What are scatter symbols?

Scatter symbols are popular features on many online and offline pokies – but what are they, and how do they work? We’ll show you why the scatter is an Aussie slot player’s best friend, and where you can play the most rewarding scatter-loaded pokie games on the Web.

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What is a scatter?

On a typical electronic pokie machine, you must line up symbols in specific patterns in order to win a payout. These paylines can be horizontal, diagonal, or any manner of zig-zag shape, but they are always fixed – except in all-ways slots games that don’t use traditional win-lines, such as 243-ways and 1024 ways-to-win pokies.

Cash Splash 3-Reel Progressive Pokie with Wild Cherry Scatter SymbolsThe scatter symbols defy these rules, as they can produce payouts regardless of where they fall on the reels. The simplest example is the oldest: the cherry symbols on the traditional American three-reel slots. On some vintage single-line machines, where you normally need three of the same symbol in a row, you can win with just one or two cherries in any position. The more cherries you hit, the bigger the payout.

The scatter features we know and love today didn’t truly emerge until after the advent of video pokies in the 1970s. Since then, the scatter has picked up a whole lot of new tricks – especially in the last decade or so, with the rise of Internet gaming – and has become one of the most profitable features on a real money pokie machine.

How do scatter symbols work?

Although they can look and function differently from game to game, modern-day scatters work in more or less the same way as they do on old-school reel slots – that is, they can come up anywhere and get you a return. However, they play a rather more complex role in newer video pokies, with the ability to unlock much more than straight cash prizes.

Contemporary video slots can come with up to 25 active panels, whereas traditional fruit machines have only three or nine. That means there are more opportunities for scatter symbols to pop up in most modern five-reel pokies. Sometimes you only need one scatter to get a result, while in other games you might need three or more for anything of note to happen. It depends on the function of the feature, which can change from pokie to pokie.

Scatter panels often act as multipliers. This means that if you put a paying combo together and you have one or more scatters in the mix, you will get at least double the standard payout. Multiplier scatters are often exponential – so the more you have on the board, the higher the value of the multiplier. For example: if you hit a $10 winner with a single 2x multiplier, the payout becomes $20; but if there are two scatters, you get a 4x multiplier for $40.

In many scatter slots, hitting three or more symbols activates the bonus round. This can come in the form of free spins, often with multipliers that increase when you draw consecutive winners. The most innovative online pokie titles offer several interactive bonus games, sometimes with multiple choice options where you can snag free spins, multipliers, or big cash payouts. In many online progressive pokies, landing at least three scatter symbols puts you in the running for rolling jackpots that can pay upwards of $1,000,000.

Scatter pokie games online

Our recommended pokie casinos boast hundreds and hundreds of real money scatter games for desktop and mobile. Sites such as House of Jack and G’Day Casion use multiple software providers, so you get a diverse range that includes titles by Microgaming, Net Entertainment, and BetSoft – the three most innovative designers of virtual cash slots. Below are a few of our favourite scatter pokies available for play online.

Play Thunderstruck II @ Jackpot CityThunderstruck II: This is a stellar upgrade on the original and much-loved Thunderstruck pokie, with a 243-ways payout scheme over five reels. Collect three or more Thor’s Hammer scatters in a single spin to gain entry to the Great Hall of Spins – a bonus game packed with free spins and big bucks. Keep landing scatter symbols to return to the Great Hall and unlock further bonus rounds.

After Night Falls: This 25-payline 3D pokie is a great example of BetSoft’s dedication to superior graphics and immersive gameplay. It features no less than three sets of scatter symbols – the Granny, the Burglar, and the Detective’s Desk – each of which activates a different bonus game when you land three or more in a spin. The bonus rounds are entertaining and interactive, offering up multipliers, random cash prizes and free spins aplenty.

Mega Fortune: One of the few genuine rivals to Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot slot, this NetEnt classic is famed for having twice coughed up the highest pokies payout in online gambling history – the latest being a stunning haul of €17.8 million (AUD $25.7 million), as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Land three scatters to enter the bonus round and play for one of three jackpots: the Rapid Jackpot, the Major Jackpot, and a progressive Mega Jackpot which regularly tops $3,000,000.

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