Slots have been a very popular form of gambling through history. The seeds were sown for the success of slots all the way back in the 19th century. The very first slots machines fascinated the public and even when gambling bans came into force, these machines were not forgotten.
Strangely enough, free slot spins machines still operated during gambling bans but the major difference was that the symbols were changed and the prizes no longer came in the form of cash. Instead, fruits filled the reels and sweets were dispensed as prizes. Fruit symbols remained on the reels once gambling bans were lifted and even today, fruits are major symbols on virtual video slots.
Virtual Video Slots: The Beginning
The digital revolution started in the 1990s and continues to this very day. This is because the potential remains limitless as to what can be achieved with such technology. The gambling industry took its first steps into the digital world in 1996 and Microgaming made this possible. They designed the first online casino software that was used by the very first internet casino.
Virtual video slots were not heard of back then, until the first one, also introduced in 1996 called Reel Em, landed online. This was the first slot game to take players to a second screen for the bonus round. This proved a big hit with punters and created huge demand for slots by both gamblers and online casino establishments alike.
Now we have hundreds of slots focused casinos containing a vast library of games to play. The focus on slots at online casinos is influenced by the brand itself and by the punters. Casinos want slots because they give the house an edge and are extremely profitable. Punters want them because they offer excitement and are very easy to play.
Apart from the entertainment factor, what really fueled the popularity of online slots was the availability. These games were made accessible to play in people’s homes and this was far more appealing than having to visit a land-based casino or betting shop. The games were available 24/7 as well. All this is still the case today and when you factor in the introduction of mobile gaming a few years ago, then it is clear to see why slots have become the gambling juggernaut that they are today. They literally can be played anytime and anywhere. Last year £2 billion in revenue was attributed to online slots alone, but will they become victims of their own success?
With so many people playing slots regularly, it comes as no surprise to discover that gambling addiction has increased to and this has caused governments to act. Here in the UK fixed odds betting terminals had their max bets slashed by the government from £200 to £2. Then came the ban on gambling with credit cards that came into force in April 2020. If the government chooses to slash the maximum bets allowed on online slots, then a lot of revenue will be lost and growth could be finally halted.