A Beginner’s Guide to Wild Symbols in Online Slots


A Beginner’s Guide to Wild Symbols in Online Slots


Man using a tablet to play online slot games.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wild Symbols in Online Slots


Man using a tablet to play online slot games.

If you’re new to the world of online casino games, you may not be sure how different slot machines work. While most of these titles are relatively straightforward to play and there are many suitable slots for beginners, there may be a few features that will leave you a bit confused. One of the features that confuse new slots players is wild symbols. But don’t worry. We’re here to break these classic slot machine symbols down for you so that you can better understand all the icons that appear on a slot machine reel. 

What are wild symbols and what do they do?

Wilds come in various forms and are an incredibly popular selling point for slots. The main purpose of a wild symbol is to replace many other symbols on the reels (except the scatter symbol in most titles) to help create a winning combination. As a result, online slot games that feature wilds are by far the most popular, not only because they can help players score a few extra wins, but also because they often trigger bonus features, which can mean even bigger wins. 

With the invention of online casinos and ever-popular online slot games, classic wild symbols have evolved so that there are now many different types, each with its own different functionality. Finding a new game that has wilds loaded with new features is definitely exciting, even though they may be slightly confusing at first.  

Fortunately, we’re about to go into a detailed discussion of the most popular types of wilds and how they work. And if you do come across any wilds features that we don’t cover, don’t worry – every online casino slot should have a “help” or “rules” section that explains the intricacies of all the game mechanics and how they come together so that you understand exactly how they work. 

Different types of wild symbols

Closeup view of a casino slot machine’s reels and symbols.

These days, there are a multitude of ways in which wilds can influence your gameplay, from helping you pick up wins along paylines you might have missed to triggering bonus features that give you extra chances to win and, in jackpot slots, even a shot at the jackpot! 

If you want to get the most out of the different types of wilds in your favorite slots in your quest to put together some winning combinations, you might want to know a bit more about them. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular wild slot symbols that you can find. 

Stacked wilds

Stacked wilds are wild symbols that can stack on top of each other on the reels. The stacking mechanic is a massive boost to a player’s chances of winning because, unlike a single wild tile that can hit one of the paylines, stacked wilds can fill the entire reel from top to bottom, hitting all the paylines and increasing the chance of a win. 

Some newer online slot machines might even allow your wilds to stack horizontally as well as vertically. While this doesn’t change how stacked wilds work, it does give the player more opportunities to create more winning combinations. 

Expanding wilds

Expanding wilds are a fine example of slot game developers taking an already amazing feature and expanding on it for increased entertainment and exciting new ways to win. Expanding wilds are one of the most thrilling wild features in online casino slots and are similar to stacked wilds, but they offer even more opportunities to win! 

While stacked wilds can potentially fill a whole reel, there is still the chance that you’ll only land one or two wild symbols on the reel when it stops. With expanding wilds, if you hit a wild on any of the reels, the symbol can expand to fill the reel from top to bottom. Sometimes you’ll need to meet specific requirements to trigger the expansion of the wilds, such as landing a certain number of wild symbols on a spin, but some games will expand them every time. 

Sticky wilds

The name says it all. Unlike other types of wilds, when you hit a sticky wild on the reels, there is a chance that it will stick around for a few more spins, so it can help you hit winning paylines on more than one spin. 

Shifting wilds

Shifting wilds take the concept of sticky wilds one step further. Just like sticky wilds, they don’t immediately disappear, but rather than staying in the same spot, they change position on the reel with each spin before eventually disappearing. 

Other features in online slot games

There’s no doubt that wild symbols increase the excitement when playing a casino game. But they certainly aren’t the only additional features to get excited about when playing slots online. Some of these could help you win an incredible jackpot prize, just like Jennifer Lopez’s mom and her mind-blowing win at Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Here are a few of these other features to look out for:

Scatter symbols

Scatter symbols usually trigger a bonus round, such as a free spins round or a mini-game with more opportunities to win. While all titles differ, you’ll most commonly need to land at least three scatter symbols anywhere on the reels to trigger the bonus round. In some virtual slots, three or more scatters trigger an instant win or an instant multiplier, such as 5x or 10x your stake, before the bonus round begins. 

Win maximizers

Win maximizers do exactly that – they maximize your win. They come in many forms, including re-spins, free spins, multipliers and tumbling reels (which is when winning symbols disappear after the win is awarded and the reels continue to spin, resulting in the possibility of further wins for the price of a single spin.) Tumbling reels are very similar to cascading reels, which you can learn more about here.


There are different bonus wins that occur outside of classic wins when spinning reels during the main game, often when playing bonus rounds. The most sought-after bonus is a jackpot bonus. This is either a specified amount that can be won when certain conditions are met or an accumulating bonus that increases the longer you play.  

Go wild and play casino games online with Borgata Online

We hope our explanation of some of these game mechanics better helped you understand the science behind online slots. If you like to play slots online for real money and you’re looking for new types of wilds to experience, why not try out some of the best online slots around? If you’re a real online slots fan, then you’ve come to the right place! 

Borgata Online’s online slots cover a wide variety of themes, from animals to pirates and everything in between, so you can be sure there’s something for everyone. We also offer a selection of jackpot slots for the potential to snag even bigger wins. Along with virtual slots, we also specialize in live dealer casino games, casino table games like online roulette, variety games and much more. 

Register at Borgata Online to gain access to a wide range of fun and exciting games and enjoy some of your own wild combinations.