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Online Slots: The Terms You Need to Know

Like online slots?

Then it’s a good thing you’ve come to PlayFrank Online Casino South Africa, because we’ve got a veritable smorgasbord of online slots to suit players of every preference and level of experience. With so many terms, online slots can seem difficult to understand at first, which is why we’ve created a handy guide to the most common slot terms below.

So, for everything you wanted to know about online slots but were afraid to ask, read on, because we’ve got the lowdown on all the relevant slot terms. Then it’s over to the PlayFrank casino lobby to explore the many online slots available to South African players. If you’re interested in finding out even more, you can also read our separate guides about fruit machine slots and video slots.

Here’s our glossary of the basic features and mechanics most frequently found in online slot games. So, grab yourself a rooibos, relax, and have a read through.

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Slot term glossary index

Online Slot Terms Explained


The vertical columns on slot machines that you spin after a bet has been placed are called reels. Winning combinations are made when symbols land on the reels randomly. While most online slots have 5 reels, some will have more and others less. Classic slots frequently have 4 reels, 3 reels, or sometimes just one reel, whereas modern slots will often have 6, 7 or more reels. The likelihood of winning is not dependent on the number of reels found in a slot game, though. Rather it’s other factors that determine whether or not you’ll win any cash.

Bet amounts

The bet amount is simply the money you place on each spin, and this figure can be changed manually on the coin value and coin level functions found on the console of the slot. Bet amounts can vary significantly, starting from as little as R1.5 a spin and going all the way up to R1,500. For those of you feeling particularly lucky, there are some slots with a ‘max bet’ feature, letting you bet the maximum amount automatically.


The horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines on reels that pay out a set sum of money when combinations of certain symbols land on them are known as paylines, also called win lines or bet lines. While most online slots pay from left to right, there are some that pay both ways. Online slots will normally allow players to select the number of paylines that are active on the reels, and this determines the bet size. Other slot games have fixed paylines.


In every slot game, there’s a paytable – a screen that highlights all the possible payouts you can win after landing particular symbol combinations. The amounts shown are typically multiples of the current bet.


When you click the SPIN or PLAY button, the slot’s reels will spin. There are autoplay and autospin functions in some online slots, and these allow players to set the reels to spin a predetermined number of times or until a predetermined spending limit has been hit.

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Slot Terms for More Advanced Players

So, that’s the basics out of the way. Now onto the more complex features you’re likely to come across in online slots. Keep an eye out for the terms below the next time you’re playing an online slot, because these features can help to boost your winning potential.


A wild symbol can substitute for any other symbol on a payline, with the exception of the scatter symbol. Landing a wild is beneficial because it will increase a player’s chances of securing a winning combination. These wilds can appear in various forms, including stacked wilds, sticky wilds, random wilds and moving wilds, and while the function of each will differ, they all maintain the role of being able to substitute for other symbols on the reels.

Free spins

Free spins are awarded in online slots at no extra cost to the player, but the number of free spins awarded will depend on different factors. There are several ways they can be triggered within a game and they are often an element of bonus rounds. Free spins on their own are a great way to increase your wins, but retriggering free spins can lead to even bigger winning potential, particularly if stacked wilds and multipliers are involved.


Multipliers in online slots will increase a player’s winnings by a set amount, and in some cases can boost them by as much as 1000x! The kinds of multipliers you might come across will depend on the slot game, but you’ll often see wilds functioning as multipliers and in-game free spins will occasionally come with multipliers. A multiplier increases the value of your bet even though you haven’t wagered anything further, making the feature well worth it for players.

Advanced autoplay

If you prefer to not have to keep spinning the reels manually in a slot game, you can instead use the advanced autoplay or autospin functions which let you automatically spin the reels. With autoplay/autospin the reels continue spinning until a predetermined number of spins has been reached, or a pre-set amount of money has been used up on spins. So, you can just sit back and watch as the game unfolds!

Online slots are full of unique features and bonuses, many more in fact than we’ve already covered. If you’re interested to learn more about bonus slot terms, we have plenty of information in our Bonus Slots guide.  

Three Common Slot Terms Players Mix Up

Now that we’ve looked at the main terms you’re likely to come across in online slots, let's turn out attention to the more obscure terminology. Don’t worry if you find these concepts confusing, you’re not the only one. In fact, even the pros have trouble with them sometimes! You don’t have to be able to understand these terms to be able to play and enjoy online slots, but there’s no harm in learning a little bit about them.

Hit frequency

The probability of a player landing a winning combination after a spin is known as the hit frequency. This is expressed as a percentage and indicates whether a game has a high or a low hit frequency. The higher the hit frequency in a slot game, the better the chance of a player winning money over a period of time.

Return to player (RTP) or payback rate

RTP (return to player) is a term used by online casinos which refers to the percentage of all wagered money that will be paid back to players over time. This payback rates vary depending on the slot game and its features, although the higher a slot RTP, the higher a chance a player has of winning back a greater share of the money they have bet.


An online slot’s ‘volatility’ indicates how much, as well as how often, a player is likely to win. On a high volatility slot, your chances of winning larger sums of money are increased, although wins will be less frequent. That means you’ll be waiting much longer for a win, but when it does happen it’s likely to be a biggie. With low volatility slots, wins tend to be smaller, but are paid out more regularly.

Top Online Slots South Africa Edition

If you hear the terms South African slots or South Africa-friendly slots, it can mean one of two things. Firstly, those online slots are available for players in South Africa, and secondly, slots that are especially popular with South African players. For example, Immortal Romance, Book of Oz, Mega Moolah and Thunderstruck II are particular favourites in South Africa, so can be referred to as South African slots.

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PlayFrank is a South African Online Casino, which means we specialise in bringing the very best online slots to our audience in South Africa. When you play online casino slots at PlayFrank, you can be certain that they’ve been chosen with South African players in mind.

Our vast selection of slots is a great reason to join PlayFrank Online Casino South Africa, but it’s not the only one. We also have South African slot reviewers and English-speaking support agents  available to help 24/7. Not to mention Frankie and the rest of the team are always brainstorming new fantastic promotions for our fab players – when we’re not getting buttermilk rusk crumbs all over the keyboard while playing Major Millions that is!

For the perfect entertainment break, choose slot games. Simple and immersive, and with many varieties available, you’re bound to find a game that tickles your fancy. Try free slots in demo mode or go straight to playing for cold, hard cash with our real money slots. At PlayFrank South Africa players will have an unforgettable online casino experience.

Please note: Players in South Africa must register first before they can play casino games as a free demo. Signing up at PlayFrank is quick and easy, and once your player account is up and running you can enjoy all slots in their demo free-play mode as well as for real money.

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