Slot machine technology has progressed rapidly in recent years, helping the industry become one of the biggest success stories of the 21st century.
Their current success is a far cry from how things started out in the 1890s when the first mechanical slot machine was invented by Charles Fey.
The Liberty Bell featured just three reels, five symbols and a 50 cents jackpot – a far cry from the wondrous creations that dominate the slots landscape today.
With additional features, bonus levels and the chance to win millions of dollars if you hit the right combinations, modern online fruit machine games are hugely immersive affairs.
The base game now operates as a starter for the main course – those all-important bonus game levels where the biggest jackpots are up for grabs.
For many players the gameplay journey through the mini-games provides them with just as much pleasure as actually scooping the top cash prize.
This has created a scenario where the lines between slots games and other forms of gaming have become increasingly blurred.
Advancements in technology have helped the slots industry become big business from three main playing platforms – traditional casinos, websites and mobile apps.
Read on as we look at each one and assess which one offers the best experience.
The attraction of traditional slots
For many people, there is still no better way to play slot machines than heading into their local town or city and visiting a brick-and-mortar casino venue.
Destinations such as Monte Carlo and La Vegas have a reputation for glitz and glamour that cannot be replicated within a digital environment.
Playing slot machines in this environment is an exhilarating experience – the lights and sounds of the casino combine with the games to get your blood pumping.
The social element of playing slots in land-based venues also factors into their popularity as you can meet up with friends or family to enjoy a superb night out together.
While playing slots online or via a mobile device is a more solitary activity, there are still plenty of reasons why many players prefer to head down this route.
Online slots offer added convenience
As we have established, playing slots games in a traditional casino is great fun. However, the travelling and associated costs involved are not to everyone’s liking.
Online slots provide a convenient alternative to this issue – all you need to access the games is a suitable digital device and a stable Wi-Fi connection.
If you want to play on the beach while on holiday, you can do. If you fancy a Sunday afternoon slots session in bed in your nightwear, you can do.
While the opening hours in online casinos limit the times you can actually visit, there are no such restrictions online. Just visit the website, login and start playing slots.
This 24/7/365 level of convenience goes a long way to explaining why so many players prefer playing online slots over their traditional counterparts.
Mobile slots take things to another level
The past few years have witnessed a significant shift in how the internet is accessed, with mobile devices becoming the go-to device for millions of people worldwide.
It is estimated that people spend an average of four hours per day on their smartphones and this figure has been forecast to increase in the future.
Casino operators have been quick to react to this shift in consumer habits by fully optimising their websites to work seamlessly on mobile devices.
Other have gone the extra mile by developing standalone apps, thus ensuring that players can access their favourite slots games in just a couple of clicks.
With many slots developers taking a mobile first to their new game creations, apps could eventually replace websites as the main way to play online.
Traditional vs website vs mobile apps
Accessibility and convenience are not the only factors to consider when comparing traditional slots to online slots and mobile slots.
The greater selection of games available online is another key driver for their success, with floor-space restrictions not factoring into the equation.
There are thousands of different slots games available online, each of which has their own unique game theme.
Another factor that online and app-based slots have over traditional slots is affordability, with online casinos more flexible in the stake limits they set.
It is also feasible to play slots online for free, with the best operators offering demo versions of their games that you can test out before depositing real money.
Your chances of winning are also greater on online slots and mobile apps, with the return to player (RTP) rate generally much higher than you would find in a traditional casino.
Land-based casino venues have far greater overheads to cover, meaning they rarely offer an RTP of more than 95% RTP on their slots games.
By contrast, it is not unusual to see an RTP rate in excess of 99% online – a figure that significantly improves your chances of making a profit from playing slots games.