The growth of the online gaming industry in the 21st century has been nothing short of a phenomenon. By 2020, the total market for online poker, casino, sports books, lotteries, and slots was approximately $53 billion.
By 2021, this figure had grown to $58 billion and is predicted to almost treble within the next ten years. As one of the most popular forms of online gaming, slots are a huge part of this rise in popularity.
Today, online slots can be accessed by adults in almost every nation and more than a billion people play regularly. High-quality providers such as Virgin Games have made it more accessible and entertaining to play online slots than ever before.
But, what if you aren’t one of the millions of people already playing online slots in your country every day? Trying anything new can seem difficult to navigate at first, so here is a basic guide to getting started.
Let’s begin with what online slots are, and how they work.
While some modern games can appear more complex, most slot games consist of reels, symbols, win lines, and jackpots. These elements are then combined with a random number generator and “spun” to create winning or losing sequences.
Though the online world has no limits, classic slots usually feature between three and five reels arranged side-by-side. These cylindrical reals are covered in symbols and spun independently on an axle to display different combinations after each turn.
Traditionally, the symbols used are fruits, hence the alternative “fruit machine” name often used for slots by older players. In reality, the symbols can be anything, so long as each reel contains the same set.
When reels are spun, they eventually settle to display slots in horizontal lines across the pay window, or “win line”. It is how the symbols line up within this window which dictates the outcome of the game.
- Win lines
In its most basic form, a win line is the central row of symbols displayed on a slot machine. If these symbols match, the player has won and receives a stated payout depending on the specific symbols.
In more advanced games, what constitutes a “win line” can be more complex, but the basic premise remains the same.
Jackpots are the other way to win with online slots, and where the possibility of big money comes in. Jackpots pay out far less often and require very specific criteria, often built up over multiple spins.
How each slot game’s jackpot works will be slightly different and the amount can also change throughout each playing session. Progressive and daily jackpots can grow to huge sizes before paying out to one player at a randomly selected time.
Those are the basic elements, but what else do you need to know before playing for the first time? We’ve compiled a list of basic tips to help make your first experience of online slots as seamless as possible.
- Choose your game
With the vast range and diversity of online slot games available, choosing which game is often the most overwhelming task. First, select a trusted provider, perhaps one recommended by friends, a high-profile brand name, or one well-reviewed by independent sites.
Next, consider the cost per spin and potential payout, both of which should be made easily available by the platform. Are you playing for maximum duration at minimal cost, or do you prefer higher risk and higher reward?
It might be sensible to stick to simpler, low stake games until you begin to feel comfortable with the format. Once you’re more experienced, you won’t be short of options for more complex games, bigger jackpots, or exciting new themes.
- Free plays and incentives
Gaming platforms are constantly offering incentives and bonuses for new players, and you can take advantage of that. Free play trials, for instance, allow you to practise a game and get used to how it works without risk.
Other incentives include deposit matches which can double, or even triple, the amount of your first cash deposit. These are attractive, but always read the terms and conditions, as some may require reinvestment before winnings can be withdrawn.
- Keep it safe
Playing slot games is a great chance to win a little money but, most importantly, they are forms of entertainment. Always ensure the website is secure by looking for safety features such as a padlock symbol in the address bar.
It’s also important to make sure you practise safe play, such as not playing tired and taking regular breaks. Set a budget and stop when you reach it and always walk away if the experience stops being fun.
- Help is available
A final thing to know about online slots is help is always available if you need it. Reputable providers will always provide FAQs, full game information, and easily accessed customer support teams by phone or online chat.
If you have a question, ask it. If you can’t find the answer, stop playing until you do.
With this basic guide, it should be easy to start playing online slots. Once you’re underway, you’ll quickly see why these games have become so popular around the world in recent years.
More tutorials and specific game guides will also be available on your chosen platform. So, why not log on today and see what all the fuss is about?