On this page, you'll find a comprehensive overview to answer the question, How Do Slot Machines Work? The original land-based slots machines that went onto to inspire a virtual gaming. Along with the gambling revolution in the form of the thousands of slots machines we all know and love. If you're new to the exciting world of slots machines this is the perfect place to start
We'll be touching on the history of slot machines. Showing you how do slot machines work. Taking an in-depth look at slot machine payouts and even debunking some slots machines myths.
So what exactly is a "Slot machine"? You must know this in order to know how do slot machines work. Well at its very basic form, a slot machine is simply a "one-armed bandit" type of machine. Where a player puts a coin in the slot and pulls the lever (or "arm"). Or in the modern era simply presses a "Spin" button to trigger reel spins. When the reels stop spinning the player may or may not win a prize depending on what particular symbols are showing.
Modern slots machines (also know as Pokies in Australia) can be found in casinos, bars etc all over the world. They're now a very well established and incredibly popular form of easy to play game. They make up a multi-billion dollar industry in their own right.
In order to help you understand how do slot machines work a little better. Let's take a look at the history of the slot machine. The history and development of slot machines is a fascinating subject in its own right. While we don't have space here to give you chapter and verse. It's well worth highlighting a few key moments.
Starting with what's considered to be the invention of the first of what we would recognize as the slot machine. When In 1887 Charles Fey built his "Liberty Slots" machine. Complete with 3 spinning reels and 5 game symbols (diamonds, hearts, horseshoes, spades and the Liberty Bell). Fey probably couldn't have predicted the impact his machine would have on the world. Nor could he have guessed that his inspired choice of symbols would stand the test of time and remain in use in today's games well over 100 years later!
Fun fact: The Liberty Bell was the first ever jackpot symbol. 3 of these in a row was the highest payout for Fey's Liberty Bell game. With a top jackpot of fifty cents!
Fey's gaming machine proved incredibly popular. Variants on the basic setup soon followed. Including the mighty Operator Bell machine and games that awarded Fruit flavored gums as prizes. A response to strict anti-gambling laws which were brought in response to the growing popularity of slots machines. That prevented cash prizes and in some regions. Including San Francisco, Nevada, and California where there were outright bans. So the fruit symbols we know today such as cherry and melon appeared on the slots. Joined by the famous BAR symbol which was based on the logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company.
In 1963 Bally Technologies Inc developed Money Honey which is considered the world's first "electromechanical slot machine". Instead of operating solely via mechanical components. Modern electrical components were used in the design of the machine. To give players something new and exciting. As well as to breathe new life into what was in the early 1960s something of a moribund & declining industry.
Across the United States, casinos were actually reluctant to remove older stock to make way for Bally's new machine. However, any initial reluctance soon fell away. As operators saw their takings per machine increase by as much as 400%. With the electro-mechanical slots and by 1968, Bally was producing 94% of all the slot machines sold in the state of Nevada alone!
The first video slot made its debut in the mid-1970s in the form of Walt Fraley's Fortune Coin game and while it looked impressive (by 1970s standards). Players were initially skeptical of such a game due to the simulated reels and random number generators. Everyone understood that such machines could be programmed to favor the house.
IGT (International Game Technology) purchased the rights to Fortune Coin and turned out the multiple pay-line version in 1980. It turned out to be a good move as IGT are still in the business of slots to this day. Helped no doubt by increased consumer interest in home computer and arcade games. The electronic type of slots machines rapidly went from strength and strength. Soon they came to dominate the sector leaving the older electro-mechanical style slot machines in the dust (quite literally in many cases!)
Enough of the history lesson lets move on to how do slot machines work.
Bonus Symbols are symbols with the specific task of triggering bonus features. When they are part of a winning payline. The look of Bonus Symbols varies from game to game.
So let's take a look at how do slot machines work. Typically players will play a slot machine game with 3 reels or 5 reels. Players insert coins, starting from one Penny or Cent. This is to determine how much to wager and then press the "Spin" button. Animation on the screen will show the reels (or actual reels will spin round in the case of older slots machines).
At the heart of every modern slot machine is the random number generator. Special software code that determines the outcome of your spins. The software that powers modern slots machines must meet strict legal and regulatory testing. To ensure fairness but, ultimately, the house always has the edge as they say.
Once the reels have stopped spinning. The games software will determine if and what the player has won. With wins usually accompanied by suitable sound FX and flashing lights or animations (in the case of video slots).
Different slots machines have different themes, prizes, symbols and features of course. In fact, there are thousands of variations of slot machines out there. With new games developed and released on a regular basis. Machines generally come in two types. Either a "Classic" slot with 3 reels or a more advanced and feature rich "Video" Slot with 5 reels.
Understanding the parts of a slot machine is fundamental to understanding how do slot machines work.
As you are no doubt aware. Today's slot machines come in both virtual (eg online browser-based games) and real-world land-based games. The likes of which you can find in casinos. In this section, we'll take a look at the common parts of both types of slots.
First up we have the reels which are obviously the most important part of any slot game! The reels are where you'll find the symbols for the games, of course. In modern virtual slot machines, the reels are "fake". Simply in that, you are seeing an animated simulation of real reels! Ultimately, in these games, a random number generator determines the nature of the finished spin. Typically you get to see 3 symbols per reel. So if you are playing a 5 reel game you would be able to see 15 symbols at any one time.
All slots games have a minimum of 3 reels while the vast majority of slots games nowadays have 5 reels. You can find a few games with 7 reels such as the WGS technology powered Farming Futures slot game (and we even have our own 7 reel slot game) and there are also games with 9 and 12 reels.
Next, up for how do slot machines work, we have the Paytable. Which is where you'll find all the key information about a slots machines payouts and rewards. At its very basic, such as on classic slots, a paytable simply provides an easy to understand table of winning symbol combinations. For example 3 cherries in a row with the winning credit amount next to it - very easy to understand.
As a slot machine become more complex, with more features and paylines, so inevitably does the paytable. But hopefully, the designers will have done their job properly. All the key information you need to understand the game will be available on easy to understand screens. In video slots machines you'll typically find a paytable screen that tells you about any special symbols. Such as scatters, wilds and multipliers, a screen that provides a detailed table of possible wins. Along with a screen that shows you all the possible paylines. For example, if you are playing a 25 payline game you will see 25 different colored grids.
It's important to have some basic knowledge of a slot machine game's unique paytable. Just so that you know what you're doing and also so that you can choose a slot game with the type of features you prefer. E.g. games with bonus rounds, free spins etc.
As a general rule, you should spin a slot machine in free play or demo mode. Check and get a quick overview of the game's paytable before investing real money on a slot. Although, we admit there are times when a slot machines theme or the discovery of a new slot machine tempts you to just "dive in" with a few real wagers and the hope that you'll be lucky!
Underneath the reels, you'll typically find all the key buttons you need to play your chosen slot machine. Recognizing and understanding these buttons is key to knowing how do slot machines work from a playability point of view. The buttons you'll find on slots tend to be:
1. The Spin Button: This needs no introduction! Pressing the spin button will kick off the action and set things in motion.
2. Paylines Button(s): You use the payline button(s) to determine how many paylines you wish to play. There will be either one payline button to let you cycle through the available possibilities or Plus and Minus buttons.
3. Coins or Bets Button(s): players use the Coins/Bets button to determine how many coins they wish to wager on the next spin.
4. Bet Max Button: This is a handy way to quickly bet the maximum number of counts and paylines. Be warned: the Bet Max button might save you time selecting paylines and coins, but repeated use of the Bet Max button is the quickest way to "eat up" all your available credit.
5. Auto Spins button: Some games have an auto spin button which lets you play a game without even having to press the spin button.
You can set up your wager (coins * paylines) then set how many spins you want to automatically happen. Some slots players prefer to use the Auto Spins button and then sit back and watch what happens. While other players prefer to press the spin button each time themselves. Psychologists would probably have something interesting to say about each type of player!
On the British pub fruity style games. You'll also find Hold buttons which let you lock a reel in place for one or more subsequent spins. Also, Nudge buttons which let players shift symbols up or down the reels. So for example, a player might be able to shift a cherry symbol down two places to create a winning payline. You can see these buttons and features in our very own exclusive Fruit Machine games.
Another important thing to know to understand how do slot machines work. Also, one reason that slot machines are incredibly popular, and can even be addictive. Is that the game developers/casinos have carefully calibrated their games. To ensure players experience some degree of good luck and success.
Slots machines have a payout rate which is typically set up between 82% to 98% of the money that is wagered by players. This is known as the "theoretical payout percentage" or RTP, "return to player". The minimum theoretical payout percentage varies among gambling jurisdictions.
At first glance, a slot machine that claims to pay out 98% might sound too good to true. However, you should be aware that, as always, the house always has the edge and this 98% covers all wagers. Not just your wagers! Across the expected lifespan of a machine. The casinos operate their machines on the theory that each machine will make only a small profit from most players. But because the numbers of players can be huge (over a decade, for example). The profits per machine can really stack up.
Obviously online virtual slots machines mean casinos in effect have an infinite number of slots taking up no floor space. Also, only require tiny amounts of data storage on a server. There is no longer the problem of slots machines breaking down and needing repair/replacing. Online casino operators don't even need to employ someone to clean them or empty the coins out of the machines!
Overall then, you shouldn't see a claim that a game has a payout rate of, say, 98% as a guarantee that you will win 98% of the spins that you play. If you only have money for four spins. It is quite possible and highly likely for you to spin all four times without winning.
It's easy to find so-called experts who are convinced they know all there is to know about slots machines and how to beat them. Also including how do slot machines work. But the truth is, slots machines are simply a game of chance. They should always be viewed as games of fun in which you might just get lucky one day. Approaching a slot with the conviction you're definitely going to win. Or with the belief that you're an expert player with the brains to beat the system. Isn't actually going to tip the odds in your favor!
Of course, slots machines do actually pay out. Many players have been lucky to win life-changing sums of cash. By triggering progressive jackpots or hitting rare features. Such as getting huge numbers of free spins. However, don't forget that these lucky players are the exception!
Slots machines are bound by law to pay out. If a slot machine never paid out it'd be a con. The developers of slots will let you know how much a slot machine pays out.
Ultimately you must never forget that all legal and genuine slot machine games are built around true Random Number Generators. - there are no patterns nor favorable or unfavorable times to play. Although if you're thinking of playing progressive jackpots. It makes sense to look for a game with a big jackpot that has been building for months.
Now you're fully up to speed with slots and know the answer to the question How Do Slot Machines Work. Why not check out our very own selection of slots machines, and get spinning? We've got every base covered with multi-payline slots, 3 reel slots, 3D slots, bonus slots, Mobile slots machines, and many more free slots machines.An exclusive and expanding collection of slots that you won't find anywhere else and all free to play too!