Author Guarantor: Billie Barron
Last updated: 24 November 2023

Slot games are more or less the cornerstone of most online casinos. Slots are widely played because their rules are easy to grasp, and they offer a massive winning potential. However, if you’re new to the world of slot mechanics, the concept of slot volatility may seem a bit confusing.

So, in this article, we will introduce you to what slot volatility is all about. Also, you’ll get to learn how slot volatility influences risk, game payout, and your overall experience. So, without any further ado, let’s unpack the notion of slot volatility.

Slot games are more or less the cornerstone of most online casinos

What Is Slot Volatility?

The volatility of the slot machine, otherwise known as the variance, is the reward-risk ratio of that machine. In other words, the volatility of a slot machine indicates how frequently the game is likely to pay and the size of the winnings. Slot machines are typically classified into three volatility categories:

  • Low volatility
  • Medium volatility
  • High volatility

A slot with low volatility has a fast payout frequency, but the winning size is often small. Similarly, a slot with high volatility has a slow payout frequency, and the winning size is often larger.

Differences Between High and Low-Volatility Slot Machines

Most players prefer to play at a high or low-volatility slot machine depending on their risk-reward tolerance. However, some players prefer to stay somewhere in the middle by playing medium volatility slots. The table below gives the notable differences between high and low-volatility slot games.

High Volatility Slot

Low Volatility Slot

High risk

Low risk

Less frequent payouts

Frequent payouts

Higher payouts

Lower payouts

An excellent option for players with big budget

An excellent option for players with a tight budget

Requires a lot of time and patience

Perfect if you’re not after big wins but the thrills of winning

Factors Influencing the Volatility of a Slot Machine

Online casino and casino games auditors ascertain the volatility index of a slot machine by solving a series of complex mathematical equations. Several factors determine the volatility index of a slot machine. Some of them include:

Game Design

The design of slot machines is such that they come with certain features that influence their volatility. For example, several slot machines come with extra features you can trigger, such as wild symbols, scatters, and free spins. The wild symbol is a special symbol that can substitute others except the scatter to form a winning combination. Similarly, the scatter symbol can award a payout amongst other features in the game, like bonus spins.

Random Number Generator

Another factor influencing the volatility of a slot machine is the random number generator its software developer used. Most slot machine developers for online gambling platforms utilize a pseudo-random number generator. However, it is worth noting that the pseudo-random number generator is not a true random number generator since it uses computer-generated seed values.

As such, software developers can slightly alter a slot machine to produce a desired outcome. So, the software developer can make the slot machine have a high, medium, or low volatility depending on the type of slot they want to design.

Structure of the Paytable (Paylines)

Every slot machine has a paytable, which you can view on the info page of an online gambling website. The paytable shows the different winning combinations that are possible on the slot machine. The higher the paylines on the table, the more likely you are to land a payout. Hence, a slot machine with massive paylines tends to fall under the category of low-volatility slots. Those with fewer paylines tend to fall under high volatility slots.

Aside from these factors elaborated above, other factors influence the volatility of slot machines in online casinos. Some other factors you can consider that determine the overall volatility of the machine include:

  • Number of reels;
  • Return to player rate;
  • Betting limit;
  • Casino payout policies.

Why Is Volatility Important for Slot Games?

Slot machines are given a volatility index to help players have an idea of how risky the game is. It’s crucial to know this information as it helps you pick a suitable slot machine that suits your style and personality.

However, not many software developers are eager to make the information about a slot’s volatility index public. However, with independent auditors constantly testing different slot machines, players can have a general idea of the volatility of any slot machine before choosing to play it.


Summarily, knowing the volatility of a slot machine is of great advantage. It allows players to choose a machine that matches their risk-reward tolerance. There is no one-size-fits-all slot machine. Hence, software developers designed slot machines with multiple features. So, it’s left to the players to assess the numerous features of the slot machine and choose what best suits their desires.

Published: 24 November 2023 17:01