My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Online slots vs classic slots in the UK, which are better?

The history of the slot machine is a long one. It was first invented late in the 19th century by a young Californian electrical engineer called Charles Fey.

One of his very first machines was a very simple three-reel game called the Liberty Bell. Using a combination of mechanical gears and simple electrical circuits it also featured a jackpot of just 25 cents.

Nevertheless, it proved to be very popular. Initially, this was just in San Francisco and other Californian cities. But the machines then started to get a wider fan base and the rest is history.

In the 150 or so years since Fey’s invention first saw the light of day, the slots themselves may have evolved hugely, but the basic principle remains the same.

Reels spin, stopping randomly, and pay-outs are awarded for pre-determined combinations or patterns of symbols.

Today, the classic slot has been joined by the online version. This has been boosted by the arrival of the many online slot providers which have been with us since the 1990s. Take a look on slotsource.co.uk and you’ll see just how many of these there are.

Of course, there are still many devotees to the sort of classic slot that you’ll find in pubs, bars, and even service stations throughout the UK. As a country with some of the world’s most liberal gambling laws, you’ll find they are far more widespread than in many other countries, a fact that has helped to ensure their popularity.

There are several differences between online and classic slots which help to make them appeal to different kinds of players. So, let’s take a look at a few key areas that differentiate them.


The classic slot is called that for a very good reason. This type of game tends to use the classic symbols of different kinds of fruits as well as higher-paying symbols like bells and the lucky number 7.

Online slots, on the other hand, can have any kind of theme – many are becoming more and more like video games. So, they can transport players back to the worlds of ancient Rome or Egypt. Many are even linked to popular TV shows and movies.

So, the idea is that different kinds of players will be able to find just the kind of game to suit them. And, with many casino sites offering hundreds of different titles, they’re always spoilt for choice.

Stakes and pay-outs

Another key difference comes in the amount it costs to play the two different kinds of slots game – and the potential winnings too.

In the case of the classic slots game, these tend to take coins as methods of payment. This means that each spin of the reels costs a fixed amount.

It’s very different with online slots. This is because players can choose their stake between two different minimum and maximum amounts.

This also means that the prize structure is very different. With a classic slot the pay-out is a fixed amount that is paid whenever a certain combination of symbols land. In online slots, there are the same winning combinations of symbols but the pay-out for each one is calculated as a multiple of the stake being used.

So, the higher the stake, the bigger the potential pay-out.

The nature of online slots also means that the jackpots that can be won are generally far higher than on classic slots.

This is especially true when a game features a “progressive jackpot”. This is one in which several online slots games are linked together with one big jackpot prize fund. The potential wins are nothing short of life-changing for the players who happen to strike it lucky.


The features of the classic slot tend to be limited to holds and nudges. As anyone who’s played these games before will know, these mean that you can either hold one or more reels in place for a turn or move any combination of them on for a set number of moves.

Online slots are far more sophisticated. Many have bonus rounds which are like a game within a game. For example, many have a feature in which you can choose a mystery reward which may be a set number of free spins or a multiplication of your winnings.

Most also include wilds which are symbols that can stand in for any others to create more winning combinations and scatters which can unlock other features of a game.

One of the great strengths of the online slot is that the screen can be transformed from simply showing spinning reels to displaying anything the game programmers want. This offers huge flexibility in the features that can be offered.

Free spins

Both classic and online slots usually include some kind of free spins bonus. This is triggered when certain symbols land. But the key difference is that with online slots there is often the chance to generate many more of these than in a classic game. It’s reasonably common to qualify for twenty or more in a game. Classic games rarely offer more than one or two.


But where the online slot does win out over the classic is convenience. Play it whenever and wherever you want, even on your mobile phone.

That said, both online and classic will always have their fans. So, it’s not so much a case of which is better – more of which is better for the individual player, and that’s a very personal choice indeed.

Gambling statement

Underage gambling is an offence. You must be over 18 years old to gamble.

Any form of gambling should always be fun, playing in a way that is right for you. It’s good to set limits, take time out or set up reminders.

Please gamble responsibly and in moderation.

For more information on the tools available to help to keep you safe or if you want advice or support you can call the National GamblingHelpline on 0808 8020 133 (England, Scotland and Wales or visit Gamblingtherapy.org).