What Does Scatter Mean in Slots?
In order to win when playing on any regular slot, you’ll need to line up matching symbols across active paylines. Non-alignment equals no payout. But scatter slot games are different. These symbols don’t need to line up, and it’s enough to merely see a minimum number of them (normally three or five) to activate a bonus feature. Unsurprisingly, the name of these symbols originates in the fact that they are “scattered” across the reels.
We should point out that a Google search for “scatter slots” will probably bring up over 100 free slot games from the games producer Murka. These games are designed around the idea of social gambling and there are no real money prizes to be won, just a virtual currency. You may also come across an online casino called Scatters. In this article, we’ll solely focus on scatter symbols in online slots though.
A Short History of Scatter Symbols
The very first scatter slots symbol was the ubiquitous cherry symbol, so beloved of the classic fruit machines. When this symbol first appeared in slots, it was something of an anomaly, though it quickly gained in popularity to the point where it’s considered something of a cliché today.
Most modern scatter slots come loaded with a lot of branding as games developers recognise that gamblers tend to favour games from a particular stable as opposed to a particular genre. The result is that many games companies are constantly introducing novelty scatter symbols to keep players entertained and immersed. Thanks to changing and updating the old format of the slots’ 3×3 grid, today’s scatter symbols can be in the form of an animation, shape-changing icons, and 3D graphics. Some may even trigger a short video. You may also come across a symbol with the words “Bonus” or “Free Spins” written across it. Finally, some other scatters may directly unlock the bonus feature with little fanfare.
How do Scatter Slots Work?
We should start by saying that the scatter’s functionality is going to depend on the scatter slots games you’re playing. On most regular online slots, without scatters, you’ll need a particular formation of symbols in order to trigger the promised bonuses. However, scatter slots have no such restrictions, and it’s enough to see a certain number of scatter symbols anywhere on the reels after a single spin to receive your extra perks. Once you’ve triggered the scatter’s bonuses, you can expect to gain one of the following items:
Free spins are the most popular gifts when you land a scatter’s bonus prize. Depending on the number of scatter symbols you manage to land, 5 to 15 free spins are usually given out. Most online slots will require at least three scatters to trigger any free spins, though some have a requirement of just two.
If you’re lucky enough to land yet more scatters after already gaining the first round of free spins, then you can be rewarded with extra spins, also known as respins or retriggers. Be aware that this scatter slots bonus is usually available when playing a free spins round.
You’ll find a number of online jackpot slots that also make use of scatters. These include titles such as Mega Fortune and Divine Fortune from NetEnt as well as Mega Moolah from Microgaming, among others. Scatter symbols in jackpot slots usually trigger up to 15 free spins when appearing in groups of three.
On the whole, if three scatters or more appear they will trigger a bonus round. These bonuses are most commonly given out as free spins, though multipliers, mini-games and jackpots are also possible.
Some scatter slots, such as Tarzan from Microgaming and NetEnt’s Blood Suckers II, contain a scatter slots bonus feature which is essentially a game within the game. This is triggered by scatters and often is a combination of other bonuses such as free spins and/or the Wheel of Fortune.
Wheel of Fortune
Landing scatters at certain slots will gain you entry to a bonus round featuring a Wheel of Fortune. Giving this a spin allows you the possibility of winning extra prizes, including more free spins, credits and even multipliers. Sometimes the wheel may even trigger a jackpot prize.
As you’d expect, this scatter slots bonus is used to multiply your winnings. The actual number of times will vary, and you should check the paytable for the actual amounts. If you land between two to five scatters, then that should be enough to trigger a multiplier, though as a rule, the more scatters, the more multipliers are given. Bear in mind that the multiplier is only given for your existing wins on that particular round, not across all winnings since you began your slot’s session.
The Best Scatter Slot Games
Below we’ve listed some of the best online scatter slots games available to play, along with their most important scatter features.
Microgaming’s Immortal Romance slot has a sweet sentimental theme featuring handsome vampires and lovely witches, with a chance to win up to 12,000x your initial stake. In addition, the slot features an adjustable wager feature, which means that the more you spend, the greater the size of the winnings, with the top jackpot sitting at 364,500.00 credits. The game also offers a very good RTP of 96.86% and has been re-released in May 2020, almost 10 years after first hitting online casinos in 2011.
You’ll find three to five scatter symbols across the reels, which will let you enter the “Chamber of Spins”. Each of the four characters, Amber, Troy, Michael and Sarah, feature their individual backstory as well as a special free spins bonus game, including retriggers, multipliers, cascading reels, or symbol upgrades. Multiple entries into the Chamber will unlock additional bonus features, with Amber being available upon the first bonus trigger, Troy upon the fifth, Michael upon the tenth and Sarah upon the fifteenth. Any scatter winnings in the Chamber of Spins will be multiplied by your total wager.
Big Bad Wolf Megaways
This non-progressive slot from Quickspin comes with 6 reels, and with Megaways mechanics, the number of paylines increases to 117,649. The minimum wager is 0.20 coins, and the maximum is 100 coins. Though you’ll find all the usual farmyard-themed symbols including scatters, wilds, multipliers and autoplay, as well as bonuses like Piggy Wilds and Tumbling Reels, Quickspin doesn’t offer any bonus games. Nevertheless, the jackpot is worth 30,540x your wager, meaning you could win up to over $2 million!
With its stunning graphics and a lush Amazon rainforest theme, this is one of the most colourful scatter slots games on the internet. NextGen Gaming have certainly upped the ante with exotic animals, tropical fruit and vibrant toucans for their icons, though the scatter symbol is the word “scatter” against a beautiful sunset. These scatters can trigger bonuses that come in the form of sloths, feathers, lizards and yet more toucans. The game features the usual five reels and 25 paylines and it’s exceptionally easy to play. Finally, we should mention there’s a jackpot of 1,000 coins.
Relax Gaming has produced a great scatter slot with an explosive Wild West theme that offers a 5×4 grid with 40 paylines. The stakes vary from 0.01 to 50 coins and give you the chance to grab the massive jackpot of 20,000x your initial wager. Landing just three scatter symbols will offer a variety of bonus prizes including various multipliers called Payer, Collector, and Widener. If you land five scatter symbols, then you’ll have access to the biggest bonus prizes.
With its disco soundtrack and funky fruits, this crazy slot revolves around jars of fruit jam. Push Gaming has produced a high volatility game full of fruits, berries and jam jars. Jammin’ Jars utilises a “cluster wins” mechanism, whereby matching five adjacent symbols will produce a win. What’s interesting is that these symbols don’t have to line up, just appearing anywhere on the reels is enough. The bet range is 0.20 to 100 coins and the game offers a solid RTP of 96.83%. Three scatters will unlock six free spins, each of which can trigger another bonus round.
Dead or Alive 2
This Wild West-themed high volatility slot from NetEnt offers five reels with nine paylines. In line with the cowboy theme, the symbols are colt revolvers, bottles of whisky, a sheriff’s badge, cowboy boots and a Stetson hat. Billy the Kid and Belle Star are amongst those representing the wilds. By landing three scatters you’ll move to a bonus round where you can claim up to 12 scatter slots free spins, with the possibility of receiving a massive payout of 100,000x your initial bet. With the maximum wager being $100, then with the right combination, you may end the game as a very rich person indeed.
Secret of the Stones
Enter the world of Celts and Druids with this slot offering from NetEnt. With five reels and 25 win lines, this is a slot decorated with ancient symbols from the time of Stonehenge. The wagering range is very low, with the highest bet allowed being just 0.50 coins and by landing three scatters, you’ll activate the free spins mode and receive ten free spins. With just one scatter, you’ll be given access to the Free Spins Bonus Collector. Choose between 20 standing stones to win another free spins bonus.
Warlords – Crystals of Power
Reminding us of a popular, dragon-featuring fantasy TV series, this big-budget slot from NetEnt features three main warlord characters. The blue Barbarian, the green Priestess and the red Samurai who all tower over the three reels, with each coveting the others’ crystals of power. Other symbols include ferocious-looking wild boars, jaguars, wolves, jewelled brooches and some masks. In the main game, the warlord’s scatters are represented by differently coloured flags, and each one corresponds to a different feature; three free spins, one sticky wild and one multiplier. But if you manage to land the same type of scatter symbol on a spin, then you’ll be rewarded with instant free spins. Different scatters will fight for dominance and after each battle, a random scatter morphs into the others.
NetEnt’s Mega Fortune is popular with all slots players for its enormous jackpots, with the game’s progressive jackpot starting at $150,000. With five reels and 25 paylines, the theme features the trapping of the super-rich; expensive cars, yachts, cigars, credit cards, diamonds and top-tier watches. Landing three scatters will get you the free spins feature, while the additional bonus symbol lets you enter the bonus game. This consists of a Wheel of Fortune, with three separate wheels, giving you the chance to hit the Mega Jackpot. Stakes go from $0.25 up to $50.
Book Slots: A sub-type of Scatter Slots
Book scatter slots games are based on books, though in the slots world, the theme of Ancient Egyptian exploration is very popular. With these games, the wilds and the scatters are often combined and appear as one symbol, normally a book.
Book of Ra
As you can guess from the slot’s title, this is an Ancient Egypt-themed slot following in the footsteps of a famous, adventurous movie hero character, simply called the “Adventurer.” The other three main symbols are the scarab, the sphinx and a golden sculpture. The scatter symbol is the actual Book of Ra and its activation will reward you with either ten free spins or the “Gamble Round”, which is a simple card game of black or red, with a 50:50 winning chance. Furthermore, there’s an expanding scatter feature which appears after you’ve activated the bonus spins. With this feature, a symbol is selected at random. If it appears in the bonus round, it will fill all the positions on the reels.
Book of Dead
Here we have the intrepid explorer Rich Wilde searching for Egyptian pharaohs and their hidden treasure. Both scatter and wild are represented by the Book of Dead logo. Once landed, the logo symbol will substitute all the other symbols, and landing three or more will give you ten free spins. Richard also has a daughter who has her own franchise in Cat Wilde and the Doom of Dead, which is basically a direct copy of Book of Dead. The scatters here function in the same manner and can, likewise, retrigger more free spins, which you could technically keep hitting for an unlimited run.
Meet the ancient Egyptian king Ramses, whose slot boasts the possibility of winning 200x your initial bet with a single row of scatters. Though the highest paying symbol is Ramses himself, both the wilds and scatters are represented by the eponymous Ramses Book. After each spin, the game offers a gamble option where you can choose either a red or black card for the chance to double your winnings or lose it all.
Book of Shadows
This horror-themed game from Nolimit City hit British online casinos in 2020. Here, you’ll find animal sacrifices, satanic cats and dismembered eyeballs. The most generous symbol in the game is the scatter, which, as you’d expect, is the actual Book of Shadows, and can pay out as much as 500x your initial bet. Landing three scatter symbols will get you ten free spins. What’s interesting about this slot is that you can lock individual reels and by doing so, increase the number of ways to win.
Books & Bulls
Quite where books fit in with this Spanish bullfighting-themed scatter slot is a mystery. The game’s scatters are a wild-looking bull and an ancient book. Both can win you ten free spins for three symbols appearing anywhere on the reels. As soon as these free spins kick in, the bull symbol will become a sticky wild, which should help you towards more winnings.
Book of the Ages
This five-reel online slot has Count Dracula as its main protagonist. Travel to Transylvania and start betting from as little as 0.01, going up to 50.00 coins. As you’ve probably guessed, the Book of Ages is both the scatter and wild symbol. Once again, three scatters will get you ten free spins, though a bonus symbol will come into play just before your free spins commence, thereby increasing your winning chances. As with many other slots on this list, at the end of any winning spin, you have the chance to double or lose your winnings.
Book of Oz
The Book of Oz is based on – surprise, surprise – the world of a very well-known wizard. The book symbol represents both the wilds and scatters, and they can replace all the other symbols on the reels. By lining up three to five books, you’ll have the chance of bringing in between two to 200 coins. Furthermore, three or more books will reward you with between ten to 25 free spins. The highest paying symbol is Mr Oz, who can pay out as much as 5,000x your initial bet.
With book scatter slots being so popular, we should give an honourable mention to the many others that fall into this genre, including the Book of Truth, Book of Maya, Book of Darkness, Book of Fallen, Book of Secrets, Book of Kings, Book of Lords and the Book of Immortals. Many of these are based on the beloved ancient Egyptian theme.
How to Choose the Best Scatter Slots Games to Play
Although all slot games are primarily about luck, there are some factors that, when taken into account, can help swing the odds in your favour. Most involve strategies to help your bankroll go further. So, the first thing to look out for is the slot’s RTP (Return To Player). This number appears as a fraction or percentage and is the amount of the total spending returned to the gambler over time. A good RTP is anything above 96%, meaning that if you spend $100, you’d receive back $96. Keep in mind that this example is an average over a long period of time.
Next, you want to check the slot’s volatility. Essentially, this is how often the slot will payout. For example, a scatter slot with low volatility will pay out more often, but with smaller amounts. Conversely, a high volatility slot pays out very rarely, though the sums can be eye-watering massive. However, in the end, it all comes down to which features, themes and developers you enjoy most in a scatters slot. Do make sure to play in UKGC-licensed online casinos only though.
Scatter Slots: Our Summary
Hopefully, you’re now feeling more confident about the functions of the almighty scatter symbol. As you can see, they are highly desirable for their ability to unlock any number of bonus features including some great payouts. Before you start playing any scatter slots games, please consult the paytable to familiarise yourself with all the bonus details and features. Another good idea is to take the slot for a test drive by utilising the demo/free mode feature. This will allow you to get comfortable with all the scatter slot’s features and gameplay before you start playing with real cash. Being more confident will result in a more enjoyable game.
What is a scatter symbol in slot games?
A scatter is a special symbol in online slots, sometimes the most lucrative. For players, it’s always a good sign as it can trigger extra features like bonus rounds, free spins and multipliers, allowing for larger payouts. As a result, they are often one of the highest paying symbols in the slot game.
How do you win with scatter symbols?
Normally, you’ll need to line up a number of scatter symbols on a single spin in order to unlock a bonus feature. On the whole, a scatter symbol will be slot game-specific, meaning that no two scatter slots will offer exactly the same bonuses and prizes.
Do all slots have to scatter symbols?
Though you’ll find that scatter slots are incredibly popular on most five and seven-reel slot games, many classic three-reel slots don’t include them. Keep in mind that the small percentage of games without scatters are just as much fun to play.
Can a wild replace a scatter?
Nope, they can’t. A wild can replace all other symbols apart from the scatters and other bonus symbols. Wilds and scatters perform different tasks and the two will never interact with each other. Having said that, a number of slots combine the wilds and scatters together. We suggest that you read the slot’s terms and conditions to find the powers attributed towards each symbol.
What are book slots?
Book slots are a genre of slot games combining both wild and scatter into one symbol, usually depicted by the book. Popular book slots include Ancient Egyptian titles like Novomatic’s Book of Ra and Book of Dead from Play’n GO.
What are the best scatter slot games?
The answer is going to be subjective. Have a look through the slots we’ve listed above to find a theme to your liking. Keep in mind that you can try them all out for free by making use of free play or demo mode.
How do I know if a slot has scatter symbols?
Probably the fastest means to determine whether or not a slot features scatters is to check the paytable. This will contain all the details relevant to the slot game, including the variety of bonuses, payouts and symbols on offer. Furthermore, you could visit the game provider’s website where all the slot’s specs will be clearly listed.
Can I play scatter slots on my mobile?
Absolutely! You’ll find that scatter slots have been optimised for all portable platforms from mobile phones to tablets. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re running Android or iOS, the gameplay will be just as smooth and immersive as if you were playing on a PC.