What Is A Scatter Symbol?

Published 17 Oct 2018, 9:11 a.m.

If you have ever played a slot game, you have surely noticed a bunch of symbols on the reels. Different games feature different symbols, if you’re playing a Western themed slot you will surely see revolvers and sheriffs on the reels, whereas if you’re more into games that depict the Far East you might see fortune cookies, dragons and other stuff typical for these cultures. While most, if not all symbols could generate a win, there are a few symbols that are particularly important – the most valuable symbol, the wild and the scatter. What is a scatter symbol, you may ask, and that is the question that we are going to answer here.

Wild And Scatter Symbols

Bear in mind that the scatter is the most important and most valuable symbol in every game, and even though you won’t see a lot of scatters on the reels, you will definitely want to see as many as possible. As we said, all slot machine symbols can generate a win if arranged in a right combination, but the wild and scatter symbols are the most valuable ones. Now that we mentioned the wild symbol, maybe we should talk a bit about that one first. After that we can give you an answer to the question ‘What is a scatter symbol?’. 

Wild Symbol

If you think about it, the word ‘wild’ describes the role of this symbol accurately. This symbol is a bit wild because it can substitute almost all symbols on the reels. So, if you almost have a winning combination, i.e. there’s one symbol missing, but there’s a wild symbol in that position, the winning combination will still be activated.

The rules to get a winning combination are clearly stated, but in most cases, they are pretty similar. Symbols have to be aligned from the leftmost toward the rightmost reel for a winning combination to be activated. 

For instance, if we have a five by three slot, where the middle horizontal line is an active payline, and you have one symbol in the first position, another one in the third and a wild between them, then a winning combination will be activated.

In most cases the wild only completes a winning combination, but for some games the payout is doubled when you hit a winning combination with a wild symbol. Also, in some cases a combination consisted only of wild symbols pays a lot more compared to a combination consisted of other symbols. This payout can be quite large, especially if you’re fortunate enough to hit five wild symbols on a payline. In Starburst slot, for instance, the wild can be a substitute for other symbols, but it also activates the re-spins mode. 

Wild Scatter Slots

We’ve been talking for special symbols such as the scatter and the wild, but it is fair to say that these symbols aren’t available in every game. Namely, if you have a look at some of the older, retro games, you will notice that they don’t feature wilds, scatters and other symbols. 

Games that don’t come with bonus features, mini games and other non-standard elements usually don’t include wilds and scatters. The older slots, back in the day when slots weren’t online, only featured standard symbols and in most cases a single payline. Some people find these slots boring, plus the industry naturally evolved when things moved online, so you providers started introducing games with extra symbols and players seem to like that.

All popular games nowadays feature scatters and wilds, and even if there are a few retro games that are still played. 

What Is A Scatter Symbol – Definition

The scatter or the scatters are the symbols that activate the bonus feature or features. Usually, the rules that apply to standard symbols aren’t the same as the rules for scatters and the activation of bonus features. For instance, in most cases, the scatters don’t have to be arranged across a single payline. 

Usually, if a scatter appears at least three times anywhere on the reels, the bonus feature will be triggered. Speaking of bonus features, some games come with multiple bonus features, whereas other slots feature just one or two bonuses. 

The Free Spins Bonus is the most common feature and in most, if not all cases it is triggered by a minimum of three scatters. So, if you play a game that comes with a free spins bonus and it is triggered by three scatters, you will get to play free spins as long as three symbols appear on the reels. 

Sometimes the scatters appear only on specific reels. That is also specified as one of the game rules. For instance, if the scatters appear only on the first, third and fifth reel, you will need to check these exact reels to see if you’ve hit the free spins bonus or not.

In some games, the number of free spins that you get to play depends on the number of scatters that appear on reels. So, for instance you could be getting ten spins for three scatters, 15 spins for four scatters and if you’re lucky enough to get five scatter symbols on the reels, then 20 spins would be triggered. Of course, this is just an example, but the principle is the same.

If you’re playing online slots with multiple scatters, each scatter triggers a different bonus. So, if one of them triggers the Free Spins bonus, the other scatter will trigger the second bonus feature. Bear in mind that some bonus games are triggered randomly, not by a combination that appears on the reels.


Best way to learn about scatters, wild and other symbols in general is through practice. Fortunately, you have the option to play slot games both for real money and in demo mode, just for fun. So, if you’re not feeling like wagering reel money, free play is the option for you.

Once you’re ready for real money wagering, just register with one of our featured casinos, claim your bonus and start playing slots