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Differences Between Wilds And Scatter Symbols In Slots

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We take a look at the two most famous and used slot symbols around. What do they do, what do they trigger and are they worth your while?

Difference Between Wilds & Scatters
Difference Between Wilds & Scatters

From paylines to bonus games, there are thousands of ways to win while playing online slots. For even better wins, keep your eyes peeled for special symbols.

Scatter symbol slot machines, for example, give you more chance to win with bonus rounds. Look out for slots with scatters or wild symbols to make your wins go even further.

We have a very handy way to find slots online which can help you find the right game with the right symbol.

Wilds versus scatter symbols: what’s the difference?

Wild and scatter symbols can appear anywhere on the reels. One will substitute for other symbols to create a winning payline, the other will pay regardless of where they are, sometimes they can do both.

They’re not technically a special feature within themselves.

Rather, they trigger an opportunity for you to win in other ways. This is where scatter symbols and wild symbols differ.

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How scatter symbol slots work

When you pick a slot machine with scatter symbols, you’ll see them listed on the paytable front and centre. Depending on the game, you can trigger a win from just one scatter symbol appearing, or several at once.

Your win will correspond to the number of symbols that appear – on 5 reel video slots, you will rarely see more than 5 scatters. The more scatters you find, the bigger the win.

More often than not, it’s not just winning but features that are triggered, and again, the more you find the better the feature.

So 3 scatters could trigger 10 free spins, 5 scatters could trigger 150. Equally, it could just increase the value of the bonus games.

Pragmatic Play Tomb Of the Scarab Queen Slot Game
Pragmatic Play Tomb Of the Scarab Queen Slot Game

What can a scatter symbol trigger?

Scatter symbols can trigger as many bonuses as there are slot games. But the two most common are:

  • Free spins: you can still win on free spins as the symbols do not change. The only difference is that your bankroll will not be reduced on those spins. You often sometimes find new extra features.
  • Bonus games: this may be a ‘game within a game’ that perhaps involves clicking. Typical examples include ‘click me’ games whereby you’ll be presented with a few symbols. You have to pick one, and then you could win a prize. It all depends on what lies behind that ‘door’, so choose wisely!

You basically get a chance to win extra cash in a different way than just paying for a spin and lining up symbols.

How wild symbols work

Wild symbols come in all different shapes and sizes. Their main role is to substitute other symbols to help you achieve a winning payline. Think of it as the joker in a pack of cards.

However, they can rarely swap out scatter symbols or bonus symbols. They can sometimes act like a scatter (so they take on both roles), or just simply payout when you get them on a payline.

More commonly they can have a multiplier attached. This means you’ll win X times more on your stake, for example, a £1 bet on a five-time multiplier wild would win you £5.

Quickspin Sticky Bandits Wild Return Slot Game
Quickspin Sticky Bandits Wild Return Slot Game

What can a wild symbol do?

They can also trigger other ways to win, depending on the kind of wild symbol that appears.

  • Expanding wild symbols: these appear as a single symbol, but they occupy all the positions on the reel. When you see one of these show up on the reel, they will ‘expand’ out into other positions in an animated format. These give you higher returns on your stake.
  • Stacked wild symbols: these may show up as single symbols stacked on top of one another in the reels. They usually fill the whole reel, giving you even bigger payouts.
  • Sticky wild symbols: these symbols stay on the reel, even if you have spun multiple times. As they appear in multiple spins, you can increase your chances of winning as you play on.
  • Moving wild symbols: the moving wild is like the sticky wild, but it does not stay in the same place. Instead, it moves around the reels, bouncing around to get you the best winning combination however many times you spin. A good example would be the Halloween Jack slot from NetEnt.
  • Straight or diagonal wild symbols: sometimes called moving wilds, these symbols can strike each other! The diagonal wild symbols appear in reels 2 and 4, while the straight wild symbols run vertically on reel 3. When they cross over, they can renew any symbols that have been touched by moving symbols. That means more wins!

You can find out more about slots with wilds in our handy post.

For more information on where to find scatter and wild symbols, read our casino slot reviews. We give you the best games with the best features and let you know what you’ll find in each of the games.

As we only review big win games, from mid to high variance, to high limit slots, to jackpot casino games.

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