Expanding Symbol

Expanding symbols are special icons in slot games that enlarge to occupy entire reels when activated, most commonly through meeting scatter symbol requirements or triggering free spin bonuses. By expanding, these symbols fill all positions on their resident reel and substitute for other icons. This allows them to enable more winning combinations across active paylines in the game.

Expanding Symbol Slots

Here is our selection of popular online slots that feature expanding symbols. Be sure to take them for a spin in demo mode to experience the expanding action:

Recommended Casino for slots with Expanded Symbol feature:

Mirax Casino

5700 + slots to play

What is Expanding Symbol feature in slots?

Expanding symbols are special slot features that can expand to fill entire reels during gameplay. When they appear, these icons stretch sideways to occupy all positions on their reel, substituting for other symbols and enabling more winning combinations across paylines. There are several types of expanding symbols, each with unique activation methods and payout boosting functionalities designed to increase winning potential.

Expanding symbols occupy an important niche within the modern online slot industry. First pioneered by gaming giant Novomatic, these feature have been integrated by numerous developers to enhance gameplay dynamics and payout potential.

Images featuring Expanding Symbols feature

How Expanding Symbols Work

When certain conditions are met during gameplay, expanding symbols are triggered and stretch to occupy an entire reel. This fills all positions on the reel with the same icon to enable more winning combinations.

Expanding symbols make slots more dynamic and potentially lucrative for savvy players. They can pay higher rates than usual. By filling reels, they make hitting 3-of-a-kind or 2-of-a-kind wins far more likely. However, they can sometimes limit space for other symbols to land.

Top Slots with Expanding Symbols

Some popular slots featuring expanding symbols are:

  • Book of Ra – Free spins trigger expanding symbol.
  • Book of Vlad – Expanding symbols
  • Starburst – Expanding wilds during entire respin feature.
  • Gonzo’s Quest – Multiplier increases with each symbol explosion.
  • Dead or Alive 2 – Player picks expanding symbol for free spins.

Other popular examples also include Golden Osiris with its massive 7×7 grid enabling multi-directional expansions, and Book of Shadows where expanded magic books trigger more features.

A Multi-Faceted Slot Feature

At their core, expanding symbols operate by the following parameters:

  • Symbols expand laterally upon activation, occupying all positions of their resident reel
  • Expanded icons substitute for other symbols to enable further winning combinations
  • Special triggering conditions dictate initial expansion, often via scatter symbols or bonuses
  • Multiple expansion types exist, including standard, scattered, and expanding wilds

By filling reels, they guarantee additional wins – with scattered variants paying regardless of payline alignment. Emerging in both land-based and online slots, expanding symbols inherently increase entertainment through dynamic animations and payout potential.

Types of Symbol Expansion

There are several forms of expanding symbols in online slots:

Standard Expanding Symbols: Icons that expand to occupy their resident reel from top to bottom, enabling wins across all paylines they appear on. They offer simplified but effective reel coverage.

Scattering Expanding Symbols: These symbols expand outwards to fill multiple reel positions simultaneously, regardless of initial placement. Payouts are then awarded based on the number of scattered expanding symbols displayed.

Expanding Wilds: Functioning as standard wild symbols, these icons substitute for others to create wins. But upon activation, they additionally expand to fill their entire reel – vastly elevating payout potential through reel coverage and substitution abilities.

Reel Expansions: The most common variant, with symbols enlarging to fill one reel through vertical or horizontal reel formats. Often form character portraits when expanded.

Line Expansions: Symbols expand across paylines, stretching vertically, diagonally, or horizontally until filling all possible symbol positions to guarantee wins.

Sticky Expansions: Remain expanded for multiple spins after initial trigger, allowing consecutive wins across spins. Used by 34% of slots with expanding symbols.

Exploring Popular Slots with Expanding Symbol feature

20 paylines, 5 reels, 3,000X max pay,

10 paylines, 5 reels, 5,000X max pay,
Blueprint Gaming

243 paylines, 5 reels, 1,500X max pay,

Reels: 5 Ways to win: 243 Max Payout: 93750x bet Vendor: Playtech

5X6 reels, 7776 ways to win
Pragmatic Play

5 reels, 30 paylines, 10000X max pay


5 reels, 30 paylines, 50 000X - max payout,
RealTime Gaming

5 reels, 10 paylines, 20168X max pay


6 reels, 117k ways to win, 10 000X - max pay Vendor - Bgaming

Reels -5 , Paylines - 10, Max Pay - 5000x bet

Vendor - Fugaso

5 reels, 10 paylines, 5000X max pay

Reels: 5, Ways to win: 50 paylines, Max Payout: 10,000x bet, Vendor: Playtech

5 reels, 10 paylines

Dragon Gaming

Cluster pays mechanic paylines, 6 reels, 973X max pay, 

100 paylines, 5 reels, 3,000X max pay,

Reels: 5 reels Ways to Win: 20 Max Win : 268 300 EUR Max Bet: 100 EUR

Vendor  -  Yggdrasil

Reels: 5 Ways to win: 1,024 Max Payout: 10 000X Vendor: Rival

5 reels, 30 paylines, free spins bonus


Reels: 3

Max Payout: 11,250x bet

Vendor: Rival Gaming

243 paylines, 5 reels, 1,250X max pay,

20 paylines, 5 reels, 2,983x max pay, NetEnt

5x4 table, 40 paylines, Hold & Win feature

5 reels, 1024 paylines, 25 000X max win
Vendor  -  Yggdrasil

20 paylines, 5 reels, 1,385x max pay,

5 coin, 30 Line
2,884 X - max pay

Reels: 5 reels, Ways to Win: 40 paylines, Max Win : 9052 X, MaX Bet: 40 EUR

Vendor  -  Yggdrasil

720 ways to win, both ways, 5000X max pay Microgaming

5 reels, 25 ways to win Realtime Gaming

  6 reels, Ways to Win: 40, Max Win : 5120X, Max bet: 400 EUR

Vendor  -  Yggdrasil

5 reels, 25 paylines, 10 000X max pay

5 reels, 25 Paylines, Max Pay - 2 673X
Vendor - GameArt

5 reels, 20 paylines, 3000X max pay NetEnt

5 reels, 463 ways to win, 50 000X max pay.

Vendor - Yggdrasil

6x5 reels, 5000X max pay

Pragmatic Play

5 reels, 243 ways to win, 12000X max pay Microgaming

5 reels, Cascading, 40 Paylines, max pay - 5 000x,
Vendor - Pragmatic Play

20 paylines, 5 reels, 1,000X max pay, NetEnt

6 reels, 100 paylines, 3000X max pay

5 reels, 36 paylines, 5 built-in bonuses NetEnt

4096 paylines, 6 reels, 30,000X max pay, 
RealTime Gaming

5 reels, 28 paylines, 56 000X max pay

5 reels, 25 paylines, 5000X max pay Habanero

6x6 reels, 21,248x the total bet amount


5 reels, 30 paylines, 500X max win Vendor - Playtech

5 reels, 10 paylines, 54 000X max win Pragmatic Play

5x4 reels, 15 lines, 2086X - max win BGaming

6 reels (cascading), 200,704 ways to win, 10,499x max win Vendor - Red Tiger Gaming

243 paylines, 5 reels, 2,000X max pay,

Reels: 5, Ways to win: 5, Max Payout: 100x stake, Vendor: Playtech

7x7 Cascading, Pay Anywhere, Max pay - 12000X Bgaming

Reels: 5, Ways to win: 243, Max Payout: 60,000 coins, Vendor: Habanero

5 reels, 25 paylines, 2500 X max pay Vendor - Habanero

5 reels, 10 paylines, 6235X max pay


1024 paylines, 5 reels, 3168X max pay,
BF Games

3 reels,  5 000X max pay, Vendor - Play'n Go

7x7  grid, 5,083x max pay,

Vendor - Play'n Go

5 x5 grid, 15000X max win, Pragmatic Play

5 reels, 25 paylines, 50000X - max pay

RealTime Gaming

5 reels, 10 paylines, 50 000X max win
RealTime Gaming

Reels 5, Paylines 30, Maximum pay - 1,000x,
Vendor - Realtime Gaming

5 reels, both ways, 50 000 coins - max pay, Provider - Net Ent

5 reels, both ways, 200 000 coins - max pay, Provider - Net Ent

117,649 paylines, 6 reels, 27,018X max pay, NetEnt

5 reel, 40 payline, RTP 96.1%,  Microgaming

Reels: 6 Paylines: 15 Max Payout: 15,000x Vendor: Pragmatic Play

20 paylines, 5 reels, 5,000X max pay,
Pragmatic Play

5x5 reels, 7 500X max win,

Pragmatic Play

5 reels, 40 paylines, 1000X max win Pragmatic Play

243 paylines, 5 reels, 153,902x max pay,

Reels: 5, Max pay - 15,000x bet, Vendor -  Pragmatic Play

Expanding Symbol

Expanding symbols create a thrilling slot experience by filling reels with matching icons during gameplay. With smart triggering systems and substitute abilities, these features present more chances to hit rewarding wins.


How are expanding symbols typically activated in slots?

Expanding symbols are most commonly activated by landing a certain number of scatter symbols or triggering a free spins bonus round. Some slots also have special game modes where all symbols become expandable for a duration. The required trigger conditions vary between titles but usually involve getting bonus symbols like scatters or wilds.

How are payouts calculated for expanding symbol wins?

Expanded symbols usually pay out at the same value listed in the slot’s paytable. However, some games feature multipliers during expansion bonuses. For scattered expanding wins, payouts are often based on the total number of symbols displayed rather than payline wins.

How many reels can expanding symbols cover simultaneously?

The number varies between slot games but they typically expand to fill 1-2 reels concurrently. However, some slots allow cascading or domino-style chain reactions where expanding on one reel causes adjoining ones to also expand with the same symbol. When this multi-reel expansion happens, the payline win potential is massive.

Do slots allow for re-triggering expansion features?

Yes, many slots with expanding symbols provide the option to re-trigger the expansion bonus after the initial trigger. This adds an extra randomly selected symbol to expand alongside the first for even more reel coverage. It creates opportunities for cascading chain expansions when symbols line up during the re-trigger.

Do all slots with expanding symbols work the same?

No, some variety exists in regards to formatting and behavior. In some slots, players can choose which symbol will expand while other titles randomly assign it. Developers also set different expiration rules, with some expanding symbols only enlarging for one spin while others remain sticky for multiple spins.

How does the symbol expansion process work?

When triggered, the symbols visually enlarge to stretch from top to bottom on their resident reel. Some utilize flashy animations during this process for added flair. The expansions happen quickly and fill all positions to enable more combo wins. Sound effects often accompany big symbol expansions.