Video slots are the slot machines you will find in all modern land-based and online casinos. In the past, slot machines were huge cabinets with intricate mechanical workings within. The player was able to see a number of reels with symbols and had a large lever that they would pull to set the reels in motion. The mechanical workings would stop the reels at random times to display the winning patterns. These are now known as mechanical slots.

With modern technology these slot machines have moved into the computerised and digital format. Now we graphical representation of the symbols on a screen and software programs instead of mechanical workings. These screens display the reels in a video format hence the term video slots.

Video slots have taken the simple mechanics of watching a spinning reel and turned them into a multi-sensory experience, making slot machines more interactive and fun to play, leading to video slots becoming one of the most popular attractions at modern casinos.

How do video slots work?

The principle behind video slots is the exact same as that of the original one-armed bandit from the 1800’s.

A mechanism is engaged to spin a set of reels. The old mechanism was a lever on the side of the machine, nowadays we use buttons to trigger the reels.

Different machines have a different number of reels, the most common being 3-reel and 5-reel machines.

The reels themselves have a number of symbols on them. These symbols change with each theme and can include treasure chests, playing cards, fruit, images of characters and much, much more. Interesting note: the original one-armed bandit was also called a fruit machine because the symbols were fruits like cherries and bananas. Interesting note two: they were printed with fruit symbols to represent the flavours of chewing gum that you could ‘win’. This was because gambling was illegal so the winners would get chewing gum which they could ‘sell back’ to the fruit machine owner.

The spinning reels stop at random places. In modern video slots this is controlled by a random number generator or RNG. This software program uses advanced mathematics and data analysis to ensure there is no bias on the machines.

Once the reels have stopped, the symbols line up to a pre-set pay line. If your symbols match the pay line you win.

Old 3-reel machines had one central pay line. Modern video slots have multiple pay lines that are activated depending on how much you are wagering. A max bet will activate all the pay lines. These pay lines can take the form of various geometric shapes to calculate your winnings – from a straight line to a diagonal to a zig zag to a diamond.

With number of pay lines available on video slots, the software program automatically works out your winnings.

Are video slots better?

In many ways. Mechanical slots, by their very nature, are quite large machines and take up a lot of floor space in land-based casinos. They also, obviously, are impossible to play from home over the internet!

Video slots allow casinos to put more slots on the floor for players to enjoy. The digital nature of video slots is one of the driving factors that have made online casinos so popular. While land-based casinos have limited floor space for the physical slots cabinets, the internet has no such limitations. Online casinos have literally thousands of different video slots games with different themes and different bonus games.

In addition, modern video slots technology enables the software developers and casinos to link games and machines across the world to create a progressive slots network that gives players the chance to win immense jackpot prizes.

Video slots make the slots gaming experience more interactive, more fun, more profitable (for players and casinos) and more varied – a better experience overall.

Where are the best online video slots?

Video slots are the backbone of the online casino industry and are offered by every serious online casino.