The free spins round is one of the most common bonus games found in the best online slots, and the name tells you all you need to know. When you land a free spin game, you are treated to a number of spins which don’t cost you anything, and the wins keep on piling up.

These bonus games are launched from within a slot machine, and shouldn’t be confused with the free spin promotions that you see many casinos offering to new customers. If you want to find out more about free spin promotions and welcome bonuses, check our pages for the latest and best deals out there when you sign up to an online casino. To find out more about bonus games and how they work, read on.

Bonus Games

Bonus games are found in almost every game nowadays, from land-based games to online 3D games, and this type of bonus round is one of the most popular of all.

Variations on these games are aplenty, but the usual basic premise is that you are awarded an amount of spins when you enter the bonus game. The number of spins also varies, with 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 common amounts, although we’ve seen some slots offer 40 or 50 spins in bonus rounds. The spins are usually played to the same staking amount that you were playing at when the game was launched, and you will get to keep any profits after the spins are complete.

This is worth bearing in mind, and if your bankroll will allow, it always makes sense to play slot machines with free spin rounds on all lines and to maximum stakes; that way you will get the most out of the spins when they come around.

Game developers have spiced up bonus rounds in several different ways, and most feature some combination of wild symbols, multiplier symbols, and retriggering options.

How The Spins are Triggered

Once again different games use different methods of initiating the bonus round, but by far the most common is by lining up a set number of scatter or free spin symbols across a payline. Some slots use the wild symbols to launch free spin games as well, and it’s worth checking the pay table on each machine to find out exactly how to access the bonus round.

Multipliers and Wilds

Multiplier symbols and wild symbols are found in most games these days, and they serve to increase your winnings considerably when you hit them. Multipliers do exactly what you’d expect, and multiply your winnings by a certain amount, usually displayed on the symbol, e.g. 5X.

Wild symbols can be used in place of any other symbol to complete a payline, and they are a valuable tool in a free spin round. If you have four matching symbols and a wild, you are paid as if you had landed five matching symbols, and landing just one wild can create winners on more than one payline.

Game developers have created diverse variations on the wild, with sticky wilds, shifting wilds, cascading wilds, expanding wilds and stacked wilds, all featured in various bonus rounds on different games.

Sticky wilds and shifting wilds stay on the reels, for several of the spins creating multiple wins each time the reels spin. Expanding and stacked wilds can fill part or all of a reel to cover several reel positions and create even more winning combinations, while cascading wilds are a throwback to classic video games like Tetris; making winning symbols explode off the reels so other symbols can take their place and generate further wins.

Retriggering the Bonus

Another innovative feature in many of these games is the retriggering feature, which enables you to repeat the bonus round. Usually this is achieved by lining up the same number of symbols that you hit to take you into the bonus round in the first place, and if you do that you are awarded extra spins.

You might wonder if it’s possible to retrigger the spins continually, but slot machines are designed with a maximum number of spins that can be awarded in any one round. Some slots don’t offer a retrigger at all, so it’s worth checking the pay table again to see if the one you intend to play does include retriggering.

Free spins are one of the most popular bonus games around. There is something about watching the reels spin and watching winning lines hit and knowing you haven’t paid for it that is very appealing to slots players!