Winning mechanisms NetEnt slots explained
NetEnt was established as Net Entertainment in 1996, just two years after the first online casinos appeared on the world wide web. That was 26 years ago! Ever since this popular Swedish slots supplier developed numerous online slots. Not all of the slots developed made it to 2022 as dozens disappeared from the NetEnt stage for different reasons. The NetEnt slots that are still among us offer a variety of winning mechanisms. I explain all of them on this page, including betlines, betways, Cluster Pays, Win Matches, and Megaways.
From classic slot to online slot
In the good old days, all gambling machines were pretty much the same. They consisted of 3×3 reels, maybe with a bonus game at the top, or 5×3 reels which come close to what the modern slots offer.
The big difference between the classic slots and the modern slots, is the number of betlines available. The classic versions don’t come further than 1, 3 or 5 betlines. The earliest online slots with 5 reels and 3 rows, offered standardly 9 betlines.
A bit more than a decade ago, though, things started to change for the best. While it was mainly Net Entertainment and Microgaming that were responsible for the delivery of the online slots, competition lead to new slot innovations.
New developing tools like HTML also helped the suppliers in the right direction with today HTML5 as the main tool used by game developers.
For me personally, the modern slot revolution started with Gonzo’s Quest™, launched in 2011. But obviously, the rise of the internet and online casinos lead to a switch from simple classic slots to themed online slots.
This switch changed the way we play gambling machines with the introduction of modern slots features like Wilds, Scatters, and Free Spins. Developers at one point came up with bonus games. The Vampire Slaying Bonus in Blood Suckers™ is a good example.
New winning mechanisms
While we saw a joker and gamble function switch to Wilds, Scatters and Free Spins, the latest slot revolution also brought new winning mechanisms. This didn’t mean an end to the traditional betlines. NetEnt still develops online slot with betlines, but the past few years, we saw a rise in new winning mechanisms.
With new innovations, come new winning mechanisms. Ghost Pirates™ and Reel Rush™ brought the Betways to the NetEnt Casinos in 2013. In 2016, we saw the Aloha™ slot introducing the Cluster Pays™ mechanism.
Win matches are not very common as only the NetEnt slots with Leprechaun Finn involved and Wild Words™ offer this winning mechanism.
The latest trend in winning mechanisms used in NetEnt slots is the Megaways mechanism. The speed this mechanism won in popularity in the past years is incredible.
Time to describe each of the winning mechanisms used in the NetEnt slot and an example of what it looks like.
It’s the most traditional winning mechanism used in the NetEnt slots. The majority of the NetEnt slots offer betlines as the one and only way to create a win. Of course, in combination with pre-determined winning combinations.
A betline is what it says it is and is a line that runs in a certain way from left to right over the reels. The betlines determine wins in a video slot using the lines and winning combinations. The standard for online slots used to be nine. However, nowadays, it can be anything from 9 to 99, and even more.
Winning combinations often start on the most left reel, following a winning pattern to the right. The winning combinations are pre-determined and can consist from two to five of the same symbols, with or without Wild substitutions.
Some games offer a Both Ways Win feature with wins running from left to right, but also from left to right.
In the above image, you see one of the 25 betlines available in Blood Suckers™. The win involves a Wild that substitutes for most other symbols.
NetEnt introduced the Betways winning mechanism in the Ghost Pirates™ slot. It was the first NetEnt slot that left behind the traditional betlines, replaced with a winning mechanism that sees all pre-determined combinations from left to right as a winning one.
In the above image, you can see two anchor symbols marked by a rope. In this slot, two symbols can already be a winning combination when one appears on reel 1 and the second on reel 2.
When Betways are available in an online slot, there are no betlines. In this case, with a 5-3 reel grid, there are 243 ways to win instead. But the number of betways depend on the number of reels and rows.
It’s one of the most popular winning mechanisms used in NetEnt slots. We saw the Cluster Pays for the first time in the Aloha™ slot.
In the above image, you see such a Cluster Pay which is siply a cluster of the same symbols. According to the paytable, a minimum number of the same symbols generate a win.
The number of symbols involved in a Cluster Pay, determine the outcome of a win. The minimum number of symbols and the win size is determined by the paytable.
Thanks to the Cluster Pays winning mechanism in netEnt slots, these games don’t need betlines.
First introduced in Finn and the Swirly Spin™ slot, Win Matches have been around since 2019. This video slot offers a unique design with a spiral pattern twisting around your screen.
This winning mechanism has a lot in common with the Cluster Pays, but Win Matches form a vertical or horizontal line of three or more matching symbols. This means that it’s not just a group of the same symbols as they have to follow a pattern.
In the above images you see three clovers good enough for a Win Match as they appear all vertical. The hearts, that found themselves in another shape, don’t qualify as a Win Match.
This winning mechanism is used in slots from various suppliers. It was Big Time Gaming that invented the Megaways engine and shared it with the entire iGaming industry.
It has a lot in common with a Betways winning mechanism, but it has one big difference. The number of ways to win is unknown, while the number of betways is pre-determined by the static number of reels and rows.
The reason why megaways are so incredibly exciting is simply because you never know the number of Megaways. There’s a minimum and a maximum, but the number of Megaways is never known until the end of the spin.
A NetEnt slot with megaways available contains a random reel modifier which varies the symbol height on each reel with every spin. The number of ways to win varies with each spin, making the outcome of a spin super unpredictable!
The standard maximum number of megaways available in a slot is 117.649, but there are some games with fewer megaways because of a distinctive layout.
In the above image, you see the popular Divine Fortune Megaways™. You see that the number of symbols is different on each of the reels. The number of megaways during this spin is 6912.
You see the letter J and the lion symbols responsible for the winning combinations as each combination from left to right is a winning one, starting on reel one.