Aristocrat Slots

Aristocrat Leisure Limited is an Australia-based slot manufacturer. Licensed in almost 300 jurisdictions and operating in more than 90 countries, Aristocrat has been setting the trends for the entire industry since the 1980s.

They are largely responsible for the technologies that allowed video slots to replace roulette, blackjack, and baccarat as the top-performing games in land-based casinos all over the world. Contemporary slots designed by Aristocrat are widely known for their crisp visuals and high variance, which makes them popular among thrill-seekers and profit-oriented players alike.

The best Aristocrat slot games

Slot nameRTPPaylinesReelsTheme
Big Red97.04%55Australian Outback
Pompeii95.45%243 ways to win5Pompeii, Ancient Rome
5 Dragons95.17%2435Dragons, Chinese symbols
Geisha95.12%255Geisha, Japanese
Lucky 8895.6% – 97.00%255Chinese lucky numbers, Good luck
Big Ben95.6%255Big Ben, Landmark
Choy Sun Doa95%2435Chinese, God of Wealth
Pelican Pete94.94%505Pelicans, Ocean
Dolphin Treasure94.88%205Oceanic
Queen of the Nile94.88%205Cleopatra, Ancient Egypt
Tiki Torch94.85%205Tiki, Tiki torches
Buffalo94.85%1,024 ways to win5Buffalo, American Wild West
Miss Kitty94.76%505Cats, Animals
50 Lions94.71%505Lions, African Savannah
50 Dragons94.71%505Dragons, Golden dragons

Aristocrat slots adhere to the highest standards in the industry regarding graphics and sound effects, but what really sets them apart from the competition is their fast-paced gameplay and high variance.

In some cases, you can increase the variance even further by playing the optional gamble mini-game. Despite their undeniable advantages, some of the latest Aristocrat slots designed with the standard game development kit (GDK) might seem too formulaic. After all, if you’ve played one high-variance game with re-triggerable free spins, you’ve played them all.

Aristocrat slots: game spotlights

Aristocrat slots aren’t as ubiquitous as they used to be in the nineties, but the company still boasts a strong lineup of enjoyable modern titles. Here’s a short overview of three Aristocrat slots that are attracting plenty of traffic to online casinos in 2019:

  • Buffalo – five-by-four reels, no standard paylines. Symbols don’t need to be arranged in any specific patterns. If they show up on consecutive reels, you are guaranteed to get a payout. Combined with fast-paced gameplay, this means playing Buffalo sometimes feels like being showered with cash. The game includes two special symbols – the sunset symbols, which appear only on the middle reels and are wild, and the scatter coin, which triggers the free spins bonus round with payout multipliers. The free spins can be extended by nailing more coins on the reels.
  • Big Ben – five reels, 25 paylines. This game has a gamble feature, which allows you to get a higher payout by playing a card-based mini-game. The game also has a special symbol that triggers payout multipliers without making the spin riskier. When Big Ben appears on reels one and five, the clock will clang up to 12 times, resulting in an additional payout. Getting three, four, or five Big Ben symbols awards you with ten, 15, or 20 free spins, which come with a 2x payout multiplier.
  • Pompeii – five reels, 25 paylines. The volcano wild symbol activates a 3x or 5x payout multiplier whenever it appears on the second or fourth reels. These multipliers are cumulative, so landing two volcanoes on a single payline is guaranteed to result in a very satisfying win. The game also triggers free spins when you put at least three scatter symbols on the reels. Just like in Big Ben, this bonus can be retriggered numerous times. If that wasn’t enough, the volcano can substitute for a scatter symbol during the bonus round.

Special slots features

Aristocrat is one of three slot manufacturers who implement the gamble feature into some of their games. This feature allows you to trigger a special mini-game upon landing any winning payout.

The goal is to guess the suit of a card that will be dealt to you. If you choose the wrong suit, your winnings will be forfeited, but if you pick the right one, your payout will be doubled or quadrupled. The gamble feature doesn’t give the house any edge, so using this option whenever possible is a good choice if you’re a profit-seeking player.

Many Aristocrat slots also have a free spins bonus round that can be activated by landing three or more scatter symbols. In most cases, you can get more free games by landing additional scatters on the reels before you run out of spins.

Online slots and land-based machines

Aristocrat slots for land-based casinos are packed with animations and special effects, which highlight the breakneck pace of the action. This is most apparent during free spins, but even standard gameplay feels way smoother than it should, based on the number of spins per minute.

For example, the newer versions of the Buffalo slot feature animated coins pouring out of the screen on the largest wins, and the iconic Buffalo symbol is animated to make the whole scene appear more dynamic.

Unfortunately, these effects are toned down in the game’s online version. This is understandable as the developers have to make it work with a wide range of devices and internet connections. On a brighter note, Aristocrat developers usually don’t alter symbol designs and other static visual elements for browser-based games, so you’re still getting the same game in a slightly scaled-down package.

Select games and payback percentages

As seen below, the Aristocrat slots can vary greatly in terms of return-to-player (RTP) percentages, as they give the house a 3% to 6% advantage. The variance is usually medium or high. This makes them an excellent choice for profit-seeking, low- or medium-stakes players who don’t mind spending a few minutes to select the optimal game.

Aristocrat slots history

Top slotBuffalo
Special slot featureGamble option
Land-based gamesYes
Online gamesYes

The early years

Aristocrat was founded in 1953 and released its first successful slot, called Clubmaster, in 1956. The machine became very popular among casino operators thanks to its low-maintenance design, which allowed Aristocrat to expand its operations to Europe and Nevada in the 1960s.

In the early 1970s, the company released the world’s first five-reel slot machine. However, it only gained international recognition in 1979, with the release of the all-electronic game Wild West.

The growing market

The 1980s were a decade of growth for the slot machine market in both the United States and Australia. Aristocrat managed to capitalize on that with its groundbreaking Microstar series of slots, which introduced virtual reel mapping to the industry.

Virtual reel mapping broadened the number of stops a reel could have beyond its physical capacity, allowing designers to toy with higher-paying symbols and jackpots. It is broadly believed this technology allowed slot machines to surpass table games in terms of generated revenue in 1983.

In the 1990s, Aristocrat released two widely popular gaming systems, which were called MK and Hyperlink. The latter was so successful it generated more revenue than any other Australian intellectual property, including the bionic ear and Wi-Fi. In 1996, Aristocrat became a publicly traded company and was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The global economic crisis, GDK, and video games

Aristocrat spent the early 2000s struggling to find a new breakthrough, so when the global economic crisis struck, the company found itself facing serious financial difficulties.

Aristocrat leadership responded by implementing a turnaround program, which involved sweeping budget cuts and staff layoffs in all departments. In the end, Aristocrat was able to stop the bleeding. In 2012, it rolled out a new games development kit, which allowed it to streamline the development of new slots and improve compatibility with third-party software.

The new approach to game design proved to be successful. By 2014, Aristocrat managed to reconquer the hearts and minds of U.S.-based casino enthusiasts thanks to top-notch slots like Buffalo Stampede and Walking Dead.

The company also signed a partnership deal with Video Gaming Technologies. Over the next few years, Aristocrat focused on slots based on popular entertainment franchises, such as Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, and Sons of Anarchy.

At the same time, Aristocrat expanded into the world of non-regulated software. Its first move was to purchase Product Madness, a studio specializing in mobile apps and video games.

This was followed by the acquisition of Plarium Global Ltd. (a company that designed a number of successful free-to-play games, such as Vikings, War of Clans, and Sparta), and the purchase of Big Fish (a leading global publisher of mobile and browser-based social games).

Aristocrat investors

Aristocrat Leisure Limited is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange as ALL.

As of February 2019, the largest shareholders in Aristocrat were Paul Ainsworth (4.29% stake), Colonial First State Asset Management Australia Ltd. (3.44%), Simon Ainsworth (3.06%), BlackRock Fund Advisors (2.92%), The Vanguard Group Inc. (2.87%), Stephen Ainsworth (2.30%), Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd. (2.25%), Norges Bank Investment Management (1.63%), Ainsworth Family (1.34%), and Wellington Management Co. LLP (1.19%).

Aristocrat management and corporate structure

Aristocrat’s executive leadership is headed by Trevor Croker, who was previously responsible for the company’s portfolio and product strategy as the executive vice president (EVP) of Global Products.

The remaining executive officers are Chief Financial Officer Julie Cameron-Doe; Chief Product Officer Rich Schneider; Chief Human Resources Officer Christie Roser; EVP and General Counsel Mark Dunn; President, Video Gaming Technologies Jay Sevigny; Managing Director, ANZ and International Mitchell Bowen; Managing Director, Americas Matt Wilson; and Chief Information Officer James Alvarez.

Aristocrat Board of Directors

  • Neil Chatfield (Chairman)
  • Trevor Croker (Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director)
  • Stephen W. Morro (Non-Executive Director)
  • Kathleen Conlon (Non-Executive Director)
  • Arlene Tansey (Non-Executive Director)
  • Sylvia Summers Couder (Non-Executive Director)
  • Pat Ramsey (Non-Executive Director)