Person playing a slot machine

How Have Online Slots Evolved Over The Years?

Online slots have been around pretty much since information technology was advanced enough to support them. Playing slots has always been one of the most popular gambling games out there. There’s a reason why casinos are filled with them, after all. So it’s hardly surprising that when computers and mobile devices were advanced enough and the internet was fast enough, online slot games would be developed for gamblers to play from home. Needless to say, these online games would become incredibly popular almost immediately and would only grow in popularity as time went on. 

But, of course, they have changed quite a bit for online slots in the decades since they first appeared on the scene. What follows is a quick overview of how they evolved.

Stage 0: Pre-Internet

Online slots didn’t just appear out of nowhere and they had a precursor in the form of real-world video slots. Unlike the old mechanical slot machines, these sorts of machines that came out as early as the late 1980s, replaced the spinning wheels with computer screens that made the whole act of “spinning the wheel” completely computerized.

Stage 1: The first online video slot games arrive.

In the late 90s, early 2000s, PCs became good enough to handle games with relatively advanced graphics and internet speeds were slowly shifting towards broadband as dial-up was slowly but surely replaced with DSL, wireless and fiber optic internet. These early games were mostly identical to the video slot games you might find at your local casino and were limited in terms of payment options.

Close up on a slot machine

Stage 2: The online gambling boom.

Despite early hurdles, online slot games became very popular very quickly, right alongside other online gambling games like online poker and roulette. This explosion of online gambling meant that software development companies like Microgaming were established to deal specifically with creating online poker and online slot machines. Graphics started improving and games started offering extras like mini-games and with more people playing them, online casinos were set up and started offering all sorts of bonuses and incentives to draw players to their games. With more people “investing” in them, the bonuses, especially progressive bonuses started becoming more lucrative.

Stage 3: Advances in online finances.

The popularity of online casinos and online slots skyrocketed as the options available for safely and securely transacting online expanded. Online banking took several leaps forward even as e-wallets and services like Payoneer and Paypal started to take off. Credit card security online improved with better and better encryption and banking fees for online transactions started to plummet. Online casinos adopted as many of these new finance technologies as possible with any decent online casino today offering literal dozens of pay-in and pay-out options. 

Person winning jackpot on a slot machine

Stage 4: Smartphones, tablets and mobile gaming

The biggest and most substantial change to online slots since their earliest inception happened with the advent of the iPhone and the wave of smartphones that followed and again with the advent of the iPad and other tablets. Online gamblers were no longer limited to playing their favorite games on their PCs or even their laptops, but could now instead just reach into their pocket and play a few rounds on their phones. If online slot games were already popular, mobile slots took that popularity and multiplied it a thousand fold. 

Stage 5: The Future

It’s hard to say precisely where online slots will go in the future but it’s not too hard to predict that they will continue their ceaseless rise in popularity and will make use of whatever advancements are made in digital technology. Already, Bitcoin has become a favored payment option at online casinos and more and more of them are starting to offer VR options, but no doubt each year, the experience will only improve for online gamblers.

Play online


More from our blog