Online Slot Machine Technology Over The Last Decades

Slots were considered a great invention last century. Numerous mechanics, engineers and mathematicians worked to improve Charles Fey’s invention and succeeded. Although people have always found ways to cheat physical machines, online is different

The first slot machine

The first slot machine, also known as the “Liberty Bell”, was created somewhere between 1887 – 1895 by Charles Fey in San Francisco. He got his inspiration from the automatic poker machine but managed to change the world of casinos forever. 

His creation made automatic payments when lucky symbols aligned. Fey revolutionised the five-card poker machine by implementing three spinning reels with five images each. The symbols included horseshoes and Liberty Bells. 

Usually, the winning combinations were placed at the bottom of the machine so people could see them. Players paid one nickel per spin and pulled a lever to see their luck. His creation’s popularity grew fast, but his income was still low due to anti-gambling laws across multiple US states. Fey and his associates would sometimes disguise slots as vending machines or other devices, so people could still pay, even if they did it outside the law.

How do online slots work?

Online slot games changed almost everything Fey created except the base games. Nowadays, you have to push a button in order to play. You add money to your account before choosing the game, not after it. Not only that, but you can play online slots for free, unlike physical slot machines.

All these games use software, measurement systems and the latest graphics trends to ensure your comfort in every playing session.  

Pseudo-random number generators 

Like their physical counterparts, online slot machines use RNG or PRNG software. This software determines the outcome of each spin. The way it is able to do that is by generating a sequence of numbers that correspond to the symbols on the reels. 

Each time you push the spin button, the PRNG software creates a unique sequence and shows different symbols. 

Online slots cannot have a hard random number generator process because they cannot be entirely random. The game is limited to the number of symbols it can show and possible combinations. A PRNG doesn’t mean the game is rigged because the possible outcomes tend to reach infinity. 

The software sees all possible outcomes and limitations hit frequencies and determines if you win or lose.

Measurement systems 

Slots always had different measurement systems. They investigate your time, money, winnings and losses averages. 

Online casinos track the amount of money you wager on each spin. They use this information to determine the average bet size of each player, as well as betting patterns. Additionally, the game records the time you spend playing. Operators create stats and see when people gamble the most, for how long and what motivates them for that time interval. 

Another important measurement system is the win vs loss ratio. Online casinos use this ratio to comprehend which slots are the most profitable and how eager bettors are to keep playing when losing vs winning. 

All these metrics are summarised and tracked to understand the player’s loyalty and risks of addiction. Every operator must have these measurements, safety programs, and self-exclusion schemes. 

A myriad of iGaming providers compete to create unique and immersive slot games 

The first slots were physical, and their symbols were fruits and cards. They had lights and sounds but nothing more. Now, online slots have distinct themes, bonus games and features. Some allow to change the theme to Dark and stop all the sounds and music. Others implement tutorials explaining how to turn on and off some extra features. 

In modern days, slot developers gave you all the control over the games you play. 

For example, NetEnt, one of the most well-renowned slot developers, has an impressive game portfolio with over 400 themed slots. The company understood the demand and created reels with movies, celebrities, cultures and aliens. This is why all online casinos with UK licenses offer their game catalogue. More often than not NetEnt’s casino partners have a game for each genre of people, and its competitors do too. 

The future of slots

Although over 60% of slot players prefer the online variants, physical slot machines will never get out of style.  They attract travellers to various places such as Macao, London or Las Vegas. 

These games bring the most money into the gambling industry, so online operators ensure they have the latest promotions, technology, and user-friendly interface. This way, people would play more, and sometimes with less money. 

Slots are already integrated into Metaverse and AR games. If you have an Oculus headset and want to try VR slots, you can do it, but you will notice that they need some improvements. These improvements for a more immersive experience will be fully developed by the end of 2026. So, in three years, you can put on your VR headset and walk into a real-like casino, play slots and interact with other players from home.