Well, that’s the pithy answer that many would give as to whether or not there’s much point in playing online slots – or slots of any sort. After all, in terms of house advantage, in terms of odds (of a big payout, anyway) and in terms of pure fun factor, other online and real-world casino games have the easy upper hand over any kind of slot game. They just do.
And yet, online slots is a gigantic, multi-billion-dollar industry and its brick-and-mortar counterpart is the lifeblood of any casino. So why, exactly, do online slots continue to flourish, despite their skeptics, and why might they still be worth spending your hard-earned money on?
Slots may have a substantial house advantage, but they also tend to have a high chance of paying something back to eager players. This is known as RTP and it simply means that players usually get some sort of money back from hitting a slot machine. Volatile machines, though, can take quite a lot of time and patience for them to start paying out.
Online slots are also a far better option than real-world slots as they have higher levels of RTP and good online slot developers will have the FTP, volatility and other such statistics available to the public so you can choose your machine as wisely as possible.
Hitting the Jackpot
Hitting the higher level jackpots is a long shot by its very nature (high payout always equals low chances in any gambling game) but it does have the enticing factor of winning very big after just a single spin. Players shouldn’t come to this with blinkers on their eyes – it’s a small chance of winning big on any kind of slot machine – but as long as they understand how stacked the odds are against them, there is something thrilling about the chance to win loads of cash on just a short spin of the (virtual) wheel.
This is by far the biggest reason why slots, despite their monotonous and simplistic nature, still draw in such big crowds. Games like poker or blackjack don’t really offer this sort of once-in-a-million, super-paying longshot, requiring players to make their money incrementally.
Zero Skill Required
Many may see this as a distinct disadvantage, but people who simply want to chuck some coins into the pokie in the hope of winning big don’t have much interest in the skill and smarts it takes to win a game of poker. The bright colors and vibrant sounds keep them coming back for more (there’s something decidedly pavlovian about the “ka-ching” of the slot machine) but slots are arguably the best way to get all the thrills of gambling with literally none of the skills.
And, to be clear, slots are pure chance. There is no way to use skill to win aside for knowing your own limits and how to stop when you’ve reached them.
Unlike games like poker, blackjack or even roulette that require relatively substantial opening bets just to play, the humble slot machine isn’t also known as the dime machine for nothing. Each online machine will require different deposits, but while, for example, $100 will get you a hand or two of poker, it can get you an hour in front of a slot machine.
You can still lose very, very big even on slot machines and responsible gambling is still an absolute must, but because they are so cheap, both online and real-world slots can provide hours of playtime for very little investment.
Keep it Online
Despite the fact that both real-world and online slots work off random number generators (at least, digitized slot machines – old mechanical ones are a very different story) so the odds should be identical, but online slots are known for paying out both more often and in much higher numbers than their real-world counterparts.
This makes sense because while brick-and-mortar casinos can control the kinds of slot machines they make available, the online space has no such powers. Every possible online slot machine competes with every other online slot machine that can be found on the world wide web so it is entirely in their interest to offer the best chances and the best prizes to customers.
A much larger user base also means that online machines can offer payouts that brick-and-mortar versions simply cannot.
Slots aren’t for everyone but they clearly have a huge fan base and if you happen to be part of that fanbase, online slots offer real incentives to players that slot machines at real-life casinos simply can’t and don’t come close to matching.