Slots Online Casino Overview - Maxing Out on All the Lines

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It's impossible to imagine a casino without slot machines. They far and away take up the most casino floor space, creating the overall soundtrack to land-based casino fun. They're also a huge draw online. And it's easy to understand why: they're just plain simple and fun. No steep terminology learning curves, and little reason to agonize over betting options. At most, simply select the number of lines in play and the stakes you desire, and spin the reels. It's as easy as seven.. Seven…… SEVEN!

In 1887 (some say 1895), Charles Fey of San Francisco, California, US created the first slot machine that we'd recognize as such today. Called the Liberty Bell, it presented five symbols across three reels, complete with a mechanism for automatic payouts. While a few long-standing additions like the cherry and BAR symbols appeared in copycat machines over many decades, the timeline of significant innovation in slot machine technology unfolded as follows:

  • 1963: Bally creates a slot machine based on electromechanical principles
  • 1976: A team led by Future Coin Co. creates the first video slot machine
  • 1978: International Gaming Technology (IGT) purchases Future Coin Co.
  • 1997: The first video slot machine with bonus rounds appears in Australia
  • 1996: WMS Industries creates the first American video slot machine with bonus rounds

Today, slots run the gamut from traditional three-reel, single-line machines to extremely sophisticated multi-line games with intricate and entertaining bonus rounds. Linkage between games sometimes separated by great distances feed huge progressive jackpots. Entertainment franchises often license their images, graphics, and music to themed slots, bringing a pleasing touch of familiarity to players. Online casinos make it possible to tap into all this fun without so much as getting up from one's comfortable living room recliner. What a wonderful world we live in!

Slots are known by many names that are often locality dependent. The more common include:

  • One-armed bandit (Many locales. Remember that adorable lever?)
  • Poker machine or "pokie" (Australian and New Zealander)
  • Fruit machine (British)
  • Puggy (Scottish)
  • Slot machine (American)

Call them what you like, they're tremendously engaging and fun!

Did you know?

The most important characteristic of any slot is Payout Percentage, sometimes called its "Return To Player" (RTP). The RTP gives players an idea how much they can expect to receive in return for what they put in. Regulated gambling jurisdictions usually demand that casinos operate slots with a minimum payout percentage. Common percentages tend to range between 82% and 98%.

While an obvious difference between slots is whether they display outcomes with mechanical reels versus pure video displays, a more useful point of distinction is from the point of view of whether or not they're straight slots or progressive slots.

Straight slots have built-in, fixed payouts for outcomes, even across different levels of stakes. No matter how long you play a straight slot, its payout for three triple bars or any other winning set of symbols at a given stake of credits remains the same. They list their payout schedule right on the game so players can know what they should be rooting for during game play.

Progressive slots, on the other hand, are perpetually adding a portion of money put into the game to a jackpot associated with the most difficult game outcome. Linked progressive games feeding a shared jackpot can push that progressive win to astronomical heights.

Differences like these and the mind-boggling variety of games available these days present a veritable "like the stars of the sky" proposition to today's slot enthusiasts. And you've come to the right place to split hairs over all the minutiae. Treat yourself to our extensive information on today's wide world of slots - from detailed history, to game varieties, to why some game denominations and stake levels are better than others, to strategies that will maximize your entertainment and winning potential. If you love slots, you're going to love our insightful and helpful treatment of everything slots!

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