At a fundamental level, a penny slot is one that you can play for just 1p per spin. That, of course, does not mean you are obliged to play for such a low stake, simply that the option is there for you if you wish. Indeed, the ‘penny’ bet will often refer to a single line on a slot. For example, Mega Moolah, a hugely popular jackpot slot available to play at the majority of recommended casinos on the table above, will allow you to play a spin with a single line activated for just a penny. However, you can also increase the number of lines up to 25 and increase the value of the bet up to 25p per line, making the max bet £6.25.
So, we can conclude from this is that one of the main differences between penny slots and regular slots is that the former affords you much more flexibility in your play. However, there are some traits that typically define penny slots*:
- Five reels
- Three rows
- Activate 1-50 lines (the most common are 20-payline and 25-payline)
- All wins paying left to right across the reels
- At least one special feature, such as free spins, bonus games or scatter payouts
*It should be stressed that penny slots are not confined to the features on this list, but most do share those attributes listed above.
Penny Slots Vs. High Stakes Slots
There is some discussion on casino forums arguing that high limit slots offer a better rate of return (on average, over time) than slots played for low stakes. The idea is that online casinos will want to recoup their house edge and thus slots played for low stakes will need to have a lower RTP to make it worthwhile hosting penny slots. (RTP or ‘return to players’, is the term used to describe the officially tested amount that is returned to players over time. Many players use this amount to evaluate different slot games and their chances to win.) This may be something of a misconception however. Most online slots will have an RTP of over 90%, with anything over 95% representing a high return. There are plenty of examples of penny slots, such as the highly popular Gold Factory (RTP of 96.00%, available to play at Casumo), offering high RTP averages.
The RTP Of Online Penny Slots Vs Land-Based Ones
It’s a given that land-based slots have higher overheads than online casinos, and that’s even before factoring things in like the complimentary drinks offered in major casinos. Does it then follow that you will get a better rate of return when playing online? The numbers can be difficult to assess because there is not freely available RTP data for all land-based slots, but some online estimates put the figure at an average of 92-93% for land-based and 95-96% for online slots (including penny slots). You can always check the RTP for an individual slot, which are generally posted in the game’s rules section.
It is important to remember that having a high RTP should not be the only reason you choose to play a particular slot. It simply points to a higher rate of return over time, but it does not mean that big payouts are less likely or that the game will be more exciting and fun. Think of it in terms of the UK national lottery, where 53% of ticket sales go into the prize fund: Do players think of the (theoretical) 53% RTP or the chance of winning the big jackpot?
Bonus Offers And Special Features
These days, almost all slots will have some sort of bonus feature. The most ubiquitous of these when playing penny slots is the ‘Free’ Spins/’Free’ Games feature. As you might expect, when it is triggered, you will be awarded a defined number of ‘free’ spins. However, these bonus spins are often played with special enhancements, including Wild Symbols, Scatters and/or Multipliers, which can offer an extra level of bonus possibilities. These special enhancements are described below:
A Wild Symbol is one that can substitute for all others (with some exceptions) on a payline to help form the best winning combination. Wild Symbols are often featured in the main game of penny slots and have their own payout award. In addition, some Wild Symbols can have special properties such as:
- Sticky/Frozen Wilds – the Wild Symbols stay in place for several spins during ‘free’ spins.
- Wild Multipliers – the Wild Symbol(s) double, triple etc the payout for the winning combination it substitutes in.
Often during a ‘free’ spins bonus, winnings are multiplied. This can result in several possibilities, from a simple case where all wins are tripled during the feature, such as with Mega Moolah’s Free Spins Feature, or through the use of special symbols that multiply the payouts of individual wins.
Scatter symbols refer to symbols that do not need to fall on paylines to award cash prizes. Like wild symbols, scatter symbols will often have special properties during ‘free’ spins. In many cases, three or more scatter symbols will trigger the ‘free’ spins or other bonus feature.
There are two main types of bonus game available when you play penny slots. The first, and most simple version, is sometimes called a Pick Me Bonus (among other things). Essentially, when the bonus is triggered you will be prompted to pick a symbol (often these are the symbols which triggered the bonus) to reveal a cash prize.
The second type of bonus is sometimes referred to as a Second Screen Bonus. This ‘second screen’ refers to the fact that the feature is played on a new screen. There is a wide scope of creativity with these types of bonus games. They can be anything from ‘snakes and ladders style’ board games, where you roll dice and collect cash as you move up the board, to ‘shooting’ games, where you hit targets to reveal prizes. The possibilities are endless, something reflected in the broad diversity of bonus games offered by slots online today.
Please note: Often with bonus games the payout awards are reflective of your total bet. Since you may be playing for 1p, it follows that the potential payout can be relatively small in bonus games.
Penny Slot Jackpots
Most Popular Penny Slot Machines
The vast majority of casino software developers will have at least a handful of titles which can be played for a penny per spin. Normally, these are slots with adjustable paylines and a minimum bet per line of 1p. Below is a quick look at some of the penny slots from major software developers available to play now at our recommend casinos:
Mega Moolah (available at Casumo, Dunder, Royal Panda, Betway. RTP* 88.12%)
One of the most popular online slots of all time, you can win one of four progressive jackpots with any spin. A free spins bonus can also be very lucrative.
*Progressive jackpot contributions excluded from RTP.
Gold Factory (available at Casumo, Betway, Hippodrome, RTP 96.00%)
A beloved slot with a gold-mining theme, Gold Factory offers you the chance to win big in the bonus game. You can bet on 1-50 paylines from just 1p per line.
Hellboy (available at Betway, Hippodrome, RTP 96.49%)
Based on the comic books and movies, Hell Boy offers you the chance to win cash prizes in the Underworld Bonus and Super Mode (‘free’ spins) feature.
Book of Dead (available at Dunder, Casumo, Spin and Win, RTP 96.21%)
Another slot that is quickly becoming a classic, Rich Wilde: Book of the Dead is frequently celebrated for its ‘free’ spins bonus featuring special scatter wins.
Boom Brothers (available at Casumo, RTP 96.40%)
A brilliant, yet not very well-known slot, Boom Brothers is stuffed full of features, including ‘free’ spins, bonus games, wilds and scatters. A hidden gem.
Mobile Penny Slots
Penny slots were widely available on a mobile format up until a few years. In fact, the idea of the 1p ‘pocket fruit-machine’ was rolled out in many apps to coincide with the rise of smartphones. However, for most casino players, these apps are regarded as ‘recreational’ and perhaps not the best choice if you are looking to make some profit. Indeed, many of these apps are now defunct and have largely been replaced by the mobile apps of major online casinos. The good news for fans of penny slots is that the majority of games offered by the casinos on our recommended list are available to play on mobile and desktop, including the games mentioned above.
Tips On How To Play Penny Slots
The main strategy when playing slots will always involve how much to bet per spin. Obviously, when playing for a penny, that no longer becomes an issue. Instead, the fun for fun’s sake becomes more the key draw. However, there are some strategies that casino players cite as being useful:
- Ignore the idea of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ jackpots. Progressive jackpots are awarded randomly, so it doesn’t matter if it was won yesterday or six months ago.
- Choose a slot with a high (non-progressive) jackpot award. Mega Moolah and Gold Factory are good examples.
- Find a game whose theme, music, graphics and overall feel you enjoy.
- Enjoy the game play. If you are playing penny slots primarily due to budget constraints, do not feel bad that you aren’t playing with bigger sums.
- Playing smaller sums lets you enjoy playing for longer sessions, and It is exciting to win, no matter the size of the winnings. While most players hope for that big, big win, smaller wins are rewarding as well.
- Play frequently (but watch your budget). If you are aiming for one of those life-changing jackpots, you might want to play plenty of spins during different sessions to (hopefully) trigger the jackpot. Set a budget, i.e. an amount you will be happy losing, then mix it up over different time periods.
- Avoid games that favour maximum bets. Some slots will allow you to play for a low bet, but they will only offer the jackpot chance to those playing all paylines or for a higher bet. This information will always be displayed in the game rules section.
Playing penny slots will offer you a middle ground between having fun and possibly landing a big win. Everyone’s budget is different, yet low stakes players seem to enjoy playing slots just as much as high rollers. There is nothing to say you can’t have a good time playing for a penny. The casinos on our Penny Slots list offer you the chance to play slots from just 1p per spin, but they also allow you to mix it up a bit if you wish. As a conclusion, you should consider the following: The world record for an online slot jackpot was £13.2 million, paid out by Mega Moolah at Betway Casino in 2015. The spin was played at just 25p, so there is no reason to believe that playing for low stakes excludes you from landing that big, life-changing win.