In today’s gambling market, online and live alike, slots are by far the most popular form of entertainment. Equally attractive to casual players and high stakes gamblers slot games have the kind of wide appeal that you just don’t find with other games found on a casino floor. These machines are simple to play, they don’t require any knowledge, and can produce big wins on any single spin of the reels.
Casino slots came to be several decades ago although they were a far cry away from what we have today. First slot machines were based on mechanical reels and featured only a single payline. Yet, even in this basic form, players were attracted to them.
As time went on and technology allowed for new developments, slots started to advance, introducing more paylines and better features. With the advent of videoslots, based on virtual instead of physical reels, game creators were given an opportunity to start making games that truly appealed to the players, ushering the slots era.
Slot Machine: How It Works
Modern-day casino slot games vary in terms of themes, graphics, and other details we can see with our bare eyes. However, most slot machines feature a rather similar underlying process that serves as the basis for the game operation. The piece of software that makes the slots tick is called a Random Number Generator (RNG).
The RNG works in a conjunction with slot reels, i.e. it produces random numbers, which are then translated into one of hundreds of thousands of possible reel positions. So, when the number is produced in the background, the slot machine already knows what the outcome will be. Spinning reels and colorful symbols are there simply for our entertainment. This is also why there is no actual effective strategy to slot machines that could deny the house edge.
The Random Number Generator cooperates closely with another concept that is crucial to slots, namely the Return to Player (RTP). RTP of a slot is usually shown as a percentage and it determines how much money that goes through the game is distributed back to the players in the long run. So, for example, a casino slot with RTP of 96% stands to return 96 dollars for every 100 dollars it takes in.
This is a short explanation of how slot games work. Of course, things such as RTP are calculated over millions of spins and don’t have much effect on any individual session. You can still win big or lose money every time you sit down to play but understanding the RTP and playing machines with higher RTP on average will result in more winning sessions overall.
The Legal Situation of Online Casino Slots
Online slots may be among the most popular casino games in existence but when it comes to the USA in particular, the legal situation is quite complicated. Overall, the US Government doesn’t have a particularly favorable stance towards online gambling and online casino slots are, in particular, the point over which regulators in many states can’t find the common language.
Several US states, such as New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and, more recently, Pennsylvania, have regulated their online gambling space. This means that players are free to enjoy various casino games, including casino slots, on a variety of properly licensed and regulated operators. With these states, online casino slots aren’t an issue and players can enjoy a variety of titles from many popular and trustworthy slot creators.
In the rest of the US, however, the gambling regulation is still work in progress, which means that all games, including online slots, are in a grey zone. Players can play slot machines at a number of offshore casinos that cater to US players but these casinos are often operating in contradiction to the US laws.
In all licensed jurisdictions, be it the US or any other part of the world with strict gaming laws, all online casino slot games undergo strict tests and controls before they’re released to the public. These games must prove fair and fully random before the regulator will allow them to be featured on online casinos.
For the players, it is very important to always play only with the suppliers whose slots have been properly checked and verified by these licensing authorities. This is the only way you can know for sure that the game’s RTP is truly as advertised and that there’s been no tampering of any kind with the game’s source code.
Different Types of Slots
While there are thousands of different casino slots out there, with all sorts of themes, various paylines, in-game features, etc., pretty much all of them can be divided into four main groups, with certain games belonging to more than one at the same time.
- Video slots are a common name for pretty much all slots found online today. These games feature virtual reels (instead of physical ones) and usually offer various slots bonus features such as free spins, pick & click games, and similar. Video slots are characterized by nice graphics, smooth gameplay, and opportunities for big wins.
- Fruit machines are a term used to describe older games based on the original idea for casino slot Although these days these are also (mostly) video slots in essence, they feature classic symbols, like various fruits, bells, bars, and 7s, usually offer fewer paylines, and no special bonus features except for occasional free spins or multiplier wilds.
- Adventure slots refer to online slots with a sense of adventure, i.e. allowing players to actually progress through the game, unlocking new parts of the game, uncovering new features, developing their characters, etc. Adventure slots are a new breed of gambling games, where the boundary between classic gaming and gambling is blurred and slots become more like traditional video games. These games are particularly popular with newer generation players who expect and demand more from their gaming experience.
- Jackpot slots are the ones where players can win a separate jackpot in addition to standard line wins. Sometimes, these jackpots are awarded for making a particular combination of symbols while at other times jackpots are awarded randomly and it is impossible to say when a player is going to win until it happens. In this group, progressive jackpot slots take a special place. These are the games where the jackpot is accumulated across the network of different casinos offering the same game and the progressive pool is filled by all players playing the particular slot across all casinos. Some of the most popular games of this type often feature seven and even eight-figure amounts.
The Most Famous Developers of Casino Slots
With online casino slots being so popular, it is no surprise there are dozens of companies out there whose primary business relies on developing and launching new slot games. In this large group of game providers, there are several companies that stand out from the rest, both in terms of quality and quantity of games they produce regularly.
- Microgaming is one of the best-known and largest developers of online casino slot games. The company has been in the business since 1994 and over the years, they’ve produced several hundred gaming titles available across dozens, if not hundreds of online casinos. Their portfolio includes some of the best known progressive jackpots such as Mega Moolah and Mega Moolah Isis.
- NetEnt is another hugely popular developer of casino slots hailing from Sweden. The company has been set up a couple of years after Microgaming, in 1996, but they’re easily in the top three of all-time slot makers. With more than 200 gaming titles under their belts and with more than 200 casino operator partners, NetEnt produces visually pleasing and entertaining games, often based on popular movies and TV shows. NetEnt also features some of its own progressive jackpot slots, the most popular ones being Mega Fortune and Hall of Gods.
- IGT (International Game Technology) is one of the oldest companies in the business. Founded in 1990, IGT is a Nevada-based company, which started off creating slots primarily for land-based venues, later branching into the online arena as well, creating online versions of some of their most popular games. Some of their titles, such as DaVinci Diamonds are hugely popular, especially with old-school players.
- Playtech was founded in 2007 and it is based out of Isle of Man. This game developer may have been somewhat late to the party but their range of games has quickly more than made up for it. These days, Playtech offers a variety of slots with many different themes, from myths and legends, to superheroes and pop culture. While their slots are often not that impressive in terms of graphics, in-game features and the winning potential make them well worth the time and money. There are several progressive jackpots from Playtech as well.
- Konami is a name very well recognized in the world of video games but since 1978, the company has also started looking into gambling, creating ties with a number of casino operators in the US. It wasn’t until 2005, when the company moved its seat to Nevada, that Konami had actually started producing slots. They were initially focused on the land-based markets but have since, like many others, expanded into the iGaming world as well. Players familiar with the live gambling scene are probably aware of some popular Konami titles such as China Shores. Konami has mainly held to the US, having only recently ventured into Europe as well, via partnership with some of the major online casino operators offering their services on the continent.
Top 5 Casinos Offering Slot Games
With online slots being so popular, it is no wonder that many online casinos focus primarily on these games, offering players exactly what they want. These days, a modern operator will offer anything from a few hundred to couple hundred slots for players to enjoy. If you’re looking to play a particular slot online, you should have no problems finding at least a few sites that offer this option for free and real money alike.
Of course, while most casinos offer a decent selection of slots, there are other things to also consider when making your decision, such as their welcome bonus and other offers, all of which come into play as they can significantly boost your bankroll.
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Online Casino Slots FAQ
Whether you’re an experienced gambler or someone just starting with online gambling, casino slots represent an excellent way to both have fun and potentially win a significant amount of money relative to your stakes. With slots being so simple yet exciting and thrilling, they are truly a game for everyone.
So, if you’re looking to have some fun, waste no time and check out our suggested best online gambling sites and find the one that is just right for you. Check out what slots they have on offer, try them out for free, and once you’re ready, you can shoot for the stars and try your luck playing for real money!