First invented in the late 19th century, the earliest slot machines rewarded lucky winners with such prizes as free beer and cigars (or whatever the establishment in which they were situated would offer).
Since then, the humble slot machine has gone on to form the cornerstone of a lucrative gambling industry, with more punters playing these simple games of luck than any other.
However, the advent of the video slot in the late 20th century revolutionised the sector. In November 2021, for example, playing slots accounted for almost three-quarters of revenue (£2.9 billion out of £4 billion) accrued at online casinos in the UK.
Clearly, video slots have proven to be a big hit…but why? What advantages do they hold over their mechanical predecessors? Here are a handful of the most attractive benefits in our estimation.
More Ways To Win
Traditional mechanical slot machines feature just three reels and simplified pay lines, meaning there are only a few ways for gamblers to strike it lucky.
By contrast, most video slots feature five reels and more winning combinations, thus multiplying the number of ways in which a player can win.
This not only makes this more lucrative for the consumer, but more exciting, too, since they can lay bets along a number of different lines to maximise their chance of success.
With traditional reel slots, each machine only accepts a certain type of coin. On the other hand, those who play video slot games can take advantage of a wide variety of different denominations, with the price per spin starting as low as a single penny.
Penny machines can be found in the world of mechanical slots, but they are few and far between, whilst they are ten-a-penny (excuse the pun) among video slots.
This ability to customise the wager makes video slots more adaptable to the budgets and betting habits of individual players.
Additionally, most video slot reels expand their appeal even further by including side missions and bonus games that can multiply a player’s winnings.
As well as gifting gamblers the opportunity to reap far higher rewards, this also serves to freshen up the experience and make it more enticing by its variation.
What’s more, these side missions often feature entertaining cut-scenes which employ the latest graphics. As such, the gameplay in itself is a reason for some people to play video slots, regardless of any money they may win.
In recent years, an increasingly popular trend has sprung up around online video slots. This involves the incorporation of a specific theme into the game, often basing itself upon pre-existing pop culture tropes.
For example, a video slot could be themed on a particular film, TV show, computer game or sport, thus establishing a connection with the consumer’s hobbies before the game has even begun.
With fantastic graphics and greater gameplay, more ways to play and more ways to win, it’s no surprise that video slots have now surpassed their mechanical reel counterparts in terms of popularity and profit.