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Expanding Scatters

Everyone loves a Free Spins bonus feature. But why stop at free spins, multipliers and retriggered spins when you can enjoy an Expanding Scatter too?

Expanding Scatters aren't too common online, but many of the top developers have at least a handful of Expanding Scatter slots in their portfolios.

As with all bonus-heavy slots, you have to weigh up the exciting features with the potential for bigger variance. However, for excitement you can't go wrong.

What Are Expanding Scatters?

If you've played an online slot from a major developer like Novomatic, Microgaming or Playtech, chances are it's featured a Scatter.

A Scatter is a symbol that doesn't have to form a winning payline to pay out. While three Scatters usually trigger a Free Spins feature, that's not the end of the bonus symbols. In some slots, Expanding Scatters are added to the reels to award bigger wins.

At the start of a Free Spins round, a symbol is selected at random. If it appears during the bonus round, it will expand to fill all spots on a reel. If you're playing a 4-reel type of slot machine, and four spots are covered by an Expanding Scatter, it can mean some seriously big wins. Think of them like Expanding Wilds, except they don't substitute for other symbols.

Are They Good For Players?

As with all bonus features, it depends. Expanding Scatters, and Free Spins rounds, are rare. But when they do hit, they can reward some big wins. Because the wins can be big, however, it means the regular wins aren't quite as common.

Simply, an online slot with bonus features like Expanding Scatters have higher variance than those with no bonuses. High-variance slots feature long barren spells without wins, intercut with big bonus prizes (as opposed to low-variance games that feature lots of regular wins).

One big problem with Expanding Scatters is that they can often override existing winning symbols. For example, if you hit a payline with a Wild during the Free Spins round, and an Expanding Scatter appears too, the Scatter will cover the Wild and 'take it over'. Sometimes, this is irrelevant as you'll bag a bigger win. Sometimes it can be detrimental, however.

Popular Slots With Expanding Scatters

Book of Ra (Novomatic)

Let's start with one of Novomatic's most popular slots, Book of Ra. This Gaminator game has an Egyptian theme and features a free spins round triggered when you land three Scatters anywhere. (The Scatter - the Book of Ra - actually doubles as the game's Wild).

At the start of the bonus round, a random symbol is chosen as the Expanding Scatter which pays when it appears. As the Scatter is also Wild, the Expanding Scatter happens to act as an Expanding Wild too.

Luxor Valley (Viaden)

Continuing the Egyptian vibe, Viaden's Luxor Valley features a bonus round that awards 10 free spins when you land three special Scatters anywhere. As with Book of Ra, a symbol is picked at random before the bonus starts.

Free Spins can be retriggered by hitting three or more regular Scatters, but look out for that random Scatter - it can expand to take over the regular bonus symbols.

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