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Slot Machines: The games powering the rise of online gambling

Thirty years ago, the idea of a thriving, online gambling sector would have sounded anathema to any industry experts. However, that is the world in which gambling currently operates, with the shift balance of power looking set to shift in favour more towards online in the coming years.

Gaming technology, online poker and live streaming casinos may steal the headlines when it comes to the growth of the online gambling industry, but it is the unheralded slot machine that is actually driving real growth.

For decades slot machines have accounted for over 60% of revenues in land-based casinos and it is no different online. In this article we look at why slots are so popular and why they are so well suited to the online market.

Why slots are so popular

There is a myriad of reasons why slots have remained popular with gamblers for decades, the three biggest are:

Winnings:

When you play any game in a casino or online other than poker, the house always has an edge. In terms of probability, for every dollar that you spend on a game you can predict your average losses.

With traditional table games like blackjack, roulette and baccarat the house edge is higher than that of slot machines. To put that into perspective, in blackjack a player has a 55% chance of returning their investment in any given hand whereas on a game like playboy gold jackpot slot the player has a chance of up to 96% of returning their investment.

Accessibility: In poker there are 1,326 possible combinations, in blackjack there are hundreds of strategies, whereas when it comes to slot machines, there are no confusing combinations and no obtrusively complex strategies.

Of all the casino games available, slots are by far the most accessible and easy to play for both new and experienced gamblers. In many ways, slots are the gateway to gambling that certain players, who are intimidated by the rules of other games need.

Themes:

There are only so many ways that casino operators can wrap up traditional table games, but there is no limit to how many ways a casino can market a slot machine.

Slots are relatively easy to create and as such, developers can design them to mimic popular culture trends like music, film and television. Every year on the market there are hundreds of slots games based on the most popular shows or films of the year.

This helps the games to appeal to new, curious players and thus ensures the continued success of online casinos.

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Many famous blockbuster moves and popular music artists have been successfully used as a theme for an online slot.

Why are slots so well-suited to the online market?

Appealing to customers will only get a casino game so far, for it to be a long-term success it needs to perform well. Fortunately for online slots developers the internet is where this casino favourite comes into its own.

In a casino a slot machine is often a large, clunky console that takes up an awful lot of space. Its size might deceive you into thinking that it is filled with the complex tech and processing power of a supercomputer, however nothing could be further from the truth.

Essentially slot machines are incredibly basic, certainly in comparison to most other gaming consoles. Therefore, they are easily transferrable onto mobile devices and desktop browsers.

The lightweight nature of slots also plays into the hands of online developers as they can market hundreds upon hundreds of games on their sites. In doing this, online casinos can dwarf the offering of their land-based competitors.

Finally, slot machines are so well-suited for online, and in particular mobile devices as they already closely resemble the graphics, design and layout of existing mobile apps. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a popular mobile game will be able to navigate an online slot with ease and an air of familiarity.

The future of online slots

In the coming years, slots will continue to play a major part in the growth of online casinos. At this moment in time, the online market is in danger of reaching a plateau and is therefore in need of branching out to new demographics in order to continue to grow.

Slots allow these companies the perfect vehicle to appeal to new players, particularly if rumours are to be believed, that online casinos begin to become available on new gaming platforms like the PlayStation 5.

For the next decade at least, you can expect slots to play as big a role in online casinos as they have in land-based casinos for the best part of a century.

Written by Marcus Richards

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