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Just think about the word “casino” and it’s impossible not to imagine the flashy lights of the slot machines and hear the sharp ringing beckoning sparkling wins down the pipe. That’s the heart of every brick-and-mortar casino – but also past, present, and future of iGaming as we know it today. The classic fruit machines of the old have evolved considerably since the 19 th century when they were first introduced, having managed to transcend into the digital age of the 21 st century as online slots.
Slots, pokies, or fruit machines as they are known around the world, represent the most popular form of casino entertainment. Numbers say that they also account for bringing in the largest chunks in revenue. Thanks to the latest advancements in technology, online slots became even more popular, now that they are easily accessible on a wide array of mobile gadgets (and of course, PCs). Also, they have become increasingly more complex in terms of features, graphics, and most importantly – paylines. But complex doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. If anything, today’s online slots offer much more than their real-world counterparts, RTP included, and all at the proverbial click/tap of a button. For being so similar, sometimes coin-operated fruit machines and online slots act nothing alike! Today is all about the how and why online slots rose to such popularity among casino enthusiasts.
Why are online slots popular in Canada?
One of the earliest recorded testimonies about historical Canada – more precisely John Cabot’s from 1497 – talks about natives engaging in games of luck and chance. Of course, during those times, it all came down to stones, sticks, carved bones, or other such primitive materials. So, it’s not necessarily that Canadians are particularly fond of online slots; it’s more that canuck gamblers have a longstanding reputation of veritable thrill-seekers that have managed to master gambling in all forms. And since fruit machines represent the main attraction in terms of gambling entertainment, it’s no wonder that online slots instantly clicked with the Canadian high rollers and novices alike. There is also a wide array of reasons to support their preference. For one, convenience would be top of the list right off the bat. Why go to the casino, when the casino can come to you, right? In second comes ease of use – everything’s only one click/tap away. Also, thanks to the aforementioned technological advancements, the overall quality of online slots improves with every release. All of these, enough reasons for anybody to quickly understand why online slots would be the obvious pick of any gambling
enthusiast. However, what some probably aren’t yet aware of is that digital fruit machines generally have higher RTP, bigger Jackpots, more paylines, and very special features, as opposed to classic one- armed bandits.In fact, one of the oldest casino regulatory bodies still operating today – The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, founded in 1996 – fast-tracked the popularity of online slots by extending its operations to the digital sector with the first launches of online casinos in the nation, back in 1999. All efforts were concentrated around making online play as safe as possible, for both the operators as well as the gamblers. Today, some players are still able to enjoy gaming in the safety of a Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulated operator, albeit in a very different, much improved virtual setting than in 1996.
Bitcoin vs classic online slots
To accommodate their players as best as possible, online casinos will employ a multitude of banking options. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, some jumped at the occasion to integrate Bitcoin as a banking alternative. And why shouldn’t one do that? Some operators, as well as players, are yet to fully understand the many benefits of bitcoin slots. First of all, what’s to gain for a gambler deciding to join a casino that trades in Bitcoins? Among the most important advantages of dealing in Bitcoin would be accessibility (instant access to your wallet from anywhere in the world), anonymity (Bitcoin transactions
do not require personal details to be divulged), privacy (the system is decentralized, meaning there is no regulatory body imposing taxes on Bitcoin transactions, nor any third party with authority able to terminate Bitcoin accounts). Secondly, playing bitcoin slots is nowhere near expensive (as some may fear only deposits of full Bitcoins are accepted) or complicated. If anything, it’s just like playing regular slots. Only the Jackpots are considerably heftier. Largest Bitcoin win happened in September 2013. The winner added a whopping 11,000 BTC to his wallet. In today’s money, that means more than a couple hundred millions. Apart from that, online slots providers are fighting amongst themselves to establish early dominance, with the Swedish-based giant NetEnt signing away exclusive titles to operators already. Microgaming,
Playtech, RTG (Realtime Gaming), Play N Go, and Novomatic are just some of the other big players dipping their titles in the cryptocurrency-accepting partner’s casino libraries.
Ultimately, bitcoin slots are just as varied as regular online slots. Playtech’s bitcoin slots collection, for example, includes a diversity of classic 3-reel titles, as well as a X-Men themed slot. From classic to modern times real fast, right? Mega Moolah, one of the industry’s best known progressive Jackpots that enjoys continuous success since 2006, has joined the ranks of bitcoin slots under Microgaming in recent times, too. Needless to say, things are moving fast with bitcoin slots, which seem to get to enjoy nothing but success and promising prospects. Therefore, paired with the added overall security of Bitcoin transactions, bitcoin slots represent nothing more but the next natural step in online slots’ evolution.
Mobile slots, are they the new standard?
Yes, and if anybody’s saying otherwise, it’s best you’ve heard it right the first time here. Especially in a day and age where on-the-go is the main prerequisite, it’s only normal that more people turn to smartphones to play their favorite online slots. It’s quick, easy and will never give you headaches about connecting to the printer. While PCs may have the clear advantage in terms of screen size, hence better graphics & visuals, hence more comfort, they are severely limited when it comes to portability. Mobile – 1, PC – 0.
But then again, portability is not the only thing a mobile online casino experience has to offer. Some casinos have developed their own app, which can be accessible through a mobile app store, downloaded and enjoyed for a more immersive experience. Here’s also where we’d shoot another point in mobile slots’ direction. However, where PCs pick up the slack is with the total number of titles on a single platform. While online slots have been optimized for smartphone use (either through browser or app), not ALL games have made the cut. Therefore, some slot games are accessible only on PC.
At the end of the day, it’s all about what one’s looking for when sitting down to play. However, for those moments when you’re not near your computer, your mobile device will do the job. Pro tip: don’t start a session on low battery!
Free vs real money online slots
In the world of online slots, there are those who play for fun and those who play for real. It’s the same with games. Some pay out cash, others just credits – ultimately worthless. The gameplay is the same, as well as the features and all mechanics. The only difference is that a player would play with makeshift funds, not generating any real wins. Also, it’s important to note that while the RTP remains unchanged, players tend to get bolder with credits than with real money, which has led to misconceptions regarding the RNG algorithm.
Ultimately, players usually use free-play online slots to test out various bonus rounds or minigames before having to put down a deposit.
How do online slots work?
Before tackling how fruit machines work, we must first understand how many types of online slots there are.
3-reel classics are online slots with simple mechanics, based on the original concept. Win by matching symbols down 3 paylines.
5-reel slots have evolved as a direct response to the technological advancements of the time.More computing power meant more intricate programming, which led to more rounded games with more ways to win.
Progressive slots soon emerged. A network of slots bound together by one massive Jackpot. The odds chance, but the yield is considerably greater. Each round a Jackpot is not won, it only grows larger for the next lucky high roller.
3D slots are more intricate than any of the above. There has been a lot of attention going into the details, making gameplay even the more immersive as animated characters interact with players at various points in the “story” they tell as the reels spin.
VR slots represent the epitome of online play. Even if there have been casino games optimized for the virtual reality environment, things are just now starting to pick up speed in this sector. But then again, there VR casino entertainment exists and so do VR sets. Future looks even brighter!
As for how they work, the concept is pretty simple. At the core of every online slot sits a Random Number Generator (RNG). This algorithm creates random sequences with every new spin. This means that every time the “Spin” button is activated, a new number is randomly generated by the machine that dictates where the reels should stop. When the reels stop, the machine calculates the result and returns the outcome as a win or loss.
In general, an RNG creates thousands of numbers between 0 and 4 billion every second. Also, the software does not store information, so previous wins or losses have no effect on future spins. Each time the “Spin” button is pressed, the outcome is generated at random.
How can you win playing online slots?
While there is no sure formula for success when talking about games of luck & chance, there are ways to profit most from what would strike the uninitiated as small things.
- Get familiarized with the game beforehand. The internet is full of video slots and there are no two alike. Among esthetics, each online slot comes with its own set of features and themes. However, the most important thing to look for is the Return To Player (RTP) rate. If anything, familiarize yourself with the best ones around before sitting down to play for real.
- Go for a practice run! However, don’t get too carried away, those are just fake credits. Better check out the bonus features and free spins rounds (if you can land them). Also, don’t forget there’s no way to replicate what you did in free mode when you switch to real money play. Every spin is unique.
- The main advantage of video slots is that they come with transparent and easy to access paytables. Tab the information button and you’ll discover everything the online slot has to offer, from symbols’ value to all the features and combos explained.
- The main aspect of playing online slots is to have fun. Therefore, plan ahead and set up a budget before sitting down to play. You decide how much you’re prepared to invest in your fun and make it non-negotiable.
- Once you have a number in mind, try going for small Jackpots. They might yield less than their progressive counterparts, but they payout more often and a win is a win. In a game of chance, luck may strike at any moment. Play games that fit your style – there’s an RTP for everyone – and keep it fun within your comfortable range.
How to gamble responsibly in Canada
- Canada is one big player in the gambling industry, there is no denying that. It is also for this reason that the nation is one of the greatest advocates of responsible gaming. As earlier stated, one of the very first regulatory bodies – Kahnawake Gaming Commission – is of Canadian origin. The government’s support for the awareness programs is translated into millions of dollars invested each year into supporting such directives. Also, every operator is required to offer tools aimed at facilitating responsible gaming through swift measures, should circumstances call for immediate action.
So, there is the support of the government first and foremost with the added benefit of on-site tools, on the operator’s side. Fortunately, there are still some steps one could take to further ensure the healthiest interaction with online slots.
- Put a clock on your sessions. Going through your itinerary beforehand prevents you from easily getting stuck in one place.
- Master your finances and expenses.
- Set up a winning/losing limit.
- Withdraw some of your balance in between bets, when you’re in profit.
- Don’t gamble in celebration or mourning of an occasion.
- Never gamble under the influence.
- Losses are to be expected, don’t get hot-headed chasing them!
- Familiarize yourself with the game, rules and RTP
- Track your sessions and its details (time, balance, profits, etc.)
- Use the operator’s tools for quick breaks or setting up various limits to gain better control on
As mentioned before, Canada is home to an extensive network of associations, centers and awareness programs that monitor, regulate, and maintain the balance in the gambling world. One of the biggest advocators for responsible gaming is the Canadian Gaming Association, in charge of various programs aimed at curbing gambling addiction in various provinces across the country. The Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gaming is yet another notable example of a conglomerate of research centers, regulators, non-profit organizations and game providers whose main purpose is to minimize problem gambling and risks associated with it.The hugely popular online forum, GamTalk, wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission. The regulatory entity collaborates with policy makers, operators and other regulators alike to continuously advance their agenda against gambling addiction.
Without going into too much detail, as each and every one of the following stands for the same ideals, here is a short list of responsible gaming’s main promoters:
Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario;
British Columbia’s Responsible Gambling Program;
Responsible Gambling Council;
Responsible Gambling Resource Center.
Lately, the government has been revising its stand on online slots and gambling as a whole, and the future of canuck gaming looks promising. Both in terms of future industry advancements as well as overall safety. As it stands, the “work hard, play hard” Canadian style of life and… well… play… seems to pay off.
The start of online casinos and slots was met with resounding success and the present offers the stability of a properly regulated and all-around safe environment for high rollers and rookies alike to put their luck to the test. If anything, it’s only going up from here!