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Megaways Slots: The Game-Changing Mechanic That Single-Handedly Reshaped the Online Casino Landscape

Slot machines have come a long way from the classic 3-reel slots introduced in the late 19th century. With the beginning of online casinos in the 1990s, slots transitioned to the digital realm, and slot game developers have continued to innovate and push boundaries regarding slot mechanics and features.

One of the most popular and game-changing developments in slots over the past decade has been the introduction of Megaways slots. Pioneered by Australian gaming studio Big Time Gaming (BTG) in 2015, Megaways slots have shaken up the industry and become some of the most played online slots among players thanks to their exciting mechanics, which ratchet up slot excitement to new heights.

What Sets Megaways Slots Apart?

So what exactly are Megaways slots, and what makes them so unique? Megaways slots derive their name from the patented Megaways mechanic, which essentially randomizes the number of symbols that land on the reels during each spin. This leads to an incredible number of winning combinations being formed, vastly exceeding that of traditional slots.

Most Megaways slots consist of 6 reels, with each reel able to display up to 7 symbols on each spin. Thanks to the dynamic nature of the Megaways engine, a spin may result in just two symbols on each reel or a maximum of 7 symbols across all six reels. This variability results in 117,649 ways to win on average for every spin. Compared to just 20-30 fixed paylines on classic slots, you can see why Megaways slots offer so much more winning potential!

The following section will detail the history of the first games that pioneered the Megaways mechanic and put BTG on the map as an innovative slots developer.


The Beginning - First Megaways Slot Releases

The first slot to utilize the game-changing Megaways mechanic was Dragon Born, released by Big Time Gaming in 2015. Dragon Born introduced the concept of randomizing symbol positions across six reels, allowing up to 7 symbols per reel and leading to 117,649 ways to win.

While innovative, Dragon Born did not immediately catch on with players. The 2016 release of Bonanza propelled Megaway slots into the limelight and made the gaming world sit up and take notice.

Bonanza Megaways featured a gold mining theme along with all the signature features that would eventually define Megaways slots:

  • Six reels with up to 7 symbols per reel
  • 117,649 ways to win
  • Cascading reels leading to multiple wins
  • Unlimited multiplier in Free Spins

The explosive combination of the Megaways engine and rewarding bonus features made Bonanza an instant hit. Bonanza is still considered one of the best Megaways slots even today, a testament to its highly entertaining and potentially lucrative gameplay.

Over the next few years, BTG continued to refine the Megaways mechanic and released more groundbreaking titles like Extra Chilli and White Rabbit. The latter carries the record for the highest RTP on a Megaways slot at 97.72%.

The success of these early Megaways releases convinced BTG to license out their proprietary Megaways technology to other slot developers. This would prove to be a masterstroke that cemented the popularity of Megaways slots across the industry.

In the next section, we will cover how Megaways slots create wins.

How Wins are Created on Megaways Slots

Now that you understand the basics behind the Megaways engine, let's explain how you can win while playing these slots.

  • Megaways slots do not use fixed paylines - instead, any matching symbol combination across adjacent reels beginning from the leftmost reel qualifies as a win.
  • You need a minimum of 3 matching characters, but some Megaways allow up to 6 matching symbols in a cluster.
  • Having multiple symbols per reel means more opportunities to line up across reels.
  • Special symbols like wilds substitute for other symbols to form wins or may even have multipliers attached.

For example, a spin resulting in 5 symbols on reel 1, 6 symbols on reels 2-4, and 4 symbols on reels 5 and 6 will have a total of 5 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 4 x 4 = 11,520 ways of winning!

As you can imagine, the number of ways to win keeps fluctuating wildly from spin to spin, adding hugely to the excitement element. Matching multiple larger symbol clusters also leads to bigger payouts, especially during bonus features when unlimited multipliers come into play.

Most Megaways slots display the number of ways to win for each spin on the game screen. Calculating it yourself is pretty simple as well - multiply the number of symbols on each successive reel from left to right.

Cascading wins, free spins, expanding reels, and sticky wilds are popular features that can make wins more significant than the stake over a single spin. This is why Megaways slots are known for their potentially insane payouts that can quickly run into tens of thousands of times the bet!

Megaways Goes Mainstream - Licensing the Technology

The runaway success of early Megaways slots proved a clear appetite among players for slots with high volatility and massive payout potential. Sensing they were onto something game-changing, BTG made the wise move to license their Megaways technology to other slot developers starting in 2018.

This allowed significant gaming studios like Red Tiger, NetEnt, Blueprint Gaming, Pragmatic Play, and Microgaming to launch their takes on Megaways slots. Established player favorites like Gonzo's Quest, Starburst, and Immortal Romance also got the Megaways makeover treatment, much to fans' delight.


Licensing the Megaways tech proved a win-win - BTG benefitted from licensing fees. At the same time, online casinos gained access to an even more diverse portfolio of entertaining, potentially high-paying Megaways slots from various top developers.

This interoperability kickstarted a Megaways revolution throughout the industry. By 2021, over 100 Megaways slot variants were available across online casinos, with more being launched monthly. The mechanics have become commonplace features on new slot releases today across the industry.

Megaways slots have captured the fascination of both casino operators and slot aficionados worldwide! 

The Hottest Megaways Slots Right Now

The benefit of having multiple gaming studios incorporate Megaways mechanics into their slots is that players now have an extensive array of themes, bonus features, and volatility levels to experience.

Let's look at some of the hottest and highest-rated Megaways slot titles making waves currently:

1.White Rabbit Megaways

  • Fantasy theme based on Alice in Wonderland
  • Developed by Big Time Gaming
  • 97.72% RTP - highest for a Megaways slot
  • There are up to 248,832 ways to win during the free spins round

2.Bonanza Megaways

  • The original pioneering mining-themed slot
  • 117,649 ways to win
  • Unlimited multiplier during free spins
  • 20,000x maximum win potential

3.Gates of Olympus

  • Greek mythology inspired slot by Pragmatic Play
  • Return to Player Rate of 96.5%
  • Hit multipliers up to 50,000x!

4.Rainbow Riches Megaways

  • Fun leprechaun gold theme
  • Developed by Barcrest Game
  • Potential payout capped at 1,000,000 coins

5.Dragon Tribe Megaways

  • Colorful dragon-themed visuals
  • Asian instrumentals soundtrack
  • Up to 21,000x line bet possible!

With new Megaways slot variants continually being launched, there is always a fresh title to discover for every player preference, whether high-volatility, bonuses galore, or just simple gameplay.

The Megaways Explosion - By The Numbers

The sheer variety and number of Megaways slots available today underscore this mechanic's dominance in the industry. Let's look at some statistics that highlight the surging popularity of Megaways slots:

  • As of 2022, there are over 200 Megaways variants available across online casinos
  • Reports estimate that 15-20% of new slot releases incorporate Megaway mechanics
  • In 2021, Megaways slots accounted for nearly 8% of the entire online slot market
  • From 2020 to 2021, registered players on Megaways slots increased by 220%
  • 36% of slot players claimed to have played a Megaways slot in 2022
  • The Megaways version of the famous slot Starburst generated 62% more play time than the original!

These numbers indicate that Megaways has transitioned from an innovative fringe feature to an expected default mainstay mechanic within the slots vertical.

Driving this growth spurt is the player appeal of having an easily grasped external mechanic like Megaways overlayed atop other familiar elements like themes, bonuses, and special symbols. Combined with the potential for colossal payouts, you have the perfect recipe for surging interest from slots fans!

Playing Megaways Slots

The popularity of Megaways slots is apparent. Now let's look at some tips on finding the best Megaways games at online casinos:

Locating Megaways Slots

Most online casinos today incorporate a Megaways tab or category on the main slots lobby page, making them easy to discover. You can also search for "Megaways" in the search bar to pull up all relevant titles.

Alternatively, to locate it, please search directly in the search bar for the name of a popular Megaways slot like Bonanza or White Rabbit.

Trying Free Demo Versions

The best online casinos allow playing free demo versions of slots initially. This is the perfect risk-free way to sample Megaways slots, understand bonus features and volatility, and ensure you like the aesthetics before playing for real money.

Pay Attention to Volatility


Megaways slots have high volatility overall, but some variants, like Barcrest's Rainbow Riches, have lower volatility than others for a more relaxed gameplay experience. Check this before playing so your bankroll lasts longer.

Hunt for Jackpots

Some Megaways slots like Pragmatic's Gates of Olympus or Red Tiger's Dragon's Fire Megaways incorporate jackpot prizes, too! These progressive jackpots keep rising until a lucky player triggers the life-changing windfall payout!

Trying new Megaways slot releases regularly adds to the excitement. Your next big jackpot may be just a few spins away!

The Future of Megaways Slots

The runaway success of Megaways slots has set player expectations higher than ever regarding the potential and innovative features of big wins. Where does the category go from here? Let's gaze into the crystal ball:

More Adoption by Top Studios

Megaways mechanics are here to stay, as evidenced by leading studios like NetEnt, Microgaming, and NextGen announcing more Megaways variants on their roadmap. Slots that incorporate the mechanic will likely dominate new game releases in the foreseeable future.

Multi-Studio Partnerships

BTG collaborates with other providers to incorporate portfolio hits like Starburst or Gonzo's Quest natively into future BTG-powered games rather than just licensing out tech.

Evolution of the Mechanic Itself

Though the core concept of random symbol positions likely won't change, future iterations could allow expansion beyond six reels or add special modifier symbols that alter Megaway's behavior dynamically during gameplay based on triggers.

Retaining Player Interest

As players inevitably adapt to Megaways mechanics, retention will require unlocking additional latent features, bonuses, multi-phase rewards, and in-game decision points to prevent disengagement.

One thing is for sure - BTG's pioneering efforts ensured online slots will never be the same old boring vertical again, thanks to the creativity unlocked by Megaways!

Let's recap how Megaways slots came to prominence and fundamentally disrupted the online slots vertical:

  • Big Time Gaming pioneered the Megaways engine in the 2015 slot Dragon Born
  • Mechanic randomizes symbol positions across six reels, leading to 100,000+ ways to win
  • 2016 release Bonanza showcased the mechanic's true potential with cascading reels and unlimited multipliers
  • Runaway's success convinced BTG to license Megaway technology to other top game studios
  • This catalyzed the mechanic's adoption across the industry, with over 200 variants now available
  • White Rabbit Megaways holds the record for the highest RTP at 97.72%
  • Flagship slots like Gonzo's Quest Rainbow Riches are also reimagined with Megaway mechanics
  • Statistics show Megaways is featured in 15-20% of new slots released
  • The category continues to enthrall players with the potential for huge payouts

While Megaways retains the familiarity of classic slots, the random element keeps gameplay fresh even after extended sessions. This innovation has enabled the genre to expand beyond traditional demographics and capture a wider entertainment-seeking audience.

As providers continue to unleash their creativity, the doors remain open for the Megaways category to reach even greater heights!

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