Learn About the Scatter Symbol in Slots

Learn About the Scatter Symbol in Slots

One of the main reasons why slots are so accessible to players is their simplicity: land enough matching symbols on a payline or across consecutive reels to win. Even slots with complex features and innovative gameplay elements adhere to this straightforward setup.

But while most symbols in a slot will pay out for three or more on a payline, Scatter symbols are different. They can either award a prize or perform a special function (or both) wherever they land. And that makes them one of the most important components of modern slots.

How do they work? What features do Scatters tend to trigger? And how can you identify them in a game?

We’ll answer these and other crucial questions below, so read on to learn everything you need to know about the humble Scatter symbol in slots.

How Do Scatter Symbols Work?

In online slots, Scatter symbols can take the gameplay in a different direction. Slots with Scatter symbols usually include one or more bonus features, and Scatters are often the key to unlocking them.

Unlike standard symbols in online slots, Scatter symbols don’t need to land in specific combinations to perform their function — they can be scattered anywhere.

For example, in a 5x3 slot, a high-paying symbol will only award its top payout if 5 land in a particular pattern. But Scatter symbols in slot machines can land in any positions on the grid and still award a prize or trigger a bonus feature.

What is the Value of Scatter Symbols?

Scatter symbols in a slot game play a valuable role. They may award a cash payout if you land, say, two or three across the reels. But they can also trigger one or more bonus features, which offer you more chances to win with potentially bigger payouts up for grabs.

Slots with Scatter symbols are incredibly common, and it’s likely that most slots you find online will incorporate at least one Scatter. If it offers a payout and access to a high-paying bonus feature, a Scatter could be the most valuable symbol in the entire game.

What Bonuses Do Scatter Symbols Trigger?

In slots, Scatter symbols can trigger a wide range of bonus features. These vary from game to game, but you’re likely to see certain ones again and again.

Here are the main bonuses that can be triggered by Scatter symbols in slot machines:

Free Spins

The free spins feature is one of the most common bonus features in slot games. While these may trigger at random in some cases, they’re typically activated by Scatter symbols. 

You might need to land three or more Scatter symbols in slots to trigger a Free Spins feature, and the number of Scatters landed may determine how many spins you receive.

Fruit Slot Machine

Bonus Wheels

Landing a specific number of Scatter symbols in slot machines may award a spin on a bonus wheel. Depending on where the wheel stops, you could win a set of free spins, a cash prize, or access to another bonus feature.

Picking Games

In online slots, Scatter symbols can unlock picking games. The aim is usually to click on one or more items to reveal cash prizes or free spins. These may take place on the reels or on a dedicated screen. For instance, in Starlight Kiss, the picking game unfolds in the romantic garden that appears behind the reels during the base game.

Identifying Scatter Symbols in Slots

One of the first things you should do when you play a game for the first time is to check the paytable and explore what the Scatter does. Identifying Scatter symbols in slots is critical to understand how valuable they are to the overall game and your chances of racking up wins.

Scatter symbols can look completely different from one slot to another. In some cases, Scatters in slots have a generic design: they may simply be labelled with “SCATTER” across a blank background. But in others, Scatters feature images that are relevant to the slot’s theme.

In Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead, the Scatter symbol is an intricately designed golden tomb with ornate decorations. That ties in with the slot’s ancient Egyptian theme, and it plays a powerful part in the game: land three or more Scatters to win a cash prize and trigger the free spins round.

Playing Slot Machine

What is the Difference Between Wilds and Scatter Symbols?

Wild and Scatter symbols are staples of slots, but they perform different functions.

A Wild symbol may appear on specific reels only or anywhere across the grid. They can award cash payouts (often the same as the highest-value standard symbol), but their main role is to substitute for other symbols.

If you land two matching symbols on a payline and one Wild, that Wild will stand in for the third symbol to help you win a prize. Scatters generally don’t substitute for other symbols, but they can in some cases.

Let’s go back to Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead. In Play’n GO’s Egyptian-themed slot, the Scatter awards payouts for three or more anywhere on the reels, but it’s also Wild. That means it substitutes for all other symbols to help you complete winning combinations.

Check out the paytable before you play any slot to identify its Wild and Scatter symbols, so you know how they affect the gameplay.

Do All Slot Games Include Scatter Symbols?

Scatter symbols in slot games are common, but they don’t appear in every single slot.

Games modelled on traditional fruit machines, for example, may not incorporate Scatter symbols (though they often use Wilds). Scatters tend to appear in slots that boast one or more bonus features.


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