Why Did Online Slots Become the Most Popular Online Casino Game?

min read
A man plays online slots on a tablet.
BetMGM Mar 08, 2023, 8:29 AM

It’s almost impossible to think of a casino experience without the attention-grabbing slot machine coming to mind. This is the case with online casino slots too. Considering how integral slot machines are to a brick-and-mortar casino setup, it’s no surprise that the same can be said for an online casino. 

While there is a wide variety of online casino games to explore, the fact that slots offer the much-loved thrill and excitement associated with a casino makes them a firm favorite. Additionally, they’re relatively easy to play and don’t require you to be an experienced player. 

Before delving into some of the main reasons why online slots are so popular, let’s backtrack a bit to consider how these games have evolved over the years. 

The transition from land-based slot games to online slots

The history of slots can be traced all the way back to New York in 1891. The first machine had five drums and 50 playing cards and the bar owner used to pay all the winners on the spot. Although these early slot machines were relatively basic and manual forerunners to more modern games, gamblers loved playing them, and as their popularity rose, they paved the way for further developments right through the 20th century. 

Of course, once the internet came into being, it didn’t take long for online gambling to take hold. However, it was only in 1996 that online slots as we know them came to the fore. Since then, the rapid growth of digital technology has ensured constant changes and improvements to keep the gaming action exciting and enticing for both novice and experienced players. And because so many people play slots, developers have put a lot of money and creative inspiration into launching fresh titles and groundbreaking genres. 

Let’s take a look at one of the big reasons why virtual slots have become so many people’s favorite casino games. 

The wide variety of online slots

When it comes to online slots, you’re truly spoilt for choice. It all depends on the type of game you enjoy playing, the game mechanics, and how retro or modern you like the format to be. But if you can think of a theme, you’ll probably find that someone’s already designed a slot around it, whether it’s animals, landscapes, Chinese good luck, Ancient Egypt, sport-related or even food! But it’s the entire package of a game that attracts fans and keeps them coming back for more – the format, genre, graphics, soundtrack, mechanics, features and bonuses and, of course, how likely you are to land a win. Here are a few types of slots you might encounter.

Classic (three-reel) slots

Considered the simplest type of online slots, these are based on the traditional mechanical three-reel slots, which greatly contributed to the rise of Las Vegas as the go-to city for the full casino experience. Whether you were looking to play casino table games or enjoy a session of slots in person, Vegas cemented itself as the epicenter of casino gaming. So it’s no surprise that these traditional-type slot machines have cemented their place online too, especially for fans of the more retro virtual slot.

Video (five-reel) slots

These are the most commonly used slots that you’ll find at an online casino. The most usual format is five reels and three rows, with combinations being randomly selected by the game software rather than mechanical reels or levers. This makes them relatively easy to play. All you have to do is set your bet value and click ‘Spin!’ 

Other formats

While many slot titles employ the traditional 5×3-reel format, you’ll also come across six- and seven-reel slot games, most of which follow the same gaming principles as five-reel slots, but often with different numbers of paylines. Some have unique structures, such as staggered reels, while others have done away entirely with reels and used more of a “grid” type of system. You’ll soon discover which is the most fun to play!

Progressive slots and progressive jackpots

In jackpot slots, part of the player’s wager goes towards the jackpot. This essentially means the more people who play a progressive slot, the bigger the jackpot becomes. Eventually, one lucky player lands the ultimate combination and scoops the entire jackpot, at which point the game resets to a set baseline level. Progressive slot machines exist in land-based casinos too, where more than one machine can be linked or networked, along with its associated jackpot.  

Interactive slots

Offering multiple paylines and a multi-reel element, interactive slots (also referred to as i-slots) can be likened to an online video game. They often include an engaging story, as well as drawn-out cutscenes followed by a mini-game that involves a degree of skill. As such, they can be fun to play especially as there’s an element of interaction as well as luck involved.

Virtual reality slots

Virtual reality (VR) has changed how we interact and participate in an assortment of games and online experiences. Possibly some of the most realistic and exciting online slots, these allow you to feel as if you’re truly on an actual casino floor. VR slots make you feel as though you’re doing more than just interacting with a screen.

In addition to the types of slots we’ve mentioned above, some of the most famous franchises have also inspired an assortment of online slots. Baywatch, Ghostbusters and Jumanji are just a few examples of them, but there are tons of titles that sit within this genre, should you wish to try some.

The perks of playing online slots

While playing online slots is great fun, here are some of the other big plus points.

Little to no experience is required

People tend to be drawn to online slots because of how easy they are to play. Although there may be slight differences between the various slots, the premise remains the same. This makes players more likely to experiment and keep trying new slots every chance they get. You’ll always find simple instructions for the game, and many titles show a paytable that lists the different combinations of symbols that constitute wins, and how much they’re worth.

They’re ideal for beginner gamblers

For the reason mentioned above, just about anyone can give online slots a go. While other casino games may be intimidating for novice players, that’s not the case with online slots. However, it’s really important that you gamble responsibly and set yourself a limit on how much you’ll spend on your slots session – it’s very easy to get carried away.

You can access a live casino online, even when you’re on the go

This is perhaps the main draw of playing online slots. They’re easily accessible from wherever you might be, and you don’t have to search far and wide for the nearest casino to join in on the fun. Once you’re registered at an online casino of your choice, you’re free to browse its entire collection of games and take your pick.

They’re fun and interactive

With ongoing improvements and developments being made, the world of virtual casino gaming is more interactive than ever. From astonishing visuals and graphics to gripping narratives and interactive features – through the likes of virtual reality slots – it’s becoming much more fun as you truly immerse yourself in the online casino game experience. 

They’re relatively easy to design

Given that the premise of online slots has remained unchanged for decades, developers continue to up the ante. By keeping the core of online slots the same, developers are able to add features and elements that are sure to keep the masses returning. So whether it’s a grid, reels or incredible features such as bonus rounds, pick-me games and cascading reels, there is always something fresh to discover.

Play some of the best online slots at BetMGM

Visit BetMGM to experience the thrill of playing casino games at your pace and on your terms. To discover some of the best casino games to play online, including online slot titles galore, sign up at BetMGM. 

We also offer many traditional casino and variety games, as well as exciting live dealer casino games (which embellish casino table games with an interactive live element,) so if you decide slots are not for you, there are loads of other casino games for you to try!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.