closing the pot are now the same.

Bet Ranges

Bet ranges are usually much wider on online slots than they are in a casino. The lower end tends to be lower, and the higher end tends to be higher. On Ultimate Fire Link you can bet as low as 20 cents, an option not possible in a casino.

Buy a Bonus

Some online games let you buy a bonus, whereas in casinos you can’t do it on the same game. This is just an extra side option that doesn’t change the way the base game plays.

On Rare Occasions, Different Games

Light & Wonder is most guilty of this, but on rare occasions the same named game online can be a different game than the one in casinos. Monopoly Lunar New Year and Gold Fish Feeding Time Deluxe Treasure are examples of games where the rules differ, and so they’re just different games altogether.

Payback Percentage

When it comes to how well the games pay, online games are much more upfront about this – you’ll generally find the payback percentage right in the rules. Physical casinos in the US do not do this, but generally speaking the online options pay better than the in person versions, for a variety of reasons. This is particularly true for the smaller bets, which in physical casinos can often go down to 85 percent payback, vs as much as a 96 percent payback in an online casino.


There can be some differences between online slots and the same game in physical casinos. Often the differences aren’t huge, with the potential exception of the payback percentage, depending on where you are and your bet level.

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