From the first one-armed bandit, the Liberty Bell in 1887 to modern machines in Las Vegas and their online counterparts — the history of the slot machines has seen it all. Many things have changed since then, but the idea remains — spinning reels, usually three of them must stop at the combination of one from the pay table, usually three equal images on each. Let’s take a look at what technology changes have the slot machines gone through, and most importantly the differences between classic and online machines.
The main functional unit of a slot machine is the random number generator (RNG) which in today’s machines is a software running on an embedded computer. The outcomes of every spin are calculated by this unit leaving the rest for visual graphics to create pleasant effects for entertainment purposes. In that sense, online slot machines are just simplified version of their “real-life” counterparts. Does that mean there are no other differences? More often then not there are and many.
First of all, let’s have a look at where these machines are deployed. The offline machines are in casino houses and are under strict regulations in different countries. Everything is regulated, from parameters such as minimal payout percentage to functionality and the whole gameplay. Near-miss is one such rule. Tricking a player into thinking they almost won by creating an illusion of near-miss situations is not allowed. In fact, such regulations leave little room for imagination to manufacturers, especially when marketing is concerned.
That makes online slots completely different. Even though the technology is essentially the same, the rules may differ up to a point where there are no rules at all. Because the online casinos are being run by off-shore companies that are not regulated by strict laws (especially after online casinos ban in US), the casino holders can pretty much do anything they want. That means all technologies available in real machines and a lot more. Mind you, the most reputable online casino’s will try to have their machines as close to reality as possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t expect to see some tricks.
The players should consider this when online playing tactics are concerned — what works offline, may not work online. For instance, real slot machines have their RNGs running at all times, which means there is a difference when spinning at different times; online you can forget about that — the games are not running indefinitely and the outcome is always calculated at the very instant you push the button.
In conclusion, even though you will not become rich by exposing the differences, keeping them in mind can help in small but meaningful ways. In this sense there might be a chance to find your perfect slot machine online, as it would never be the case offline. And as a closing tip, unlike in casino houses, online you can always play free slots as you are trying the machines — there are thousands of them and even a penny on each can cost you a fortune.