A Look Back at The Most Popular Slots of 2021

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BetMGM Jan 29, 2022, 6:42 AM

BetMGM brings you the best online slots from some of the world’s greatest game publishers, including IGT, DGC, NetEnt and many more. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy-filled, off-the-beaten-track adventures or traditional online slot machines, we’re sure that one of our top casino slot games of 2021 will have something that appeals to you. 

So, what makes a game popular? When it comes to online casino slots, there are a number of factors to consider. First, and most obvious, is the theme. With a wide range, from ancient civilizations and African safaris to game shows and fantasy, there is something for everyone. Certain themes, as you’ll see below, are popular favorites.

Then there is the title’s quoted return to player (RTP), which helps players determine which games are most likely to pay back, and (for some titles) a jackpot up for grabs. Finally, there are the bonus features, which entice players to keep spinning the reels. 

From space exploration to jungle adventures, let’s explore our most popular online slots of 2021.

1. Starburst

Starburst (released in 2012) is seen as one of the most classic online casino games among slot fans around the world. This sci-fi-themed, 5×3-reel game from NetEnt features 10 fixed paylines and expanding wilds along the 3 center reels, which help you to claim additional respins. When a wild appears on a reel, that reel locks in place and awards you an additional respin. This sequence happens until all 3 reels are filled with wilds, or you fail to trigger another wild.

Starburst is a simple slot game with an RTP of 96.09% and enough excitement to keep people coming back time and time again. The shiny reels combine fun, high-quality graphics with classic symbols and a retro, arcade-style experience to entice a welcome dose of nostalgia while engaging players with its incredible $50,000 win potential.

You can also enjoy a version of this hugely popular slot called Starburst Touch, which has been specifically optimized to be played on mobile devices.

2. Gonzo’s Quest

Gonzo’s Quest is another online casino classic from NetEnt. This 5-reel slot, released back in 2011, takes you on a journey through the jungles of South America in search of El Dorado, the lost city of gold.

Gonzo’s Quest offers plenty of excitement, with 20 paylines, an RTP of 95.97% and cascading reels. When landing a winning payline, the symbols explode, prompting an avalanche of new symbols to fall into the spaces for another chance to win. The action doesn’t stop there. You can get free spins and a 3x to 15x multiplier through the Free Fall feature, which is triggered when you land three Free Fall Scatters in a row. The excitement of exploring an Ancient Incan city, simple gameplay, and the potential for big rewards make the enduring popularity of this classic game unsurprising.

Longtime fans of Gonzo’s Quest will be happy to know that Red Tiger Gaming partnered with NetEnt in 2020 to bring Gonzo’s Quest Megaways to the reels, which features a number of bonus features plus the exciting Megaways mechanic. This version offers 117,649 ways to win and an incredible maximum win potential of 21,000x. What’s more, the original slot concept has even inspired a push into the live gaming genre with Evolution Gaming and NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt Live. Similar to live dealer games, a real-life host engages with players, and while they have no impact on the game’s outcomes, they do add an exciting, social element, even pointing out winning tiles and other pertinent information to players.

With the release of Gonzo’s Gold, which features a cluster pays mechanic as well as expanding symbols, it looks like this franchise is going to gain even more fans in the future.

3. Jumanji

The Jumanji online slot reel during regular play.

Jumanji, another NetEnt slot, is an online game based on the hit movie of the same name. But it’s not just the stampeding rhinos, marauding monkeys and sudden storms that put an interesting spin on things. Instead of a standard setup, this 5-reel, jungle-themed slot has a unique 3–4–5–4–3 layout, offering different numbers of symbols depending on the position of the reel. 

Besides the unusual reel configuration, Jumanji has a board game feature that combines elements of board gameplay with free spin features. Plus, with 36 paylines and an RTP of 96.3%, this thrilling adventure is sure to appeal to fans of the movie and reel lovers alike. The game not only offers an action-packed odyssey and incredible visual effects, it also boasts a broad betting range, making it a favorite among players with all sizes of bankrolls.

4. Dead or Alive 2

This slot is as exciting as its name implies! The 5×3, 9 fixed paylines slot was created by NetEnt and features three free-spins options to choose from, including sticky wilds, sticky wild multipliers and a multiplier to increase your chances of winning the top prize of 2,500x.

The game is set in a seen-better-days town in the old Midwest, with the reels positioned just below the town’s gallows. The soundtrack adds to the atmospheric visuals with eerie guitar chords and the warning sounds of a rattlesnake.

Judging from the popularity of Dead or Alive 2, the sequel has, without doubt, lived up to the original, which quickly gained a cult following after its release in 2009.

5. Loot’En Khamun & The Dead Sea Scrolls

Ancient Egypt is a popular theme for online slots. Although there are plenty of games out there that use the opulence of this great civilization, one stands head and shoulders above the rest: Loot’En Khamun. This 5-reel game from developer Party Gaming offers players an incredible 243 paylines, and if you’re lucky enough to trigger the free spins, you’ll have a potential 1,024 ways to win.

This progressive jackpot slots casino game gives players a chance to win one of five different jackpots: Blitz Cash, Quick Cash, Mega Cash, and Colossal Cash. These special jackpots help to boost your chances of winning and compliment the excellent 95.3% RTP to make Loot’En Khamun & The Dead Sea Scrolls a game you shouldn’t miss.

6. Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme

The Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme reel during regular play.

Fans of the game show this title is named after will definitely want to give this slot a spin. But even if you’ve never seen a single episode, this slot game from IGT offers players plenty of fun – and ways to win. The 3–4–5–4–3-reel configuration and MultiWay Xtra wager system give you no fewer than 720 opportunities to score up to 500,000 coins when playing at the maximum bet (if your budget permits.) If you’re lucky enough, you stand a chance of triggering one of two bonus features: The Mini Wheel Bonus Feature, which provides cash winnings, and the Triple Extreme Spin Bonus, which pays out real cash and bonus multipliers to help you take home the big prize.

With an RTP of 92%, Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme may not pay out as often as other slots, but when it does, you’re likely to win big!

7. Jungle Jim El Dorado

Rounding off our list is a jungle-themed slot from developer Microgaming called Jungle Jim El Dorado. Similar to Gonzo’s Quest, players become brave adventurers who explore the jungle in search of the fabled city of gold. 

Players who join in the search for El Dorado will find a slot with 5 reels, 25 paylines, and an attractive 96.3% RTP. Plus, if luck is on your side, you’ll have the chance to strike it big by scooping 3,680x your stake. If you don’t manage to take home the grand prize, you still have a chance to boost your winnings, thanks to the Multiplier Trail. Providing a 3x to 15x boost for each free spin, this feature has the ability to increase your booty drastically. Combine this with the fact that it could see you ending up with 20 free spins, it’s easy to see why this slot is so well-loved.

Enjoy thousands of real online slots at BetMGM

Our featured slots are just a taste of the exciting online casino games we have for you to enjoy at BetMGM. Prefer playing live at an online casino? Our live dealer games will be right up your alley. We even have the best poker games covered. Simply download our casino games app and play on your mobile phone and devices.

To start playing the best classic games and latest releases, register with BetMGM to enjoy casino games with the best odds.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.