Scatter symbols: what they are and how they work

Scatter symbols are a slots player’s best friend. They are designed to unlock free spins, mini games and additional bonuses to add an extra layer of excitement to the slot experience.

Appearing on the earliest land-based slot machines, scatter symbols were originally red cherries which paid out wherever they showed up.

With the popularity and innovation of modern slots, particularly online slots, they now come in many different guises and unlock many different rewards.

Typically, scatters are one of the highest paying symbols on today’s games. Knowing how they work helps maximise a player’s chance of winning and, ultimately, enhances the overall experience.

The below video shows scatter symbols in action in Plank Gaming's Fortunes of Fu Lu Shou slot.

High 5 Games also uses scatter symbols in the majority of its games, which can be played at popular online casino brands including Mr Green, Foxy Casino and Videoslots.

We asked Mike Rothenberg, Executive Producer of B2B/Game Innovation at High 5 Games, to tell us more about how scatter symbols work and why developers include them in their games.

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Mike Rothenberg From High 5 Games


Scatter symbols are primarily used to release the various bonus features that games have to offer.

Unlike face symbols that must line up across a specific pay line, scatters need only show up on the screen to unlock a game’s additional features - this could be anything from interactive bonus rounds to free spins.

Generally represented by game-specific graphics, scatters are usually very easy to identify and are often associated with the game’s main theme.

For example, in one of our newest releases, Diamonds by Da Vinci, the scatter symbols are illustrated as the masterpieces by the world’s most famous artists including the Mona Lisa, the Lady with an Ermine and the Portrait of a Musician.


Due to the access they give to additional gameplay, they tend to be among the top paying symbols - hence their popularity among players.

With competition fuelling innovation across the market, games have become more interactive and the need for additional fun features to keep players entertained has grown exponentially.

Scatter symbols are the key to activating extra bonus rounds. Though the winnings may sometimes be minimal, the prize is often bolstered when combined with winning lines in the same spin.


Developers include them for a variety of reasons. Primarily, they are incorporated into the gameplay to give players access to special features such as interactive mini games, free spins and special bonuses.

Popular slot titles, such as High 5 Games’ Silver Enchantress, use scatters to give access to extra free spin bonuses, but as games get more interactive and innovative, so does the variation of rewards the symbols deliver.

We understand that players are more likely to return to titles which provide a more immersive experience with greater opportunities to win. Ultimately, scatter symbols are a great way to enhance engagement.


Many of the latest slot releases will undoubtedly feature scatter symbols, given they provide an access point to additional bonus rounds that players love to experience at present.

At High 5 Games, we’ve built on the scatter concept to introduce even more ways for players to win. For instance, our innovative feature, Scatter Bucks, leads to big wins even on spins when the reels don’t align.

Popular High 5 Games releases including Legends of Troy and Golden Knight feature the Scatter Bucks feature, while upcoming title The Amulet and The Charm Power Bet will also include this innovative concept.


The easiest way to find out if a slot game has scatter symbols is to check the pay table. In most slots, it’s easily accessible from the gaming screen via a pay table icon, which will open up a box.

The pay table is a one-stop shop for the backend information on face symbols, scatters, bonus rounds and any additional features the title has to offer.

Understanding the basics of a game adds to the experience and maximises the chances of winning by unlocking a slot’s full potential – and in turn, the potential of those very handy scatters.

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