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A slot is a casino game that is based on luck. In exchange for real money bets, you can spin the reels in an attempt to line up a combination or trigger a slot feature in order to win cash prizes.
Slot machines were originally known as one-armed bandits way back in 1894 when Charles August Fey invented the very first slot game. The concept at the time was to provide an entertainment mechanism using a coin-operated machine that awards prizes similar to the ‘wheel of fortune’ which was very popular at the time. As a result, Fey produced a game with 3 circular reels with symbols printed on each and those reels were placed inside a box with a window.
The window showed 9 symbols in a 3x3 grid so 3 symbols on each reel were visible. Players would pull a lever to spin the reels with their objective being to line up 3 alike symbols on a pay line drawn across the middle of the window. Since then, slots grew in popularity and like the first car and aeroplane, they have been modified over the years, and today slots come with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more reels with 1 to 100 pay lines or no pay-lines (see FAQ below) and they can all be played online.
With modern technology introduced to slots gaming the results of every spin are now controlled by a random number generator (RNG) algorithm. The RNG holds every possible combination the slot can produce. It fizzes those combinations through its generator until the player presses the ‘spin’ button. After the spin button has been pressed, the reels will spin and produce the outcome.
Today slot games come with 3D cinematic HD graphics and Pixar quality animations. They also have tons of features giving away free spins, interactive bonus games in which the gameplay will take you on cash rewarding adventures, plus to add to the excitement there are wildcards, expanding symbols, cluster wins, and tons of other features helping you get into the money.
There are also tons of different variations of slots that can be played either online or in land-based casinos in South Africa.
Arguably, the best slot games available today are online slots. These slot games can be played at an online or mobile casino via an application or web browser (instant play). You need an internet connection to the play to connect to the slot via your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop device through Windows, Android, and iOS operating systems.
The beauty of online slots is that as slots are designed using computer code, the developers’ ability to continuously release new online slots and new ways to play slots is limitless. This is basically very similar to a game’s designer creating a PlayStation or Xbox game.
Land-based ‘video slots’ are basically a box holding a digital monitor. The monitor is usually touch screen, and it is essentially a games console with a slot game installed. Much like online slots, designers have unlimited options when it comes to creating the slot’s gameplay because like online slots, video slots are also created using code.
In fact, quite a few land-based video slots have been released online and vice versa by slot developers such as IGT, WMS and Novomatic. Due to this fact, the term video slot is also used interchangeably with online slots within the online casino community in SA, but in essence, a video slot is a land-based slot gaming console and an online slot is played over the internet while online.
These are land-based only slots are basically the one-armed bandits except many of them no longer have the leaver to pull which was used in Charles August Fey original design in order to spin the reels. Today motorised slots are more commonly button operated. These slots do not have digital reels and instead use physical reels.
At first most of these slots were classic slots games (see below), but soon developers would start adding themes. These would usually be boards lit up by LEDs with features and skill stop games which were very popular in places such as the UK where ‘fruit machines’ were popular. However, today these types of slots are sadly a dying breed as they are no longer in production as casinos and slot shops favour video slot consoles these days.
Jackpot slots payout either fixed or progressive jackpot wins. The jackpot will be clearly made visible on the slot and this is slot’s top cash reward. Progressive jackpots will progressively increase in size as more players play the slot because a percentage of each bet made will contribute to the jackpot. Non-progressive jackpot slots will have a fixed jackpot payout displayed alongside instructions or an infographic showing you the combination or feature needed to trigger it.
Jackpots are triggered in a variety of ways. Some will pay totally at random and literally award the cash prize without warning while others require trigger such as a combination on a specific line or via a bonus round game. For example, the 244,192,608 million Rand Mega Moolah progressive jackpot slot mentioned in the introduction has 3 progressive jackpots that can only be won when a wheel of the fortune bonus round is triggered.
Classic slots are essentially the very first slots developed. They are 3 reels slots and generally come with 1 pay line. That said, this type of slot has also been known to be modified with additional pay lines and features. They can be found as online slots, video slots, or mechanical slots and are generally low variance game that payout small amounts. Although, you may want to check out Mega Joke online slot which is a progressive jackpot classic slot game!
Fruit machine slots are very popular in the UK and are mostly found in bars, pubs, and clubs. They are slightly different from other slots because they have unique features generally no found in any other country but the UK. Players would have additional features such as nudges to move symbols around the reels to create combination win or to gain access to featured board games triggered via a bonus combination.
We are not sure why the term bonus slot started floating around because nearly all slots come with a bonus. That said, many of these bonuses are free spins features. Therefore, a bonus slot is a slot game that comes with a bonus round that is not a free spins game. Many of the fruit machine slots in the UK would, therefore, be bonus slots as nearly all of them had bonus games. It is also worth noting that many bonus slots come with both free spins and a bonus round as two separate features on the same game.
There are tons of online and video slot software designers popular amongst South African slots players. Below we have listed the top 10 software developers whose online slots are played most often by casino players in SA. If you visit an online casino in South Africa, then check to see if any of the online slots in the casino’s slots section are designed by these software providers.
What is a no-pay line slot feature?
No pay line slots do not use pay lines. The rule for a combination win on these slots is that the first symbol must land on reel 1 and subsequent symbols must be on adjacent reels.
As you can see, the symbols line up from left to right, however, there are slots with ‘2-way pay’ or ‘win both ways’ features on which symbols can line up from right to left such as Siberian Storm by the IGT software provider. In this case, the first symbol must start on reel 5 and subsequent symbols will run across reels 5, 4, 3, and 2.
Why do the reels spin on slots if the RNG stops on a combination before the reels spin?
Slots use RNGs to make sure results are random. When a player presses spin, the combination that the RNG stops on will be the outcome of a spin. Even though the outcome has already been decided when the spin button is pressed, the reels still spin. The reason for the reels spinning is simply entertainment value. Some slots do come with ‘quick spin’ and ‘turbo’ to speed up the reel spins if you prefer quicker results however you cannot stop the reels spinning altogether.
What is the house edge when playing online slots?
Slots use something called ‘Return to Player’ a.k.a. RTP. This indicates the long-term expected return on your investment when playing a particular slot. For example, a slot with an RTP of 97% means that in the long run, this slot should pay back 97% of your bets. Although it is important to remember that the RTP is based on probability, so you will need to take variation into account.
Which online slots are available in land-based casinos?
Not all online casinos will have the online slot version of a game simply because the casinos will choose games based on research and popularity. However, if you are planning on visiting an online casino in South Africa or anywhere in the world, check to see if the casino uses IGT, WMS or Novomatic slots. The chances are quite slim that you will find one, but you never know.
Which is better - online slots or land-based video slots?
Online slots have always been notorious for having the highest RTPs (see above FAQ the answer related to house edge). In a land-based casino, you can expect the RTP to be between 85% and 95%. Online casinos in South Africa have an RTP of 95% to 99%.
Is it better to play online slots because they come with bonus deals?
Yes. Land-based casinos will not give you bonus deals to play their video or classic slot games. On the other hand, if you play online slots, there are tons of online casinos that offer players from SA online slot bonus deals and free spins deals.