Sports and gambling go hand in hand. Most sports fans enjoy watching sports even when the team or individual they enjoy watching the most isn’t playing, but it often makes things more exciting if they have a little ‘skin in the game.’ Many people will know the joy (or pain!) or putting a large-scale accumulator on a set of sporting fixtures on a Saturday, only to miss out on a big win because a single result didn’t go your way. We curse our luck, and we swear never to back that team again, and yet we often find ourselves doing it again the following weekend!

Online slots websites and the companies that make games for them are well aware that there’s a crossover – and quite a large one – between people who enjoy sports and people who play online slots. That’s why for the past few years, we’ve seen more and more sports-themed online slots finding their way to some of the most popular slots websites, where they’ve made big money for the people who make them. They also sometimes make big money for the people who play them!

There are literally hundreds of great sports-themed online slots to choose from if you’re thinking of taking one for a spin right now, but here are five of our all-time favorites.

Striker Goes Wild

Out of the vast pantheon of soccer-themed online slots, we think we like ‘Striker Goes Wild’ the most. That’s not just because it features a likeness of Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo – a man who many believe is the very best player of all time. It’s because it’s a hugely entertaining slot with 96.5% RTP, 25 paying lines, and a fine line in randomly-appearing additional wild symbols. Eyecon is the company responsible for creating this one, and they specialize in making simple, easy-to-follow online slots that offer reasonable chances of victory while not confusing you with excessive features or confusing layouts. It’s as smooth and clean as a Ronaldo free-kick, and it can be rewarding if luck is on your side when you play it. Just be wary of the high volatility.

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Basketball Star

Microgaming has released a number of sports-themed online slots using the same formula, where the word ‘star’ is placed after the name of the sport. They’re all broadly similar, but we think 2015’s ‘Basketball Star’ is the best of the lot. It’s a lively slot with 243 ways to win, 96.45 RTP, and a ‘collapsing wins’ system, which gives you a second shot of making a winning line immediately after you’ve just had a victory. That feature combines neatly with a limitless multiplier, so when you get on a roll, you’ll be picking up significant cash sums by the end of it. It doesn’t hurt that the graphics are nice and sharp either; it’s a cartoonish interpretation of a basketball court, but everything’s well-drawn, and there’s enough going on to keep you entertained.

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Sporting Legends

We know there’s some debate about whether or not snooker should truly be considered a ‘sport,’ but we’re going to err on the side of answering ‘yes’ to that question because we really want to include this online slots game, based on the best snooker player in history, on our list. The mercurial Ronnie O’ Sullivan has broken more or less every record there is to break during his long and illustrious career, but he lent his official likeness to Playtech so he could make even more money in April 2018. In return, they made him a five-reeled online slots game set against the backdrop of a snooker table with 25 paying lines, a free spins feature, instant jackpots, a bonus symbols collection feature, and some authentic sights and sounds from the sporting world it’s based on. The RTP is a little low at 93.07%, but so long as you go into the slot knowing that you should be able to forgive it.

Lucha Legends

As was the case with snooker, it’s a little contentious to present professional wrestling as a sport. In Mexico, however, they take it very seriously, and as Microgaming’s ‘Lucha Legends’ is set in Mexico, we’re going to give it a free pass. There’s a whole host of absurdly muscular masked characters for you to grapple with on the reels of this great-looking slot, which was launched in late 2018. Some of the characters are too big for a single reel; when they land, they’ll swell up and fill the whole row they appear on, bringing you additional wins in the process. Power up your wrestlers to turn wild symbols into ‘super wilds,’ and keep an eye out for one of the 25 paying lines. RTP is a very pleasant 96.38%, and as volatility is low, it shouldn’t do too much damage to your bankroll to go looking for wins.

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The Grand National: Race Of Champions

Horse racing happens almost everywhere in the world and almost every hour of the day. If there’s one race that’s more famous and more lucrative than all of the others, though, it’s the annual Grand National at Aintree in England. This 2017 slot by Inspired Gaming is a celebration of that iconic race, and it does justice to the intellectual property. The enlarged 5×4 layout of reels and rows offers players forty paying lines, with 95% RTP and a range of features including free spins, substitution symbols, additional wilds, and extra bonus symbols. It’s not quite the same as picking a horse based on nothing other than its name and crossing your fingers that it won’t fall at the first hurdle, but it can be a lot more exciting when a big win comes in!

We were torn between two or three different slots for the final entry on this list, so we want to give an honorable mention to “Mike Tyson Knockout,” which is also by Inspired Gaming. We’ve only mentioned five slots here, and any competent online slots website you might visit ought to have at least a dozen, but we wanted to give you an idea of where to start looking if you want a new slot to try. We hope we’ve been useful to you in that respect – and thanks for stopping by our site!