Why We Love Slots: Reasons for its Popularity

min read
An illustration of a slot reel with three sevens, surrounded by speech bubbles with dollar signs. Above the reel is the word winner, while there is an arm to spin the reels attached to the right of the reels. The reel floats above a circular stage.
BetMGM Jun 19, 2024, 4:02 PM

There’s no doubt that online slot machines are probably the first thing that a person thinks of when it comes to any casino. This is mainly due to the sheer volume of the slots available at both brick-and-mortar and online casinos, as well as the number of people actually playing them. This popularity is why they account for most of the casino industry’s incredible annual revenue, which, according to an article on Forbes.com, came in at $53 billion in 2021. 

But why exactly are online slots so popular? Join us as we unpack some of the slot machine psychology that keeps people coming back for more.

Low barrier to entry

Playing slots online has more than one level of appeal, but there’s no doubt that one of the main factors that makes them so popular is their simplicity. Most online slot games only require you to click or tap a few buttons to decide how much you want to wager on each spin and then, with a click or tap of one more button, get the game going. There are no complex rules and no learning combinations or strategies. Just decide how much you want to wager and see what luck has in store when you spin the reels.

Once the reels are turning, the game itself is decided by chance, which in online slots uses a  Random Number Generator (RNG), to determine whether you win or lose. Some games will offer additional add-ons or bonus levels that require an understanding but not necessarily a learned skill or strategy. This isn’t to say that it’s a boring game. The rush from winning is ever-present.

Low cost

It can cost as little as a dollar to win a jackpot, but there are online casino sites that have games for less than a quarter, with some games available to play for free (there are many benefits to trying out slot games for free, even if you can’t win any prizes.) Compare this to the buy-in for a poker or blackjack game and you start to understand why most people still play slots online. Over time, the costs can add up, so it’s important to remember how much you are willing to spend per session. This is why you should opt to play online casino slots, as there is a great variety with some pretty low costs, including some slot themes that don’t get enough love.

Rags to riches

3d illustrations of slot machine win line and prize

The dream of becoming an instant millionaire is shared by people across the world but few gambling games offer the opportunity to win so much from so little. The idea that you could win a fortune from as little as $1 is enough incentive for most people to at least try the game. It’s also the reason why players find it difficult to stop playing despite losing their bankroll. Slot games can be a lot of fun and they should be treated as such, with players practicing responsible gambling and seeking help if they are in need of assistance. 

In the long term, despite whatever slot machine tips you may have heard that could increase your chances of a win over the years, most machines will only payout between 90–98% of your bets. While there is a chance of winning big that is exciting, at the end of the day this means that, statistically, this game will not pay out as much as you put in. But it is always important to remember to keep games fun and to know how much you’re willing to spend per session to try and win that alluring jackpot. 

Speaking of jackpots, it’s the range of potential big wins that entices people towards these gambling games. Here are some of the different types of prizes that help make slots such a popular game. 

Staggered winnings

Many land-based and online casino slot games offer staggered winnings. You get the main payout if you get the jackpot, but you’ll also get winnings for different combinations. These depend on the slot themselves but could be from achieving three of the same number to three of the same fruit. Some winnings will be enough to top up your bankroll, while others will give you access to a bonus round or bonus spin.

Progressive jackpots

Progressive jackpots set the winnings at astronomical figures. The way they work is that machines, either on their own or linked with other machines over a network, calculate the number of bets and continuously increase the jackpot until it is won. The increase in the jackpot is often a set amount for each time the game is played. Progressive jackpots are perhaps the most popular version of land-based and online casino slot games. They have already made millionaires the world over, upping the stakes with each spin of the wheels.

Fixed jackpots

Unlike progressive jackpots, which can grow in size, a slot with a fixed jackpot means that the prize will always stay the same. While this may mean that games with these prizes won’t reach the heights of a progressive jackpot, they often have a higher RTP, meaning more frequent wins overall and a greater chance of taking home the jackpot prize.

Entertainment value

Woman Playing Classic Slot Machine in the Casino.

Table games like poker, roulette and baccarat have all released different versions of the game, especially through online casino game sites. Although these other games have evolved, they haven’t been able to change as much as online casino slot games have. This is due, in part, to the rules at play. For table games, the deck of cards often dictates the play, whereas in slots, it’s all about chance combinations. This lends itself to far more creative interpretations.

Themes

Online casino slot games come in all shapes and sizes. Some are based on movies, while others are based on towns and sports teams. There are even off-shoot variants that are based on games like Scrabble and Hangman. These themes add an additional level of enjoyment and familiarity with the game. There are also so many slot themes that explore mythical beings as you spin the reels.

Multimedia

The nature of the game allows for far more multimedia than traditional casino table games. There is more room for videos, animations and music. Together, these create a real online casino experience that is fully immersive. The way that the reels spin or how the results are displayed have no restrictions other than maintaining their fairness and randomness. You can expect AR and VR to enter this space in the near future, further enhancing the experience of virtual slots.

Bonus rounds

One Handed Fruit Machine Concept Illustration

Online casino slot games sometimes feel like a video game with levels and stages. It ultimately comes down to the imagination of the game designer. For this reason, it is often a lot more entertaining than most would think.

Playing online

For those who play slots online, many would have started with their welcome bonus. Finding the best online casino often comes down to who offers the best welcome incentive. Most will match your deposit amount as part of this bonus offer. 

The welcome bonus comes with specific conditions that need to be met first. Some online casinos require a certain amount of bets to be made before they can be withdrawn. A great way to meet these amounts is to play online casino slot games. 

Always ensure you’re dealing with a reputable online casino that is registered and licensed before making a deposit. 

Slot games to play in 2023

Hoot Loot

Presented by High 5 Games, Hoot Loot is a cartoon-styled slot game with cool features to enjoy. In Hoot Loot, a fun animated forest provides the ideal backdrop for all the reel action. This 5-reel, 20-payline online slot machine has a maximum bet of up to 200 coins per spin. You can look out for great features such as wild bonus symbols and multipliers.

Shadow Diamond: Noir

If you’re looking for some slot game action that will transport you to New York, then this is the game for you. In this epic slot game, you will get to step into the world of a jewel enthusiast in a glamorous high-rise penthouse. Shadow Diamond: Noir offers an immersive experience as you spin the reels and try to win big. The gameplay takes place on 6 reels and 4 rows with a total of 11 different symbols. The symbols on the reels include rubies, emeralds and diamonds. 

Starlite Fruits

This slot game provides you with the classic feel of casino slot machines. Get ready to spin the reels and receive a dose of colorful neon fruits bursting across your screen. Symbols on the reels include an apple-shaped bar, strawberry-themed 7s, a watermelon, lemons, cherries and grapes. You’ll be happy to know that there are four jackpots up for grabs, including the mega, major, minor and mini jackpots. All the action takes place over the game’s 5×3 grid. 

If these are not enough, here are some more exciting online slots games for you to play in 2022.

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Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.