One of the best things about playing online casino games is the incredible variety of bonus features and special symbols, which simply cannot be matched by land-based slot machines. From Scatters and Wilds to Sticky symbols, Megaways™ and everything in between — online casino games are jam-packed with extraordinary features for you to enjoy. Expanding symbols are some of the most popular special symbols, not only because they add a new dimension to the gameplay but also give players another chance to create winning combos. Want to learn more about Expanding symbols, their variations and which games offer this feature? Stick around — we’ll break it all down for you!
WHAT ARE EXPANDING SYMBOLS?
Expanding symbols are online slot symbols with the ability to expand over the reels. This symbol feature can have varied applications and triggering mechanics, and may even be a special function of one of the game’s regular symbols. Expanding symbols are a fantastic addition to any game, as they spice up the gameplay with dynamic visuals and offer new opportunities to win!
Usually, Expanding symbols are a triggered feature in the game’s bonus round, like a Free Spins bonus. However, many online slots incorporate Expanding symbols as a feature in the base game as well — a perfect example is the Expanding Wild symbol. Expanding Wilds are Expanding symbols 2.0; not only do they expand to cover multiple positions on the reels, but they can also substitute for other symbols to create even more winning paylines.
HOW DO EXPANDING SYMBOLS WORK?
Depending on the rules of the game, Expanding symbols may function slightly differently. At the core, the principle is simple: when the triggering conditions are met, the Expanding symbol will stretch to cover multiple positions on the reels (usually vertically, but horizontally or adjacently may be possible in some games). However, how and when this symbol feature is activated may depend on several factors. Let’s take a closer look at two of the most popular variations of Expanding symbols.
EXPANDING SYMBOLS — BONUS FEATURE
Most commonly, Expanding symbols can be found as a complementary feature that goes hand in hand with the game’s bonus round, like a Free Spins bonus. In these online slots, the Expanding symbol is only present in the bonus feature and will be unavailable in the base game. At the start of the bonus feature, the Expanding symbol will be randomly selected from the game’s regular symbols. In this case, other special symbols — like the Wild and Scatter — cannot be selected as the Expanding symbol.
Once the symbol is selected, players proceed to play through the Free Spins bonus. If the selected Expanding symbol lands on the reels and there are enough symbols to trigger a win, each Expanding symbol will expand over the reel to cover multiple positions. For example, if the game’s selected Expanding symbol is the lemon and three lemons are needed for a win, then all lemons will expand as long as at least three lemons appear in one spin.
Games like Legacy of Ra Megaways™, Book of Dead, Rise of Merlin, Magic Mirror Deluxe™ and Lord of the Ocean™ all have a bonus feature where you can enjoy Expanding symbols as well.
EXPANDING WILD SYMBOLS
Expanding Wilds are the second most popular variant of Expanding symbols. Expanding Wild slots offer all the perks of having Expanding symbols, but these can often be found in the game’s bonus feature and the base game! An Expanding Wild is a special Wild symbol, which will expand over the reel anytime it lands. Additionally, the Expanding Wild will often have a payout of its own and will substitute for other symbols to create winning combinations.
Wilds are like the jokers in a deck of cards — they are the shapeshifters of online slots, so you can see why a Wild symbol that can stretch to cover multiple positions on the reels is definitely advantageous to the player! Usually, there is no minimum number of Wilds needed to activate the expansion, which makes triggering the feature that much easier. Like regular Expanding symbols, Expanding Wilds will not substitute for any other special symbols and will only fill in for the game’s regular symbols. An Expanding Wild is particularly entertaining when the game allows payline wins to count from left to right and from right to left (sometimes referred to as the ‘Win Both Ways’ feature). Some of the hottest Expanding Wild slots are Starburst™, Eye of Horus™, Rage of the Seas™ and GEMiX.
OTHER WILD SYMBOLS
Aside from offering players another chance to secure wins, Expanding Wilds can come with additional perks! There are plenty of special Wild symbols around, and if you’re lucky enough, you may come across Wilds that combine these special features with the ability to expand — creating unique symbols that you’ll definitely be glad to see on the reels. Here are some of the most common Wild symbols:
- Sticky Wilds — These Wilds will stick to their positions on the reels over one or more spins, typically respins.
- Shifting Wilds — Shifting Wilds can have different names for the same function: these symbols can move around the reels! A great example is the Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ Wild in Banana Rock™, which sticks to its position on the reels, triggers a respin, and moves around to create additional Wilds in its path.
- Stacked Wilds — Stacked Wilds land as a column or cluster of Wild symbols, occupying multiple reel positions (very similar to Expanding Wilds). These symbols act as one symbol, even though they cover many positions, and may also be called Colossal Wilds, Giant Wilds, etc.
- Multiplier Wilds — Multiplier Wilds land on the reels with a multiplier. If they form part of a winning combo, your winnings will be multiplied by the respective multiplier. Multipliers can be predetermined, randomly selected and may stack or increase exponentially through consecutive wins (these characteristics will be outlined in the game’s rules).
BEST SLOTS WITH EXPANDING SYMBOLS
Book of Dead — Embark on an epic adventure through the palaces of long-lost civilisations in Play’n GO’s Book of Dead, where landing three books will trigger a Free Spins bonus with 10 free spins and an Expanding symbol. The Expanding symbol will be randomly selected from the game’s regular symbols.
Lord of the Ocean™ — Dive deep into the crystal-clear sea waters in search of Poseidon’s glistening treasures! Landing at least three Scatter symbols in Lord of the Ocean™ will trigger 10 free games with an Expanding symbol, which will be selected from the slot’s pool of regular symbols randomly. The Scatter in this game also pays.
Rise of Merlin — Rise of Merlin is a magic-themed online slot with Expanding symbols. In this game, the Scatter doubles up as a Wild and will trigger the Free Spins bonus when three or more land on the reels. What differentiates Rise of Merlin Expanding symbols from others is that the Free Spins feature can be retriggered without dropping the current Expanding symbol; if this happens, a new Expanding symbol will be selected in addition to the last. The feature can be retriggered up to nine times, which means that players can have up to nine Expanding symbols active!
BEST EXPANDING WILD SLOTS
GEMiX — GEMiX is a vibrant online casino slot with plenty of Wilds to go around, especially on non-winning spins! GEMiX World Wilds come in three types: the first can drop 10 Wilds on any non-winning spin, the second drops up to eight Sticky Wilds in different positions, and the third will prompt the Wilds to spread from edge to edge — just like Expanding Wilds.
Rage of the Seas™ — Wilds are all the rage in Rage of the Seas™, where they can be Spreading or Stacked Wilds, depending on which feature is packed into the Boost crate. Spreading Wilds, like Expanding Wilds, will whip out two additional Wilds and place them on adjacent positions.
Starburst™ — NetEnt’s Starburst™ is a must-have in every online casino’s game portfolio. In this game, players can enjoy Expanding Wilds that expand whenever they land on the reels and trigger a respin right after. Any time the star-shaped Wild lands on the reels, it will expand vertically to fill the entire reel, after which it will stick in place, and the remaining reels will respin.
EXPANDING SYMBOL SLOTS AT LV BET
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line casino gaming experience with a diverse portfolio of online slots, then stop by LV BET and give our games a whirl! You’ll find your favourite casino slots and table games from the industry’s most innovative providers — no matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s definitely something for you in our portfolio. Check it out and play slots with Expanding symbols, like Starburst™, Rise of Merlin, GEMiX, Book of Dead and Lord of the Ocean™!
✅ WHAT ARE EXPANDING SYMBOLS?
Expanding symbols are online slot symbols that can expand to cover multiple positions on the reels. Depending on the rules of the game, the Expanding symbol may spread vertically, horizontally or adjacently.
✅ HOW DO EXPANDING SYMBOLS WORK?
When triggered, the Expanding symbol will expand over the reel it landed on to occupy additional positions. This gives players a chance to create more winning combinations. If the Expanding symbol is an Expanding Wild, it will also substitute for other regular symbols for a chance to secure even more wins.
✅ ARE EXPANDING SYMBOLS THE ONLY WAY TO EARN BONUS WINS IN SLOT GAMES?
Not at all — an Expanding symbol is just one of the many bonus features you can find in online casino slots. Try out different games to discover multipliers, Sticky Wilds, Free Spins bonuses, Megaways™ and other potentially rewarding features.
✅ WHERE CAN I PLAY SLOTS WITH EXPANDING WILDS AND OTHER EXPANDING SYMBOLS?
You can play popular slots with Expanding symbols at LV BET, including Book of Dead, GEMiX, Lord of the Ocean™, Rise of Merlin and Starburst™.
✅ CAN I PLAY SLOTS WITH EXPANDING SYMBOLS FOR FREE?
Yes, you can play online slots for free through the demo mode. This free-to-play version of the game sets you up with a purse of virtual funds, which you can use to experiment with different features and betting settings. Depending on your jurisdiction, registration may be necessary before access to demos will be granted.
✅ CAN I EARN A PAYOUT IN THE DEMO MODE?
No, all wagers and winnings in the demo mode are virtual; they will not be deducted from or credited to your account.