Introduction to Online Slots
While online casinos can generally provide higher odds and payback percentages compared to land-bound casinos, the nature of play for the casino games, such as online slots, is relatively the same. Online slot machines and online poker are two of the most popular games, as the rules for play for these games are universally known or can be learned quickly. These are also the staple games for all casinos, whether these casinos are land-based or online.
The term “slot machine” originates from a mechanical feature on the machine, “the slot,” designed to insert and retrieve coins. Some online slots are called “Fruit Machines,” based on standard fruit images appearing on the spinning reels, such as strawberries, lemons, apples, and cherries.
History Leading to Online Slots and Description
The basic slot machine is generally found in most casinos and can be best described as a machine with at least three reels (sometimes more) that spin once a button is pressed, or a lever on the side is pulled. Slot machines with levers are also known as “one-armed bandits.” In online slot machine games, the spinning cycle is initiated by pressing the “Enter” key or a designated button with the mouse or other feature based on the player’s device. Slot machines are still the most popular online and land-bound games.
In the United States, Charles Fey of San Francisco, California built the first functioning slot machine in 1895. Fey designed a slot machine with three (3) spinning reels containing five symbols: a Liberty Bell, horseshoes, spades, diamonds, and hearts. His first machine was called the Liberty Bell, based on this symbol.
Three bells spun in a row would produce the most significant payoff, ten (10) nickels ( or 50¢) at the time. Fey’s Liberty Bell slot machine was a major success and initiated a prosperous mechanical slot machine and game device industry. After many copies and editions of the original slot machine, newer versions, such as the machine known as the “trade stimulator,” issued winnings as various fruit-flavored bubbles or chewing gums.
Pictures of the various gum flavors were depicted as symbols on the online slots reels. The popular symbols of cherry, as well as melon, were derived from this slot machine. The well-known “BAR” symbol, which is commonly known in many slot machines, originated from the early logo design of the “Bell-Fruit Gum Company.”
Mechanical to Electronic
The mechanical slot machine soon gave way to a more advanced electronic slot machine that did not require a lever. As a result, the electronic machine included more probability of winning and more games for the player to wage. Instead of a leaver, the player only needs to press a button to initiate payment. In addition, the new machines no longer required a slot for a coin or a token.
While some machines can still take tokens, many are now capable of taking programmed tickets and program cards with credit for the play. The natural progression was the transition to online gaming. However, regardless of whether the game is a land-based or an online slots casino game, the nature remains the same. The game of slots does not necessarily involve skill on behalf of the player. Slots simply create the illusion of allowing a skill set, but at its core, the game of slots is merely a “game of chance.”
The goal is simple. Players desire to win money or payouts from the machine or online slots game. The game of slots may be varied, but at its core, it still involves matching symbols on either a set of mechanical reels which, when spun and stopped, reveal one or more symbols, whether the machine is mechanical or a video screen.
Multiway Online Slots and Their Symbols
On multiway online slots, like those at Zodiac Casino, players can play the full position of each slot reel as opposed to fixed lines or set patterns. For example, if a player desires to play one reel for a 243-way game, the player will receive three symbols on the first reel. This could payout in the three positions, as the other reels pay only in the center. Unused areas are darkened. On the other hand, if the player desires to play five reels, symbols may appear in any position in the window.
The player can be paid as long as a symbol appears in each reel. Many of the online slots games normally require the slot symbols to appear in a left-to-right manner, including, sometimes, scatters. Scatter online slots symbols still pay out the same amount as the regular games. This allows the player to multiply their pay amount by calculating the total initial bet and the total amount of methods or reels that can be played. Additional multiway slot games provide players even additional play styles by using various patterns.
Players refer to these games as “Xtra Reel Power” and “Super Reel Power” slot games. These games use a “4×5” or “5×5” pattern, providing as many as five symbols in each slot reel. This allows for a player to win as many as 1,024 and 3,125 respective ways. These types of online slots games can cost more to play than the 243-way slot Reel games.
Australian Gaming and Online Slots (Pokies)
The Australian laws regulating gaming machines’ use are left to the State governments. Each state government has varying provisions regarding such regulations. Most state laws currently deal with land-bound casino games, including slot machines and pokie games.
In Australia, most gaming machines can be found in casinos that dot every major city, pubs, or some social clubs. At one point, nearly 21% of all the gaming machines globally were being operated in Australia. This resulted in Australia having about five times as many gaming machines per capita as the number of gaming machines in the United States.
The main reason for this disproportionate number is that gaming machines in South Wales have been legally authorized since 1956. The revenue from land-based gaming machines from just pubs and clubs accounts for over half of the $4 billion from gaming revenue collected by Australian state governments in just one fiscal year. The amount of revenue generated from online casino gaming is hard to measure. The Australian state governments have no effective means to track that revenue unless a resident voluntarily reports it within that state.
In Western Australia, the rules on the types of gaming devices are very restrictive. WA permits very particular types of gaming machines. All are found in the Burswood casino. Gaming machines are prohibited anywhere else in WA. In 1974, the Royal Commission into Gambling found that casino gambling of any type was against the public interest and should be severely restricted. This is the most restrictive policy in the country of Australia.
Terminology for Online Slots and Land-Based Slots
Action: This is the general reference for slot-related activity, including coin and credit play and gains and losses.
Bank: A group or set of slot machines (aka “carousel of machines”), which are linked together for play and are also tied to a single jackpot payout.
Basic Slots: Games that provide constant top jackpot payouts and a single payline, which means one line displayed on the glass on the machine front.
Bet Max: A bet that maximizes the coins or credit for each play or spin. A better payout occurs when a maximum bet is placed.
Bonus Added Slots: These are additional mini-games a player can play, including five reels, multiple spins, multiple lines, wild symbols, bonus games, scatter pay, various multiplier games, and nudge hold games.
Slots Bonus Video Slots: These slot machines are also referenced as ‘branded slot machines’, ‘entertainment slot content’ and ‘interactive’ machines. Bonus slot games provide a ‘second chance’ play, including a bonus round and multiple pay lines.
Call Attendant: A player’s slot pay line has lined up in a winning manner, and the win is associated with the sounds of bells, sirens, and clapping.
Carousel: a group, series, or designated bank of slots.
Coin in/Coin out: coins in is the amount wagered. Coins out are winnings paid by the machine. These numbers provide the machine’s or game’s payout percentage.
Collect: The amount of cash or credits a player has won following a slot play session.
Comps: These are “freebies” that are awarded to players and take the form of cash, credit, or points accumulated based on nature and volume of play.
Denomination: The monetary value or monetary denomination options established by the slot machine played.
Free Spin(s): A bonus feature on several slot machines to induce further play.
Fruit machines: A reference to slot machines and online slots games in the UK based on the fruit symbols on the reels.
Games per hour: The maximum number of games a player can play per hour. About 500 games per hour are the average for a regular player. More addictive players can play more games.
Hit Frequency: This is the average amount of hits or payouts a player playing slot machines gets. For the player, the lower the number, the lower the player’s hit frequency. This is what the player wants. For example, a “2” indicates a hit at every second spin, compared to a 9, which indicates a hit at every 9th win. The house will prefer the higher payout, and the player will desire the lower hit frequency.
Instant Winner: A slot payout done in a single payout instead of installments.
Maximum Coins Bet: The number of coins a player wagers for each spin. In most games, a maximum coin wager is critical for the qualification of top jackpots.
Multi-denomination: These slot machines offer several coin options in the same machine.
Multiplier: A bonus slot machine feature in which the winning credits are multiplied on top of the initial win.
One Armed Bandit: A slang term for slot machines.
Onesies: A slot machine player who only plays one coin at a time. While prudent, this type of play rarely qualifies the player for jackpot payouts.
Payback Percentage: The percentage calculated for each dollar for a designated slot machine that is returned to the player over a longer course of play.
Payline: The alignment of a slot machine’s reel position, in which the symbols’ alignment determines the payout results.
Payout: The number of credits converted to cash payout for a player’s winning combination.
Pokies: The Australia and New Zealand reference for online slots and fruit slot machine games.
Primary Jackpot: The top prize or jackpot is provided when a player successfully hits a slot machine’s specific combination.
Reel Stop: This is a game feature that lets the player stop the reels of a spinning slot.
Reels: The total number of reels or wheels displayed in a slot machine’s window and imprinted with symbols specific to that particular slot machine theme or game.
RNG or Random Number Generator: Computer program that generates a series of numbers randomly. The RNG program then sequences through a specified series of numbers to determine the result once the player initiates the game.
Scatter Pays: These pays are specific slot symbols for the game which pay out even if the slot symbols are not displayed or shown on the same slot machine pay line. The scatter slot machine game plays are designed to only pay a player on the designated line but only after that line has been made active by the player’s bet.
Second Screen Bonus: These bonuses are mini-slot games for both online as well as land-based games, which display a second video screen really as a bonus round but only after the player has hit a specified combination and the minimum amount of coin has been played.
Short Win: This is when a big jackpot is won or hit with only a minimal cash investment.
Slant Top: Slot machines are on a lower level and slanted upwards. These types of machines are more suited for seated play.
Slot Club Member: A player who signs up for a package of incentives for online slots. A casino provides the player with compensation points and other free offerings from a casino gaming group.
Online Slot Schedule: This is the information that is posted on the front of a slot machine that describes the type of slot machine game It includes the monetary denomination, and the required symbol combination needed to win set amounts based on each coin(s) played.
Slot Testing: This is a term used to reference when a player plays through a preset amount of funds.
Online Slots Types: These are the various types of games available for slot machine play. These games include four primary slot games: Basic, Bonus Slots, Progressive, and Multi-Player.
Spin: This is the action of the reel following the initiation of play after a wager has been placed.
Stand Up: These are taller machines that are played while standing.
Symbols: Slot game symbols along with the more traditional cherries, lemons, and 7’s, which are found on slot gaming machines for both land-based casinos as online.
Take/Pay Cycle: Theory that most slot machines will have to pay out if only enough money is consistently wagered. This “Take/Pay Cycle” is observed in practice in progressive games which have built up jackpots. More professional players monitor certain slot machines’ play cycles and try to gauge whether the machine is “ripe” or “It’s Ready to Hit.”
Tilt: This indicates a malfunction with the slot machine.
TITO: This means “Ticket In, Ticket Out.” It is a system that produces an encoded ticket receipt. That can be converted to cash or a specified denomination. These encoded tickets can then be inserted into a different TITO slot machine.
Total Bet: The total number of lines or reels activated for an individual slot game.
Virtual Reel Technology: This is the computerized feature of a reel result that utilizes a computer system called the “Telnas.” This system randomly assigns a specific series of varied numbers within the program to a specified combination of slot reel symbols. This increases the wider universe of numbers in which a slot game result is chosen by the RNG.
Wager Management: Money management employed by a player to control the rate of placing wagers from their established bankroll.
Wide Area Progressives or WAP: Slot games linked through more than one casino, pub, region, or country. The jackpot amount is larger and displayed as the same amount regardless of the machine’s location.
Winner Annuity: For large jackpots, normally more than $500,000, the payout is in several installments over years. Sometimes, the player will have the option for a single payment at a reduced amount.
X: This symbol denotes the amount of the multiplier for the payout for the winning combinations. Example 5x, 6x, 15x, etc.