Free Online Slots Guide

Playing free online slots is a great way to familiarize yourself with the strategy and playing nuances of an online slot game. It’s also an opportunity for you to win real money assuming the free play online slot is an awarded bonus from the online casino. Keep reading to learn more bout free online slots and how you might come across free slots while gambling online.

Free Online Slots

Can you really play slots for free? Well, in a live casino you sure can’t. In fact, if you try to ask a staff member how you can try out a slot machine for free, they’d probably try to cut you off from the bar.

But online, the story is very different. Plenty of online casinos let players try out their games before depositing any money, from skill-based table games like poker and blackjack to more randomized games like roulette and slots.

If you’re the type of person who likes to try before they buy, then you should read on to understand how free online slots work and why you should be trying them out.

What Are Free Online Slots?

In short, free slots are online games that let you play without having to bet any real money. This takes the form of playing entire slots for free in their demo versions.

The types of online slots that offer this type of functionality are the same as your regular slots, but you access gameplay through a demo or free mode.

These demo versions of online slots do not require players to register with the site. If you’re someone who’s more careful about sharing sensitive data, this is a great advantage because you don’t even have to deposit money or create a password.

Demo slots contain all of the same features as their paid versions, from choosing your paylines and setting your bet totals to playing bonus rounds. In the end, you start with a made-up balance of credits to play with instead of gambling with actual dollars.

Why Should You Play Free Demo Slots?

But why should you play a gambling game if you’re not actually, well, gambling? That’s a fair question. Hardcore gamblers might look at free play as a waste of their time, but it can be advantageous to anyone who wants to expand into playing more than just the same old games again and again. Here’s why.

You Can Try Out a New Slot

The best reason to play free demo slots is so that you can get more familiar with a particular game before you decide to drop real money on it. You can get a basic understanding of how the gameplay works, which is important because so many different slots have their own scatter symbols and bonus rounds to differentiate themselves. While that uniqueness can create a great playing experience, it does mean that new players can also be caught by surprise by unexpected elements.

You Can Determine a Slot’s Volatility

An online slot’s volatility (also called variance) is about the inherent risk/reward of a particular game.

Some slots pay out a lot of small wins throughout the time you’re playing but don’t offer really big jackpot wins — these slots have low volatility. Meanwhile, other slots may not hit winning combinations as frequently but have bigger payouts at the end of these dry streaks — these slots have high volatility.

Which type of volatility you prefer depends on you as an individual player. Perhaps you have a small budget that you’d like to stretch out over a long period of time; you should go for a low-volatility slot that frequently pays out small rewards. If you’d rather have a better chance of winning big and have the budget to back up that effort, then go for a high-volatility slot.

The best way to figure out the volatilities of different slots is to be able to play on them for free first and see how often you get a winning combination.

You’ll Just Have Some Fun

Honestly, playing on a slot for free is just plain fun. So many slots now are more like video games than the slots of old, with fun graphics, high-quality soundtracks, and interactive bonus rounds that keep players engaged. There are even slots that were designed as licensed tie-ins to famous movies, which can feature fun clips that remind you of your favorite scenes.

So maybe you’re just looking to kill some time and not risk any money — free online slots are a great solution.

Where Can You Find Free Online Slots?

In the United States, you can find demo slots at most of the online casinos that operate within specific states.

While online gambling isn’t banned on the federal level, most states haven’t yet legalized online gambling. As of 2020, the four states that offer online casinos are:

Now, in order to play paid games at these digital casinos, you have to be a resident of that state. Many establishments will ask for proof of residence, such as a driver’s license. This is because of the Federal Wire Act of 1961, which prohibits gambling from occurring across state lines. Legitimate online casinos will ask for some sort of verification that you live within their state. This protects their license and ensures fair play.

However, these restrictions don’t apply to free demo versions of online slots. Because you don’t have to register to play these versions, the only requirement is that you have to be at least 21 years old to play. You can go to the website for any U.S.-based online casino, go to the slots collection, and mouse-over any slot’s name. If that game has a demo version, you’ll see a button that allows you to select “Demo Play.”

Golden Nugget NJ
Online Slots at Golden Nugget NJ

It’s as easy as that to get started.

What About Sweepstakes Casinos?

You’re already able to do free demos of plenty of online slots, irrespective of where you live. But there’s another option for free online slots, too.

Sweepstakes casinos are also a thing, and they exist in more of a legal gray area than your standard online casinos. Instead of saying that you’re officially gambling, some online casinos will say that their slots are “sweepstakes.” From your perspective as a player, the gameplay is exactly the same as a regular online slot. But these skirt around the law by giving you sweepstakes entries for free, so you don’t have to pay to play.

Sweepstakes casinos use virtual currencies that you use to play instead of direct cash. These “gold coins” don’t have any redeemable value, so you can’t trade them back for real money — they’re for “entertainment only.” But, if you pay for these in-game gold coins, you’ll get extra “sweeps coins” as a free bonus. These coins can be traded for cash.

The different ways you can get this “sweeps cash” include:

  • Signing up: Some sweepstakes slots give you a couple of dollars’ worth of “sweeps coins” just for registering with them.
  • Sending them a letter: If you send the establishment a letter with your account details, they will deposit free coins to your balance. You can do this repeatedly, too. Be sure to check their terms and conditions about how to do this. But a mail-in option must exist somehow for these games to legally count as sweepstakes.
  • Entering a social media contest: Sweepstakes casinos may ask fans of their social media accounts to share posts, enter contests, or stay engaged to spot special codes to then earn free plays.
  • Buying gold coins: You can buy coins with your credit card, and the sweepstakes casino will give you sweeps cash in direct proportion to the amount you spent.

Sweepstakes casinos are legal in all 50 states because they’re not directly using cash to “gamble.” And because you don’t have to deposit money to play, these sweepstakes slots operate similarly to demo slots from real casinos.

Nevertheless, they can still allow a player to win real money as long as you have sweeps coins in your account with the casino. It’s a few extra steps, but it is another way to play slots online for free and possibly win some money in return.

Online Slot Bonuses for Paid Slots

Beyond demo versions and sweepstakes slots, online casinos tend to offer free bonuses as incentives for you to sign up with them. You can take advantage of these if you do choose to play on paid slots.

These can take the form of:

  • No-deposit bonuses: A casino may give you a bonus simply for registering, usually ranging from $10-$30 in worth. These bonuses do come with wagering or play requirements before you can withdraw these extra profits.
  • Free spins bonuses: Instead of giving out free money, a casino might offer up a number of free spins (typically 10-20) on a slot. The casino will often specify on which games you can use these free spins, and you’ll need to meet some prerequisites first before accessing this feature.
  • Contests/promotions: You might encounter a casino running a promotion on social media, wherein you can share or interact with a post in exchange for entries in a giveaway. These contests may be seasonal or offered up when a new slot gets released. The freebies here are usually free spins and other bonuses.

In addition, if you’re already a paid member of an online casino, your loyalty rewards can oftentimes get translated into free slot play. Many times, this means that you get a Reload Bonus each time you deposit more money into your account. This bonus can range from 5%-15%.

If you’re playing on a paid slot that offers up these free bonuses, you need to carefully read the casino’s rules and regulations on how and when to use them. Look out for terms like:

  • Expiration date: Check to see how long any free play bonuses are good for. Some will last for only seven days, while others are available for 30 days.
  • Wagering/play-through requirements: Before you can withdraw your money, the casino will stipulate how much money you need to wager first. It might be 1x to 5x your stated bonus amount. The casino might also require that you play a certain number of times before you can cash out. It doesn’t matter if you won $1,000 on your first spin — if the wagering requirement is 20, then you have to go on and play 19 more times before collecting.
  • Capped winnings: To keep players from abusing their freebies, a casino will commonly cap the total winnings you can withdraw from a no-deposit bonus. It could be $100 or more, but that’s why it’s important to check.
  • Designated games: While you might be able to use some bonuses on any slot in your chosen online casino, other establishments specify which games you can play with your given bonuses. Some may even void your bonus if you play the wrong slot.
  • Jackpot wins: You may be able to win progressive jackpots with free slot bonuses, but not all casinos will offer this option.
  • Deposit to withdraw: Some casinos will state that you need to deposit money before you can withdraw any winnings. If this doesn’t make you feel comfortable, then avoid these bonus options.

Basically, you should make it a habit to read through a casino’s terms and conditions before dedicating yourself to a real-money deposit. This can also help you to stay away from any shadier online casinos.

Start Playing Slots Online for Free

Any smart gambler is ultimately looking at casino games as entertainment because they aren’t designed to pay out to anyone and everyone who plays. So long as you can get enough entertainment value and manage your bankroll wisely, then you’ll have a good time. The worst thing that could happen is losing some money.

If you look at playing slots this way, then playing the free version is a no-brainer. You don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on your bankroll, and you get the same thrill of spinning the reels and seeing what happens.

So read some reviews of the top NJ online casinos, pick one that feels right for you, and start checking out their demo slot options. You’ll have a blast choosing from the vast array available, and maybe you’ll find your next favorite slot to play for real money. Happy researching!