July 11, 2024

How slots maintain their position as the most popular online casino game

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The pokies. Fruit machines. Reel spinners. Puggies. One-Armed Bandits. Whatever name you call them by, slot machines have been a favorite of gamblers since their invention in the 1890s. The sheer number of nicknames they have should tell you something about their popularity around the world.

They have changed a lot since their original creation, but the basic play remains the same — pull the lever, watch the reels spin and hope that the pictures line up. The move to online only provided slot machine game designers with more freedom.

How has this simple formula survived for so long and remained one of most iconic casino games? What are the factors that have allowed them to thrive in the digital era and to maintain their position as the most popular online casino game?


One of the main reasons that slot machines have been able to retain their popularity in the world of online casinos is thanks to the variety available. Even in traditional land-based casinos, having a number of different slot machines to choose from is a major selling point.

With online casinos, the constraints of floor space are gone. Online casinos can now offer hundreds, if not thousands, of different slot game options. The Slotsource list should give you some idea about the huge number of slot games that are currently available at online casinos.

Every genre and style can be represented because the casino doesn’t have to worry about a physical machine only being profitable occasionally. So, besides the more niche themed slots — Astro Pug anyone? — there are slots across a range of popular genres, including traditional, horror, movie-based and comedy.

One of the most popular genres of slots are music slots. Whether you love Dolly Parton, Motörhead or anything in between, there will be a music slot that will appeal to you. And with how quickly developers can now create the games, you just might see your top album of the year turned into a game!

Since consistent play isn’t an issue, online casinos can also offer a range of holiday slots year-round. If you love Christmas and want to play Christmas Kingdom or 40 Shades of Santa in the middle of July, you can.


Serious card players might look down on slot machines as the laziest form of gambling, but for the rest of us they’re a great, simple way to have fun. Part of what has helped slot machines maintain their popularity is how easy they are to play.

Games such as poker are enjoyable, but with so many variants and so many rules, there is a lot of learning and practice that needs to happen before you can play with any hope of winning. Blackjack seems simple on the surface, but actually has a complex strategy behind it as well.

With slot machines, the only thing you need to know is how much you want to bet on each spin. Online slots can even streamline the process and repeatedly spin until you hit an event such as a free spin bonus or a wild symbol.

All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the flashing lights, bright colors and fun sound effects. After a long day at work, on a busy commute or just when we’re bored, that is exactly as much attention as many of us are able to focus on anything.


With many people playing online casino games to fill spare moments in their day, having a game that you can play quickly without feeling rushed is ideal. A single round of blackjack also doesn’t take long but it’s the kind of game where you need to play multiple rounds in a row.

Slots, on the other hand, are just as fun — and have the same probability of winning — if you play once, twice or a hundred times in a row. It all depends on the algorithm and how the developers and casinos have programmed the game.

Being quick to play makes slots convenient. It also means that the payoff from playing is instant. You might win more in a few hands of poker, but the emotional payoff is delayed and only happens at the end of a hand, which can take up to half an hour.

With slots, every time you spin, you get a rush of adrenaline. The excitement at the possibility of winning, the rush as the reels slowly click into place, even the disappointment if nothing lines up — all of these emotions happen in just a few seconds.

This intense rush of emotions every few seconds is a big part of why slot games are so popular.

Low risk

Alongside being quick and easy to play, slot games are popular because they are generally lower risk than other types of gambling. While all types of gambling games carry the risk that you might lose all your money, it is less likely with slots.

Games such as poker, blackjack and roulette allow you to place your own bets and increase them as the game goes along. This can add up more quickly than you realize and soon you’re risking money you can’t afford to lose.

Slot machines have preset betting amounts that are usually very small — there’s a reason some variants are known as “penny slots”. With online slots, you can also set the amount you want to play with. The game will play until it runs out and then it ends. This makes it much easier to resist spending more money.

Even if you have amazing self-control and unlimited funds, playing with small amounts of money can be more fun. You have more control and can play for longer if you’re only risking a few cents or a dollar or two on each spin.

Slot machines have been around for over 100 years. They have gone from being fairly simple clanky contraptions to engaging mobile games. Through all their changes one thing has remained consistent — they are the most popular casino game and probably always will be.

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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