What Is A Stepper Slot? Explaining A Classic

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A stepper slot is simply a three-reel mechanical slot machine. If you’re in a brick-and-mortar casino, a slot labeled a stepper is a mechanical slot rather than a digital slot. However, “stepper slot” at an online casino is a digital slot that’s made to spin like it’s a mechanical slot.

A stepper slot usually has one payline across the three reels. Lining up three symbols that correspond with the paytable activates a prize. That means you can often see symbols above or below the payline that do not activate a prize. This is due to the odds of the game and not a way to tease a potential win, which is a common misconception.

Because of the near-constant innovations in the slots industry, steppers will often have multiple paylines, bonus games, and other special features.

Where Do The “Steps” Come In?

New players at the casino often misunderstand the term “stepper” to mean a slot with multiple steps to get to a prize. Those slots exist, but those are not stepper slots.

A three-reel mechanical slot is called a stepper because it uses a stepper motor, which spins the individual reels in increments (or “steps”).

Are Virtual Stepper Slots As Good As The Real Deal?

Yes, virtual stepper slots offer the exact same odds as a mechanical stepper slot. The benefit of a mechanical version is the novelty of reels actually spinning rather than an algorithm coming to a random result. Retail casinos will often offer a pull bar on the side of the slot machines, even if the slot is digital. The reason is because it’s more cinematic than tapping a button. There’s nothing more to it than that.

What Are Some Of The Best Steppers At Online Casinos?

Steppers at online casinos usually encompass all classic three-reel slots. That means you have a wide range of options to choose from. To find the best, you have to decide if you’d prefer the best odds or the highest win potential. Both are valid approaches to a slot machine as long as you’re practicing Responsible Gaming.

Once you’ve decided, you can choose from some of these options at Golden Nugget Casino to get started.

Most steppers have a 96% return to player (RTP), also known as payback percentage. But “All That Cash: Power Bet” has a 96.5% RTP, which edges out all other options at Golden Nugget.

For the maximum payout, here are six of the best options:

  • $600,000 on Triple Red Hot 7 Free Games (94.91% RTP)
  • $525,525 on Golden Nugget Stepper (96% RTP)
  • $525,525 on Red Alert (96% RTP)
  • $508,400 on Double Jackpot Bullseye (96% RTP)
  • $506,500 on Wild Wild Gems (96% RTP)

As you can see, the stepper slot with the highest maximum payout also has the worst RTP. Typically speaking, the worse the odds on a casino game, the bigger the top prize.

About the Author
Mike Epifani

Mike Epifani

Casino Content Manager
Mike Epifani is a gambling expert and professional writer. His current role is Brand Content Manager at Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media network. Mike spoke on the affiliate marketing panel at G2E 2022 in Las Vegas and won "Casino Affiliate of the Year" at the 2022 SBC Awards North America in NYC.

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