The world of online gambling has been consolidating and now, the vast majority of sports betting sites have an online casino attached.
Naturally, a lot of sports bettors have been exploring the new gaming options available, with slot games often being the most visually appealing and prevalent in casino gaming sections of bookie websites in the popular industry many call iGaming.
Still, slot games online are quite different from the fruit machines still found in pubs and bars. While the fundamental gameplay will be familiar, there are many other factors that you can take advantage of in the new age of slot gaming.
Why slot games?
You’ll find far more than bells, bars, and lucky sevens on the modern scene of slot gaming. The category of slots has become so popular in the UK and across other casino gaming jurisdictions due to the sheer variety on offer.
In the UK, the UKGC reports that just online slots account for £2.1 billion of the total £14.4 billion gambling industry, which shows a significant increase year on year. Variety has been key to this as the more choice that’s available, the more likely someone will be able to find a game that they find appealing.
In the early days, just a few game developers competed in the space, often having whole websites to themselves. Without competition, though, sectors can go stale. The slots scene was able to grow at an incredible rate because more and more developers began introducing novel creations.
Now, popular betting and casino websites like Comeon feature several titles from industry leaders and smaller studios, such as Play’n GO, Yggdrasil Gaming, NetEnt, and NYX Gaming. As competition ramps up, studios have to make more games and seek further innovation in their designs, which continues to heighten the online slot gaming experience for players.
How slots work
Online slots have very similar functionality to classic fruit machines but the gameplay has become streamlined, expanded, and guided in many instances. Fruit machines, as noted by The Guardian, famously have Hold and Nudge buttons, most online slots don’t feature such complexities but do host more reels and paylines.
With the games being wholly computerised, they simulate everything for the player so that they never miss out on a potential win just because they pressed the wrong button. The motions of the games are still the same: input X-amount for your bet and then press spin to see if you won. The games online, though, often offer key features as well, which can trigger big bonuses.
The important information
There are many themes, betting levels, and features to be found across the hundreds of slot games available online, but there are two key aspects that dictate how the game plays and if it’s worth playing: RTP and volatility.
RTP (return to player) indicates how much of the money paid into a slot over time is paid back out to its players. So, you’ll want to find games with higher RTP values: values at or above 93% are considered to be good.
Of course, none of this guarantees that you'll be a winner at the end of your session, but it does give you an overall indication of how profitable the game tends to be for the player community as a whole compared to the house – the online provider, in this case.
Meanwhile, volatility is an indicator of how a game plays. Those who want regular rewards topping up the balance tend to go for low volatility slots. Those who are willing to wait for the big wins prefer the high volatility slots. Low volatility games, like the NetEnt smash-hit Starburst, tend to pay more regularly but in smaller doses on average.
High volatility slots, including Viking Runecraft from Play’n Go, don’t pay out as often as low volatility games but tend to pay out more when a win does land. Then, there are also games like Vikings Go Berzerk from Yggdrasil, which have medium volatility for balanced slot gaming.
Now, you have a strong understanding of what to expect from slots, how they play, and the aspects to look out for which dictate the gameplay experience.