Slot machines are the most slot bonus game in both online and land-based casinos. Still, casinos are always looking for ways to keep people playing them more often and playing them longer. One way of accomplishing that was creating multi-line bonus games.
These multi-line bonus games were developed in Australia and came to the United States in 1996. Instead of the traditional 3-reel, single-payline format, these slots usually have up to 5 reels and 25 paylines. Instead of one payline going horizontally like in traditional slots, with multi-line slots you can get a payout going horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Multi-line slots have a greater variety of symbols, since there are more lines, and each has a different value. In land-based casinos, most multi-line bonus games are video slots.
Multi-line bonus slots have symbols called scatter symbols. These are symbols that unlock some special bonus round, a mini-game where the player has a chance to win bonus prizes at no risk. Unlike other symbols, they do not have to be in the active payline to be counted. Bonuses are a clever way to keep people playing the game, as some people will continue playing even when losing money on the hopes of hitting a bonus.
Slot bonuses come in a wide variety. Sometimes they come in the form of free spins, extra coins to wager, free points (if you are playing in a point-based tournament) and more. Bonuses are the best chance players have of recouping their losses, though when it comes to slots almost everyone will lose in the end, anyway.
The bonus rounds unlocked by the scatter symbols come in many different forms. Sometimes three to five objects appear on the screen and the player has to choose one, receiving whatever bonus is associated with that object. It’s kind of like the old “see what’s behind Door #2” game show trick. Other times, a scatter symbol for a free spin will turn up and you are automatically given a free spin without playing any bonus game. Another common bonus game is a matching game, where there is a grid with hidden symbols and if you match two symbols you are given a specific bonus.
Some bonuses are offered in the form of banking. Here, players accumulate bonuses throughout the course of the game and rather than using them right away, they are banked, where they are added together and when the bank reaches a certain goal, it is paid out to the player. In this system, players are rewarded for playing the game for a longer period of time. With online slots, the bonus games are more complex. They usually share a theme with the slot and have more of an interactive type of gameplay. Some examples include batting practice in a baseball-themed game and trying to knock out an opponent in a boxing-themed game.