Online slots: How do they work?
You may think online slots are a simple idea, and in some ways you would be right. But online slot machines also employ some of the digital world’s most sophisticated technologies. So here’s the answer to some of those things people always ask about online slots:
How many online slots are actually in existence?
How many indeed! It depends on how you total up the different game titles and game versions. For instance, are ‘casino blackjack’ and ‘online blackjack’ two games, or one game with two names? And what about games for different platforms etc.? But most online casinos have hundreds of different slots. So it’s not at all unusual to find a casino site advertising that it has ‘1500+ online slot machines’ you can choose from.
What are the most common online slot developer/software development companies?
This popular field is dominated by big names such as Microgaming
and NetEnt. But you’ll also find lots of mentions for the likes of Play N Go, Yggdrasil, Thunderkick, NextGen, eyecon, Nyx, Betsoft and more. Microgaming is one of the longest-established gaming companies and presently has a massive roster of over 850 games (e.g. Jurassic Park, Terminator II). In 20 years, Microgaming has had a phenomenal impact on the growth of the gaming industry. NetEnt are well-regarded for their high-quality games and today have around 200 titles (e.g. Gonzo’s Quest).
What types of online slots are available?
Among many different types of online games, the four most common are:
- Classic slots: These games hark back to those early days of slot machine gaming and often feature quaint fruit symbols (e.g. Amatic-Hot 27)
- Video slots: Always popular, video slots feature themed games, brilliant graphics, great animation and fantastic music and sound FX (e.g. Jurassic Park).
- Mega spins: These slots really take gaming to the next level. You get the chance to experience gameplay with anything from three up to nine games simultaneously – a mind-blowing session!
- Progressive slots: Involving whole slot networks, progressive slots build and build a massive jackpot until some lucky winner scoops the lot. The record payout is EUR 17,879,645.12, won in 2015 on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah game.
Are slot machines random or programmed?
For all practical purposes, slot machines really are random. Slots have to satisfy the requirements of industry regulator eCogra, who test and guarantee the fairness of online casino games. It’s the random number generator (RNG) which is at the heart of every game. This constantly generates a series of random numbers – several thousand every minute. All digital game programs access this random number stream as required, and the numeric outcome of that access can never be predicted in advance.
How do slot machine payouts work?
When it comes to a new slot machine the most-asked question is "What about the Payout-Rate?" The great thing about an online casino like Ruby Fortune is that you can check every online slot
to see its Payout Percentage. For the player, the payout percentage is all about the return to player (RTP) total = what you’re likely to win back from a particular game. So, statistically speaking, a game RTP of 96.4% means if you played the game forever, on average, you could expect to win 96.3¢ for every $1 you spend.
What does Volatility mean?
The term ‘volatility’ gives players an idea of game payouts: how often a particular casino game will pay out, and whether that payout will be large or small. A low-volatility slot will usually pay out low to mid-sized amounts fairly frequently. By contrast, a high-volatility slot will pay out larger winning amounts, but wins will be less often. High bets are essential if you want massive payouts. As a result, it’s experienced casino players who usually look for (high risk) high-volatility slots, while novices and casual players usually go for small bets on low-volatility slots with lots of smaller payouts.
What are re-spins and how do they affect my game?
When available, a re-spin is a useful feature for those near-miss gameplay opportunities. For example, if you spin a five-reel slot and come up with four out of five symbols needed for a winning payout, a re-spin feature lets you lock four reels in place then spin the remaining reel again in an attempt to complete your winning sequence. You must pay for any re-spin option.
What is the best feature of an online slot?
Opinions vary, but all players seem to love Wild symbols. Why? Because a wild can substitute for most other game symbols and so become a massive help towards securing a winning payline. Scatter icons too are always warmly welcomed because they usually count whenever and wherever they show up. Scatters usually trigger slot bonus features. The other feature which is a major cause of celebration is the Multiplier. Multipliers affect many winning combinations by increasing your winnings, 2x, 5x, 10x etc.
Should you use less or more pay lines and what does that mean?
A payline is a winning line, but only if you place a bet on it. So, for example, let’s suppose a game has 25 possible paylines, and you bet on 10 of those. When you spin the reels and get a winning combination, you won’t get paid unless it was one of the 10 winning combinations you had covered.