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Scatter Symbols in Slots: What they are and how they work

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Simon Young

November 9th, 2021

If you asked a random stranger how you can win on a slot machine, they’d likely tell you that identical symbols need to fall on a payline over at least three successive reels, starting on the left (on some games, it can be from the right, too). Other slots, including the Megaways mechanic games, only need the same symbol to appear anywhere on successive reels rather than on preset paylines.

While that is all true, however, the really big wins on slot games tend to come from a bonus feature of some sort. It might be a round of free spins, perhaps with win multipliers added, or a picking game where you select a random prize from hidden rewards.

The bonus games are usually triggered by Scatter symbols, so-called because they can fall anywhere on the reels, not necessarily on successive ones.

Scatter Slot Games

It’s fair to say most slot games (certainly the five-reel variety) employ the Scatter symbol mechanic. You can tell this in one of two ways:

  1. When you launch the slot, open up the paytable and look for a Scatter symbol and the relevant instructions
  2. As you play, you will notice a random symbol appears once in a while. It might be the wild symbol, substituting for all others, but it could also be the Scatter, and soon you will learn you need at least three of them to launch something special

Scatters can work in different ways. Some games pay up a cash prize if one or two of the symbols drop. Usually, you need three to activate a bonus game. If you land two, there are significant visual and audible clues while the remaining reels spin that you could be about to hit something special.

If you land the third symbol, the slot will step up the excitement levels even further before guiding you through whatever the bonus round involves.

Examples of Scatter Slots

One of the most popular slot games at TwinSpires Casino is Divine Fortune, the Ancient Greece-themed slot, which employs a typical Scatter mechanic. In the game, the Scatter symbol is the clenched fist holding a lightning bolt.

The Scatter reward in Divine Fortune is a free spins bonus, but the more Scatters you land, the more spins you get:

  • Three symbols for five free spins
  • Four symbols for eight free spins
  • Five symbols for 12 free spins

Divine Fortune from NetEnt actually holds a second Scatter feature, with Gold Coins as the lucky symbol. Land three of these to launch the special jackpot feature bonus, where the screen splits into 15 reels and lines you up for a run at one of the jackpots.

Another of the best-known scatter slot games is Bonanza from Big Time Gaming. Here you must land four of the gold bar scatters, each with a letter so that you end up spelling out GOLD. Do so, and you get a bumper collection of free spins – and the chance to win more spins yet during the feature.

How to Play Scatter Slots

There is no real strategy when it comes to scatter slots. The game will launch the bonus feature automatically once you land the required number of scatter symbols. But it’s as well to check the paytable and game information before you play any slot, so you’re aware of what scatter symbol to look out for.

It’s also worth noting the return to player (RTP) and volatility of scatter slot games. Because the bonus features can trigger significant payouts, even jackpots, these games tend to have slightly higher volatility and lower RTP. After all, if you can sometimes win huge prizes, you’re not likely to win that often!

Play Scatter Slots at TwinSpires Casino

TwinSpires Casino has a vast selection of entertaining slots to choose from, with many employing the Scatter mechanic, so you can put what you have read in this article to the test.

First, you will need to register your account and make your first deposit. Next, make sure you opt-in for the generous welcome package, then go and explore the virtual casino floor. Good luck!