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The Evolution of Online Slots Games This Millennium

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A standard slot machine layout features a screen displaying 3-5 reels that spin when the player starts the game. In land-based casinos this is usually a slot button or traditionally, a one-arm bandit. On touchscreen devices it is simply the case of tapping a button.

Slots have vastly improved over the years, particularly when it comes to the online variety. Less than 20 years ago online casinos were few and far between, whilst the graphics and sound effects back then seem far outdated compared to today’s standards.

The first online casino was released back in 1994 following the Free Trade & Processing Act in the West Indies island Antigua and Barbuda.

By the end of the 1990s, online gambling had gained popularity with revenues exceeding $1 billion and more than enough websites available. Back in the year 2000 this was not the case. Smartphones did not exist, and you were lucky if your mobile phone could play Snake, that’s long before the days of being able to connect to the internet from them.

Today, they are more accessible than ever – from your desktop PC, to your tablet or your smartphone. You can now play slots online on mobile casino apps like Winkslots app, from anywhere provided you have a reliable WiFi connection or 4G. Digital technology has led to many variations on the original concept.

Historically, slot machines were five reels, but most games today are simpler and more reliable using three reels instead. This does mean it’s much harder for the player to win the jackpot though, as the likelihood of winning is now only 0.1%. 

In recent years, the Return Player (RTP) of online slot games have been published. This is the payout frequencies of the machines, with a certain fraction of the money going to the operator of the machine, otherwise known as the house. To make it as easy as possible to explain, if each spin on the slot machine in question was £1 and the RTP 95%, then over a long period of time, the machine will return an average of £95,000 for every £100,000 inserted. Therefore, the slot game has a 95% payout.

Online slot games and casinos are legal in most countries, but not all. Either way, the days of the one-arm bandit are long behind us.

Though the slot games we play online today are similar to those found in bars and land-based casinos in the 1970s. Whether you’re playing on your desktop computer or smartphone, you’ll be welcomed by state-of-the-art graphics and sounds. These are ever improving, just as the features and bonuses are. And unlike games that require constant hardware upgrades, you don’t need to shell out money just so your laptop or phone can play the new version of a game.

There are a wide variety of slot games, players have an endless list of themes to choose between. The most popular names include Rainbow Riches, Starburst and Cleopatra. Bonus features are popular among players, offering free spins and opportunities to win more cash prizes.

The thrill and excitement these games give players continue to see their popularity grow online. Being able to play them from your own saves the hassle of going to a land-based casino too. They are also easy-to-play, compared to poker or baccarat for example. Whilst real money games can be played for as low as 10p a spin, make them affordable for most, whilst most online casinos also offer their games for free too. 


The online gambling industry is now worth more than $50 billion worldwide, with slot games making up a big portion of this. They are usually the most popular game in a brick-and-mortar casino. As of September 2019, the gambling industry is worth £14.3 billion alone in Great Britain with nearly 100,000 employees. Online casinos and sportsbooks make up a large proportion of this.