All You Need To Know About the Cluster Pays System

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close up of a spinning slot machine in a casino
BetMGM Jun 10, 2023, 11:16 PM

Online slot machines have certainly come a distance since they were first introduced and are giving live dealer casino games a run for their money. Aside from better graphics, mobile gameplay and sometimes bonus games within the slot game, online slots have taken a step further with the Cluster Pays system. 

Unlike the traditional jackpot slots, where you need matching symbols in a line on the reels to secure a win, Cluster Pays allows players to win when similar characters create a cluster on the game grid. This pay system forgoes the conventional payline mechanism, which matches symbols left to right and makes use of the matching symbols regardless of location, reels and lines. 

The matching symbols need to be next to each other in a cluster for you to have a winning combination, meaning that they must touch any of the four sides. After a winning set is formed, the selected symbols are removed from the grid. The surrounding symbols then fall into place, sometimes forming new winning clusters. 

How much you win depends on the value of each symbol, your stake and the size of the cluster. The bigger the cluster, the larger your payout! 

Types of Cluster Pays Slots

Several kinds of Cluster Pays slots are available in the casino online betting market that provides players with various offers. Here are some of the most popular. 

Avalanche Slots

Several Cluster Pays slots make use of the avalanche mechanic, where symbols tumble or cascade onto the reels. This is different from other kinds of slots mostly because after forming a cluster, the winning symbols disappear and other symbols fill the now-empty space. 

This feature is exclusive to NetEnt and offers players more chances of winning if they earn more winning combinations during the free fall. 

Megacluster Slots

This type of Cluster Pays slot was created by Australian gaming provider Big Time Gaming. It elevates the regular Cluster Pay slots by creating a much bigger grid, significantly increasing players’ chances of landing winning combinations. The new mechanic also features bonus rounds in addition to modifiers. 

Random Wilds

These are special symbols that appear irregularly during a bonus or a base game in a slot. Players can get up to one random wild regularly for every 100 spins using up to four random cards, depending on the slot game and the game provider.

Who Created Cluster Pay Slots?

Cluster Pays slots were invented by NetEnt in 2016. The introduction of the new online casino games revolutionized the slots market and increased the game developer’s already-blooming reputation. 

NetEnt started with one of the best Cluster Pays slots, Aloha! The company, in addition to being a top provider in the iGaming industry, has gone on to release more Cluster Pays-themed titles since then.

The first Cluster Pays concept has rapidly improved with the introduction of new online slots, which include new mechanics like bonus features, jackpot prizes, scatter symbols, wild symbols, mystery symbols, free spins bonus rounds and several others.

Some Cluster Pays titles also have fantastic bonus features which initiate after several cascading wins or if a player succeeds in collecting several of the same symbols. There are currently several Cluster Pays slots on the market, such as Twin Spin Deluxe, Lost Relics, Reactoonz, Fruitopolis, The Legend of Shangri-La and more. 

Pros and Cons of the Cluster Pays System


  • Like most online jackpot slots, Cluster Pays slots are unpredictable, meaning most players don’t know when or where to get a winning combo. 
  • Unlike traditional slots, you don’t need matching symbols in the line on the reels to win big. 
  • Cluster Pays slots give players more chances of a payout since the symbols don’t have to be in a line. 
  • You can win big depending on the cluster pays slot you select. 


  • Traditional online slot machine players need more time to get the hang of Cluster Pays slots. 
  • Cluster Pays slots are considerably different from regular online slots. 
  • Several Cluster Pays slots don’t feature a progressive jackpot. 

How Much Can You Win With Cluster Pays Slots?

The amount of money you can win when playing the Cluster Pays slots is endless. Payouts change continuously depending on your stake, the value of the symbols and the size of your clusters.

To get an idea of how much you could potentially make while playing casino games online with the Cluster Pays feature, you’ll need to find out the slot’s RTP (return to player). Most big jackpot slots have a unique RTP, which allows players to know what percentage the slot will pay out in winnings over time. 

The average RTP for Cluster Pays slots is 96.42%; however, the figure for each Cluster Pays online slot varies. For one, Aloha! has an average RTP of 96.42%, while the Legend of Shangri-La has an average RTP of 96.5%. There are currently no Cluster Pays slots with low RTPs. 

Another way to know how much you can win is by learning the Cluster Pays slot variance, simply known as the volatility. A low-volatility game pays out smaller amounts more frequently, while a high-volatility game makes larger payouts less often.

Top Cluster Pays Slots Offered by BetMGM 

With the growing popularity of Cluster Pays slots, it’s no surprise that several prominent names in the online gaming industry have begun offering these titles. Trusted online casinos like BetMGM also offer players the best online slots for real money. 

Some titles that can be found on BetMGM include Aloha!, Lost Relics, Emoji Planet, Rich Wilde and the Tome of Madness, Finn’s Golden Tavern, The Legend of Shangri-La and Jammin’ Jars. Here’s a run-down of some of the best-known titles


This Hawaiian-themed Cluster Pays slot was the first of its kind made by NetEnt. It has features like Sticky Win Re-Spins, Substitution Symbols and Free Spins with a Symbol Drop.

The online slot also features its own seasonal offers, including a chance to win a vacation to Hawaii. Aloha! is both Android- and iOS-optimized. 

The Legend of Shangri-La

This 6-reel slot was also developed by NetEnt and is regarded as one of the best online ClusterPay slots. The Legend of Shangri-La offers features like stacked guru symbols, substitute symbols that aid you in getting cluster wins, the Random Substitutions feature, the Sticky Re-Spins feature and more. 

Lost Relics 

This is another NetEnt slot where players search for ancient artifacts and are awarded cash prizes, extra wilds and scatters. The free spins game is one of the main attractions of the Lost Relics, as it uses a secret chest feature to unveil chests that give players more free spins, sticky wilds and cash prizes. 

More Excitement at BetMGM

Keen to try your luck at some Cluster Pays games? The titles above are just a few of the games that we offer. Register today and open up a world of casino fun, from casino table games such as poker and blackjack to variety games, video poker and online bingo.

Jackpot slots are considered one of the many online casino games won purely by chance — or are they? Want to know if casinos can control the payouts of slot machines or the advantages of playing online slots? Read our blog for answers to these questions and more.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.