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The Original Hold and Spin Bonus Features with Distinctive Themes
Go to any US casino and you’ll find multiple slots with variations of ‘hold and spin’ features. These involve symbols with cash awards instead of the regular ones. You’ll have 3 spins to continue hitting them – run out of spins and you win whatever is on the screen.
This idea was pioneered by slot maker Aristocrat. The first games to feature a ‘Hold and Spin’ bonus were the ‘Lightning Link’ and ‘Dragon Link’ titles – first released in 2015. There were also ‘Lightning Cash’ variations, which had stand-alone jackpots instead of shared ones.
Here are the most popular Lightning Link slot machine games:
- Wild Chuco (Wild West)
- Magic Pearl (Under Sea / Mermaid)
- High Stakes (Vegas / High-Roller)
- Happy Lantern (Asian)
- Tiki Fire (Hawaiian / Volcano)
- Sahara Gold (Desert / Oasis)
- Best Bet (Horse Racing)
Each has its own free spins bonus game in addition to the hold and spin. Each Lightning Link slot machine has a linked jackpot. You can win the biggest – or Grand Jackpot – by filling the entire screen with symbols during the hold and spin bonus feature.
This guide to Lightning Link slots shows you how the games work and where you can play them at legal casinos around the US.
Lightning Link Slots: Setup and Basics
These slots kick-started a new phase of innovation from many slot studios. You might be surprised to know that they did not use a crazy reel setup or other gimmick to do this. All the Lightning Link slots have a simple 5×3 reel setup.
Win-lines and the size of the coins you spin for are changeable. You can choose 25 or 50 win-lines (fewer at the high-roller level denominations), and coins from 1c to 10c are standard. You will notice the Mini and Minor jackpots change as you move up the coin sizes.
Each of the games has wild symbols in play to connect additional wins. There are stacked symbols on the reels, making it common to cover one or more reels with the same symbol. Your biggest wins will come from those times you cover the entire reels with one of the higher paying symbols.
How the Hold and Spin Bonus Feature Works?
The main attraction of the Lightning Link slot family of games is the Hold and Spin bonus. Each game has symbols which show either numbers or the words Mini, Minor or Major – which are the 3 smaller jackpots. The symbols containing the numbers are themed.
For example, pearl symbols in the Magic Pearl game and Horseshoes in ‘Best Bet’.
Sometimes, these will simply block the regular symbols, getting in the way of your wins. What you need is 6 or more to land on a single spin. This triggers a ‘Hold and Spin’ feature.
You now see the regular symbols fade away, so they are barely visible. You get 3 spins with your cash awards held in place to hit more of them. Each time you hit one or more new awards, the number of spins resets to 3. If you spin 3 times with no extra wins, then your bonus ends, and your winnings count up with lightning strike effects.
To win the big linked Grand jackpot you need to fill all 15 spots on the reels with these special symbols.
Free Spins Bonus Games on Lightning Link Slots
Aristocrat developed free spins bonuses which help keep these games varied. These variations are shared with the Dragon Link and Lightning Cash games. The amount of free spins you win varies by game, with a minimum of 3 bonus symbols needed to trigger.
These can be profitable bonuses, which is reflected in the lower level of free spins you get on some of the Lightning Link titles.
Here are some examples of Lightning Link slots free spins feature:
- Magic Pearl: You get 6 free spins with giant symbols. Here the middle 3 reels turn into one big one. You’ll get a 3×3 symbol – which always lands flush with the reels. This can be a wild (mermaid), a bonus symbol, or a pearl. Hitting a pearl will trigger a Hold and Spin bonus.
- Best Bet: This free spins bonus removes all the lower paying symbols from the reels. This not only give you a better shot at hitting bigger wins, it increases your chances of hitting 6 horseshoes for a hold and spin.
- Wild Chuco: This wild-west themed game features ‘reveal’ symbols in the bonus. While you spin, long lines of symbols with ‘Wanted’ posters will appear. They open to reveal matching symbols when the spinning stops. It is possible to reveal gold coins for the Hold and Spin.
- High Stakes: This free spins bonus is the same as for Magic Pearl. The symbols are all Las Vegas themed. If you get a giant chip, then you’ll start the Hold and Spin.
- Sahara Gold: You need to pick a chest to get this bonus started. You’ll find out how many free spins you won, and how many camel silhouette symbols are added to the reels. These are wilds, giving you plenty of potential for bigger wins.
There are expanding wild symbols during the base game in many of these titles too. Grand Jackpots are linked between the games in each casino. The ‘Major’ jackpots accumulate on individual machines.
Where to Play Lightning Link Slots in the USA?
You’ll find these slots in land-based and riverboat casinos from coast to coast. Many casinos Lightning Link slots in banks, where you’ll find all the titles in a group. You’ll find these in casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa and, of course, in Las Vegas.
Online these games can be found in the form of play-money only apps, though have not yet appeared in the regulated online casinos rolling out across the US. Many Aristocrat slot titles are appearing online in mobile casino apps and websites – so hopefully we will see Lightning Link slots games at legal US casinos in the near future.
Many Copies – Only One Original: Lightning Link Titles
This range of slots captured the imagination of players around the country. The Hold and Spin bonus and jackpots is the common theme. Each title then has a distinctive theme, and different take on how to run a free spin bonus round.
If you enjoy those Hold and Spin bonuses, you’ll have plenty of variations of game to enjoy while you wait for that full screen – and resulting Grand Jackpot.