For years, gamblers – and particularly slots players – have been turning away from physical casinos and opting for the flexibility and convenience that comes with playing online slots. And while physical casinos in popular gambling areas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City will always attract large numbers of visitors, a new report could turn away many who were already on the fringe of choosing online over offline.
According to a new report from the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), hold percentages for slots machines have significantly tightened over time, meaning casinos are keeping a higher portion of total wagers. Specifically, the report shows that the average hold percentage has increased 14.5 percent over a 10-year span to a high of 7.7 percent. For perspective, hold percentages bottomed out at 5.96 percent in 1996.
While the executive director of AGEM is quick to admit that “Slots have been tightening slowly over time,” he also points out that average slot revenue has only increased by 1.1 percent over the past decade. In other words, the tightening percentages don’t mean the casinos are walking away with significantly higher earnings. The combination of these numbers could indicate one thing: players seem to be moving online.
Advantages of Online Slots Over Offline Slots
If you look at the history of gambling, you’ll see that a fundamental shift occurred in the industry in the late 1990s. During this time, InterCasino became the first online casino. About a year later, Microgaming offered the first real money games. From there, online gambling exploded into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. In 2013, $10 billion was wagered through online casinos alone.
While offline casinos still have the lure of flashing lights and short cocktail dresses, many players who place the priority on winning have turned to online gambling, and specifically online slots. Here are a few reasons why:
- While a physical casino may only have a handful of different types of slots, online casinos offer hundreds of unique games. Whether you’re looking for a classic fruit machine or something with modern graphics and effects, you can find it online
- Some people would prefer to gamble in privacy, as certain members of society look down upon it. Playing in privacy allows you to be more comfortable and carefree.
- Most people don’t live near a casino. That means they have to plan a trip to Vegas, Atlantic City, or somewhere else just to play a few games. With online slots, you can play at any given moment.
- As mentioned, physical slot machines are tightening. It’s simply a fact. However, there’s no indication that online machines are getting any tighter. This could be seen as another advantage.
Choosing an Online Casino
When it comes to online slots, you want to make sure you’re playing the right game. You especially want to be cautious with which online casinos you use. Every online casino has its own rules, payouts, and requirements.
Definitely read some slots reviews and ask around to find a game that’s best suited to your preferences. You need a game that’s simple and an online casino that’s conducive to players transitioning from offline gambling. In order to get your feet wet and learn how online slots operate, you may want to try some free slots before putting down any of your own money.
Getting Familiar with the Terms
Once you start playing online slots, you’ll inevitably try to familiarize yourself with new digital layouts and terms. The menus can certainly be confusing to an online slots beginner, so it helps to understand the anatomy of the machines:
- The bet section on a machine tells you exactly how much your total bet amount is for any given spin.
- Most online slot machines have some sort of cashier button that allows you to deposit additional money or cash out your earnings. It’s certainly nice not to have to get up and find an ATM or physical cashier like you would in a real casino.
- By clicking on the paytable button you can find out more information regarding rules, paylines, and prize offers.
- As you know, you control the pace of the game in slots. After placing your bets and selecting your lines, you press this button to activate the game, just as you would pull the lever in offline slots.
While offline slot machines may be tightening, the good news is that you can still enjoy the thrill of a little casual gambling from the comfort of your own home. And when it comes to online slots, you’ve got plenty of options. Do some research, read some reviews, and find an online casino that matches your preferences.