Anyone that’s ever spent time at an online or land-based casino will already know that slots are incredibly popular. Though, perhaps you don’t understand just how popular they are. According to recent statistics, online slots are responsible for generating about $16 billion in revenue in a year. Starting to get the picture?
But just what is it about these relatively simple games that’s so appealing? Slots are games of luck, after all, meaning that players can’t really do much other than place a bet and spin the reels. It all seems rather primitive in comparison to Blackjack and Poker. So, why are players flocking to online casinos?
Let’s take a closer look, analyze the average online slot, and get a better idea.
From Humble Beginnings
Let’s just get something straight. Slots aren’t exactly new inventions. They’ve actually been around since 1887, courtesy of Sittman and Pitt. Technically speaking, however, this first iteration wasn’t a slot at all. At least not by strict definition. Sittman and Pitt’s machine was rather a Poker machine, based entirely around lining up hands of cards. The game also couldn’t give automatic payouts, requiring that the bartender give out prizes manually.
Either way, the Poker machine was an enormous success, motivating Charles Fey to immediately get to work on a new version. Fey’s version, called the Liberty Bell, was both simpler and more complicated. Instead of using Poker hands, the new version used a handful of symbols, including hearts, diamonds, spades, the Liberty Bell, and horseshoes. However, the streamlined gameplay was offset by the Liberty Bell being able to make automatic payouts.
Fascinatingly the version created by Fey in 1891 is by and large still the same version we use today. Yes, of course, there have been many changes and upgrades over the years. But the core of the game, with spinning reels, matching symbols, and payouts, is the same rules we apply to our ultra-sophisticated online versions.
Even those first versions of a slot, operated by intricate wheels and cogs, were so popular as to be in constant demand. Orders soon far outweighed the rate at which the complicated machines could be built, forcing industry to spring up virtually overnight. Everyone at the time knew that a phenomenon had been stumbled upon, and it wasn’t long before a slot was present in almost every pub in every city.
The only real problem was, technically speaking, that players in the 1890s had to head to their local pub to give the games a shot. Wouldn’t those early reel spinners be jealous of us now, we who are able to play 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on little portable computers in our pocket?
Of course, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the first slots were made available online. The earliest versions were, naturally, rather simple, featuring primitive, low-resolution graphics and basic gameplay. The advantage the early versions did have, however, being available online, still made them a smash hit. It wasn’t long before the online versions were as good, if not better, than the versions available at land-based casinos.
Needless to say, slot fans were overjoyed with the online revolution. Not only could they play their favorite games at home, but they could also even play for real money. Surely it couldn’t get any better than that? But it did.
Special Features And Rewards
It isn’t just the convenience that makes online slots so attractive. Step into a land-based casino and you’ll be hard-pressed to get any bonuses or promotional offers. In fact, it’s more likely you’ll have to think about paying for parking, fighting crowds, and hoping that your favorite game isn’t already occupied.
On the other hand, online casinos are not only guaranteed to always be open, they’re also enormously generous. For just signing up at an online casino you’ll likely be showered with rewards, including bonus cash and perhaps even free spins. ZAR Casino is a perfect example, offering a staggering amount of bonus cash in exchange for a first deposit.
To look at it another way, if someone is going to play slots, why would they not do so with maximum convenience and a special bonus?
Perhaps you still remember slots as those clunky old machines, the ones with the metal levers and spinning drums that aren’t that far removed from the work of Charles Fey.
If that’s what you think slots still are today, you clearly haven’t played in a while. Get ready for a shock because technology has come a long way. The online slots of today are astoundingly impressive, featuring incredible graphics and amazing special effects. Yes, the vast majority of the games are still basic in principle, but the visual spectacle is reaching new levels. We’re talking high-definition graphics, professionally composed scores, and astoundingly intricate designs.
What’s more is that many slots these days feature themes based on popular culture, including musicians, superheroes, and the latest films. To put it another way, if there is a theme you can dream of, chances are there’s a slot that has it.
There are payouts that put a smile on your face, and then there are payouts that change your life forever. Spoiler: you aren’t going to see millions getting paid out in a game of Blackjack. In a progressive slot, on the other hand, it isn’t uncommon for tens of millions of dollars to be up for grabs.
Yes, the chances of winning those tens of millions aren’t exactly high. But then someone has to win sooner or later, and it might just be you. Take a look around and see how many other games offer the same sort of cash.
A Slots Success Story
Online slots are taking the world by storm, and it isn’t really surprising. The levels of convenience are unmatched, the bonuses and promotions outstanding, and the quality of games on another level. If you haven’t tried out a few for yourself, go ahead. It won’t be long before you understand why these relatively simple games are a global phenomenon.