Slot machines and progressive jackpots are legal at land-based casinos in California. You can play for as little as 1 cent or hit the big-money jackpots.
You can now play a wide range of online video slots for play money in the Golden State. It might take you a bit longer to find your favorite games online, but there is still an excellent selection available.
Let’s explore how you can access some of the best slots online.
Current online slots laws in California
In 2019, there aren’t any California legislation surrounding online slots and games. States, e.g., New Jersey and Delaware, have fully legalized online casino slots for players located within state borders.
Californians can register at these regulated casinos but must travel to those states to log on and play.
Luckily, there are ways you can play classic three-reel machines and the latest five-reel slots online. However, in 2019, you can play at a social casino offering free-to-play games.
Many land-based casinos in California also operate social casinos that offer dozens of free-to-play slots games.
How to play slots online in California
If you have visited a land based casino in California, you have seen the banks of slot machines lining the walls. Slots are easy to play, and jackpots can be big on the progressive machines.
Playing online slots in California is just as straightforward. You select your game, choose a coin value and hit the “spin” button. Each slot features a series of vertical reels filled with symbols. You win prizes if the reels align to form matching combinations on horizontal paylines.
You will find a selection of classic three-reel slot machines at online social casinos, along with modern five-reel video slots packed with bonus features.
Some social casino slots and sweepstakes slots also come with progressive jackpots.
Select: An excellent online slots lobby should offer a plethora of games. Slots are divided into categories for easy access. You can choose a new slot, select a jackpot game or load up a classic slot with minimal bonus features.
Load: You can load most online slots via your web browser if it supports HTML5 or Flash. You can also download the casino software to a desktop computer for a more stable experience.
Choose your coins and win lines: When you have opened a slot, select your stakes and paylines. In some slot games, you can choose the number of lines you want to bet.
Many slots offer fixed paylines. However, in multiway slots with hundreds of paylines, you bet a set stake across all available win lines.
You can typically trigger some bonus in modern five-reel slots.
Bonuses are awarded either at random or by landing three or more scatter symbols on the reels.
Scatters are special symbols that pay out regardless of where they fall. A slot bonus might feature free spins, an instant win or a progressive jackpot game.
Most video slots online also include wild symbols. Wilds are special symbols that act like jokers. They fill the gaps in combinations to form winning lines. Wilds usually come with prize multipliers attached.
The paytable displays the current payouts for a game. Here, you can find the payouts for hitting two-, three-, four- and five-of-a-kind on all symbols. You can also discover information on bonus symbols, bonus features and the layout of paylines.
RTP: Every online slot comes with a return-to-player percentage (RTP). The RTP is the theoretical return made to you over the long term. For example, a slot with an RTP of 95% returns $95 for every $100 wagered.
RTP figures are tested by auditors who perform rigorous tests on all legitimate software providers. Online slots undergo vigorous testing before they appear in the online casino lobby. Even free-to-play video slots should go through proper testing.
Online slot variants in 2019
You can find a wide range of online slots to play. Online slot lobbies tend to mimic the offerings you can find in bigger land-based casinos in California.
Random number generators (RNGs) govern reputable online slots. RNGs ensure that every spin is independent of the last and gives a unique outcome every time.
- Three-reel slots: In classic three-reel slots, you can play across one or two paylines at a range of low stakes. There are often no bonus features, but the games resemble your favorite classic slots from your local CA casino.
- Five-reel slots: Modern video slots usually come with at least five reels. Because these games feature more reels, you can play more paylines. You will also find bonus symbols like scatters and wilds.
- Multiway slots: As technology has advanced, so has the number of paylines you can bet. Multiway online slots come with as many as 4,096 win lines. Instead of betting a coin per line, you place a set stake across all available lines. You win cash by hitting matching symbols that land anywhere on adjacent reels.
- Cascading reels slots: Most major slot developers offer their take on cascading reels. After a winning spin, the matching symbols disappear from the screen and are replaced by those sitting above on the reels. You then receive a free respin to try and win again. You typically receive a win multiplier after every successful cascading reels spin. This multiplier can increase on every subsequent winning spin.
- Bonus slots: Most five-reel slots online offer at least one bonus feature. You can trigger a bonus at random or by landing enough scatter symbols anywhere on the reels. A bonus can be as simple as a few free games. Spins may come with a multiplier, too. You can also trigger instant wins or try to double your money through a gamble feature.
Free slots vs. real money slots
In 2019, you won’t find any regulated real money slot casinos in California. However, you can access many free-to-play slot sites from California.
Most of the tribal casinos in the state operate play-money social casinos where you can try slots without risking a dime.
In free-to-play slots, you gamble with credits. These hold no monetary value, and you can’t win real cash. However, you can share your big wins on social media or earn comps to land-based casinos in California.
There are free-to-play online slots from the biggest developers around. They play and look just like the original real-money versions.
However, it’s worth remembering that sometimes the RTP is a little higher in free-to-play slots than in real-money slots.
Playing sweepstakes online in California
Online sweepstakes are growing in popularity. They are available at some online social casinos like Chumba Casino. Instead of gambling for real money, you purchase and play with “gold coins.” The casino awards you “sweeps cash,” which are based on the number of gold coins you own.
You can now play online slots with your gold coins or free sweeps cash. You can cash out some of your winnings to a bank account or PayPal after a quick ID check.
Sweepstakes and sweeps cash are legal under current California law.
Finding a reputable online slots casino
In 2019, you can try out reliable slots at free-to-play sites from the comfort of your home.
Social casinos and websites using a sweepstakes model should offer the same security and reliability as legal casinos registered overseas.
In California, you can play great five-reel slots through a browser without risking a dime. Purchase more credits and unlock more games, then share your wins on social media.
Alternatively, sign up to a new sweepstakes casino and exchange gold coins for real sweeps cash; the choice is yours.