11 Reasons Why Gamblers Love Slot Machines

By Michael Stevens in Casino & Gaming on May 17, 2019

11

Minute Read

It’s clear that gamblers love playing slots. You can see the evidence by visiting any land-based or online casino, which are predominately made up of slot machines.

The simple reason why casinos fill their establishments with slots is because they realize that their customers enjoy these games above all.

But why do gamblers have such an infatuation with slots? Keep reading as I cover 11 reasons why people love spinning the reels.

1 – You Can Turn a Small Bet Into a Big Win

One of the most-exciting things about slot machines is that you can wager a small amount of money and win huge payouts. Here’s a simple example of a pay table and the prize distribution:

  • Jackpot = 20,000 coins
  • 3 cherries = 5,000 coins
  • 3 dollar signs = 1,000 coins
  • 3 oranges = 100 coins
  • 3 apples = 50 coins
  • 3 BAR symbols = 10 coins
  • 3 coin symbols = 5 coins

Your odds of winning the jackpot are low. However, the exciting thing is that you still have a chance to hit big payouts on any spin.

This aspect only becomes more exhilarating when you’re playing slot machines with huge jackpots. Some progressive prizes are worth seven or even eight figures.

In October 2018, an online slots player won a record-breaking jackpot worth €18,910,668.

What’s incredible is that they only had to bet €0.25 per round to win the life-changing fortune.

You don’t have to play for a jackpot worth this much just to experience the anticipation of a big prize. But it’s always fun to take a shot at the industry’s largest jackpots from time to time.

2 – The Slots World Offers a Huge Game Selection

Many casino games have different variations to keep them fresh. Blackjack, for example, features classic 21, face-up, Match Play 21, multi-hand, perfect pairs, progressive, Spanish 21, Super 21, and Blackjack Switch.

But no casino game can touch slot machines in terms of its massive number of different games. The slots world is filled with thousands of options spread out across dozens of categories.

Most brick-and-mortar casinos feature hundreds of different slot machines. Many online casinos also offer hundreds of slots too.

This variety means that you’ll be hard-pressed to get bored if you enjoy slot machines. Furthermore, you can always find a game that meets your interest in terms of the theme.

If you’re into vampire movies and TV shows, then you can play games like Blood Suckers, Dracula, and Vampires vs. Werewolves. Assuming you’re really into treasure-hunting stories, you can look for slots like Book of Ra, Gonzo’s Quest, and Jungle Jim El Dorado.

Overall, the number and types of slot machines are only limited by your imagination. You’re sure to find a theme that you enjoy at most casinos.

3 – Slots Raise Dopamine

Not all of the reasons why gamblers enjoy slots are positive in nature. Case in point: playing slot machines can cause your dopamine to rise.

Dopamine is a brain neurotransmitter (carries info between neurons) that’s known as the “pleasure chemical.” It’s released in abundance when you experience something pleasurable, such as eating dessert, having sex, or watching an entertaining movie.

Gambling is yet another activity that can cause dopamine to flood the brain.

This neurotransmitter rises when you’re rewarded in the form of a win. You’re then thrust into a loop, whereby you want to continue playing and experiencing more of these wins.

I’m certainly not saying that elevated dopamine is a good thing while playing slot machines. Research shows that frequent slots play can lead to more and more dopamine spikes and eventually cause long-term brain changes.

These changes include feeling the same euphoria with real wins (i.e. profit) and partial wins (i.e. doesn’t cover spin cost). Problem gamblers often exhibit this behavior, failing to account for how partial wins are actually losses overall.

They’re conditioned to think that any prize is a reward – no matter how big or small. Of course, the casino holds an edge in slot machines and usually wins. This is why you want to do everything in your power to treat slots as entertainment, rather than an activity that offers rewards.

4 – You Can Collect Comps

The object of playing slot machines is to hopefully win a big prize. However, you can also pick up other rewards in the forms of comps.

Some of the different rewards include free drinks, hotel stays, meals, cashback, free spins, and luxury services (e.g. limo transportation).

Casinos base your comps on your total betting volume. Each casino also has its own rate by which it determines your rewards. Generally speaking, they comp 0.1% of your total bets.

Here’s an example:

  • You wager $3,000 total during a session.
  • The comp rate is 0.1%.
  • 3,000 x 0.001 = $3 in rewards

It’s always nice to receive a few free drinks or even a meal after a long slot session. You can earn even better comps by being a long-term customer of the same casino.

A word of caution, though, is to avoid playing slot machines longer just for the rewards. Comps are never worth anywhere near the theoretical losses you experience while trying to earn them.

As long as you’re only playing slot machines when you feel like it and have the money, then you won’t have to deal with this problem. You can also treat comps as an extra reward, rather than a losing proposition that you’re obsessed over.

5 – Online Casinos Offer Big Slots Welcome Bonuses

Internet casinos can’t offer physical rewards like free drinks and hotel rooms. They instead give you cash-based deals, including welcome bonuses.

A welcome bonus is available to new customers and is based on a match percentage of one’s deposit amount. For example, a casino might offer a 100% match bonus up to $500.

Such a deal allows you to earn up to $500. The only catch is that you need to meet terms and conditions before withdrawing your bonus.

Wagering requirements (a.k.a. rollover) are one of the biggest terms to be aware of. Rollover refers to how much you must bet before the money is officially yours.

Here’s an example:

  • A casino is offering a 100% match bonus up to $200.
  • You deposit $200, thus qualifying for the full $200 bonus.
  • Wagering requirements are 40x the bonus amount.
  • 200 x 40 = 8,000
  • You must wager $8,000 to be able to withdraw the $200 bonus.

Another common T&C is that slots are the only game that contribute 100% towards wagering requirements. Other games, like baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and video poker, may contribute 10% to 35%, forcing you to wager far more to meet rollover.

You’re in luck if you already like playing slot machines. You can use online slots to quickly meet wagering requirements and unlock your bonus funds.

6 – Slot Machines Literally Put You in a Trance

Slots might seem like harmless forms of entertainment on the outside. But many of their features and functions are designed with a specific purpose: to keep you playing.

Developers concentrate on using sound effects and flashing lights that draw players in and hook them. The result is that they can end up in the “slot machine zone,” which is a trancelike state.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) performed research on the subject. Their study, which appears in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, shows how players ignore their surroundings when playing slot machines.

UBC researchers conducted their experiment with two groups of people, including experienced gamblers and undergrads. The two sets of participants were shown moving white circles while playing slots. They were asked to hit a button when the circle turned into a red square.

Each person described being in a trance afterward.

But the long-time gamblers experienced a more-intense trance and were more likely to miss the circles changing into red squares.

Luke Clark, who heads the UBC’s Centre for Gambling Research, believes that his experiment shows how players can become lost in a slots game.

“When the experienced slot machine gamblers played, we found they not only felt that they lost track of time and their surroundings,” he said. “But they often failed to notice the shapes on the periphery of the machine.”

7 – Some Slot Machines Include Skill

For well over a century, slot machines have been completely random games that give you no true control of the results. You simply bet your money, push the spin button, and let fate take care of the rest.

But skill-based slot machines are a new development that give you some degree of influence over payback. These slots feature skill-based bonus rounds that allow you to play fun mini games.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re playing an adventure-themed slot.
  • You trigger the bonus with three scatter symbols.
  • You need to control an explorer as he searches a treasure room.
  • The goal is to avoid rolling boulders and pick up treasures along the way.

Skill-based slots are part of an experiment by casinos to draw younger players. Of course, gamblers of any age can appreciate arcade-style gaming spliced with traditional slots.

These games haven’t been a huge hit in casinos yet. However, it’s possible that we could see more skill-based slot machines in the future.

8 – You Can Play for Cheap

Some casino games are intimidating when considering their minimum bet. Mini baccarat, for example, features a $25 minimum wager or higher in certain land-based casinos.

The good thing about mini baccarat is that it only has a 1.06% house edge (w/ banker bet). This prospect can still be scary, though, when every hand costs $25 to play.

Enter slots, which can be played rather cheaply. You’ll especially find cheap slots at online casinos.

The majority of internet slots offer you multiple betting options, including adjustable paylines, coin size, and coins per line. Assuming you adjust all of these to their lowest value, you could spend just $0.01 per round (depending upon the game).

Of course, doing so only allows you to play one line. You may grow frustrated out of boredom by waiting forever to win prizes in this manner.

I personally enjoy playing all of the available lines at one cent apiece. With a 25-line slot, for example, I’d be able to play every spin for a quarter.

You can also find penny slot machines in casinos. The name is misleading, though, because these games have fixed paylines.

If you’re playing a 50-line penny slot, you’ll need to bet at least $0.50 per spin. This still isn’t terrible in the grand scheme of gambling, but be aware that land-based games are bit more expensive than online slots.

9 – Slots Aren’t Intimidating Like Other Casino Games

Chances are that you’re not going to play table games like blackjack and roulette on your first visit to a brick-and-mortar casino. After all, you may be intimidated by having no experience with these games and having to learn on the fly in front of others.

You might eventually warm up to the idea of playing table games. However, slot machines offer a smoother introduction to the land-based gambling world.

Slots are a solitary affair that give you as much time as you need to learn a game.

Simply take a seat and read the help screen if you’re lost at any point.

You can of course play slot machines next to friends to enjoy a social aspect. But at the same time, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the speed of the dealer and other players.

Video poker is another solitary game that lets you easily get acclimated to the casino. Just like slot machines, video poker is played via an electronic machine.

This game does have its differences from slots, though, including higher payback and the use of actual strategy. Choosing a video poker variation with high payback and using correct strategy allows you to win over 99% of your money back.

10 – Some Slots Offer High RTP

Slot machines have a reputation for quickly draining gamblers’ bankrolls. This is part of the reason why they’ve maintained the nickname “one-armed bandits” throughout their existence.

However, this reputation isn’t warranted in every circumstance. Some slots offer solid return to player (RTP) when compared to other casino games.

The majority of slots with high RTP are found in online casinos. The average internet slot pays back between 95% and 96% of your bets.

You can find online slots that pay even better than this. I’ve seen some games that offer over 98% RTP, including Goblin’s Cave (99.32%), Monopoly Big Event (99%), Blood Suckers (98%), and Cosmic Quest (98%).

Some slot machines and land-based casinos also feature good RTP. The only problem, though, is that you won’t know which ones they are.

For whatever reason, land-based slot machines don’t feature publicly available RTP. You’re forced to guess on which games might offer good payback.

Your only true indication is to read reports from your state gaming agency. These reports often list how much each coin denomination pays on average.

For Example

You might see that nickel slots pay back $0.94 on every dollar bet. You can therefore assume that the average nickel slot machine in your state features 94% RTP.

Unfortunately, brick-and-mortar slots pay less on average than their internet counterparts. But you still might randomly find a few diamonds in the rough that deliver good payback.

11 – Slot Machines Offer More Features Than Ever Before

Slots used to be bland, three-reel games that were void of special features. Players simply spun reels full of fruit and BAR symbols while hoping to get lucky.

But slot machines have change greatly since those days. Modern games are now loaded with features, including bonus rounds, animations, soundtracks, and unique types of wins.

The animations and soundtracks can make it feel like you’re playing a true video game. You’ll hear vibrant sound effects and watch entertaining displays after wins.

Certain bonus rounds allow you to enjoy fun mini games that are different from the regular drill of spinning the reels. You’ll find bonuses that see you pick treasure chests to reveal prizes, fly planes, drive racecars, and more.

What’s exciting is that slots are constantly evolving. Game developers realize that they need to keep up with the technology curve in order to satisfy customers.

You can expect plenty of other great developments from slots makers in the near future. Skill-based gaming and 4D graphics could become more commonplace in 5-10 years.

Conclusion

You can see that there are plenty of reasons why people continue playing slot machines. One of the biggest reasons involves the evolution of slots.

These games offer more features than ever before, including bonuses, animations, soundtracks, and skill-based elements. These features make modern slot machines far more entertaining than classic three-reelers.

Game selection is another driving force that makes people want to play. The slots industry features thousands of different games across land-based and online casinos.

The dream of turning a small bet into a huge jackpot is yet one more exciting thing about slots. Some players have won jackpots worth eight figures. Of course, most people would be happy with a four or five-figure win too.

Being able to play slots cheaply is another factor that keeps these games filled.

Online slots are especially cheap, costing as little as one penny.

Not all of the reasons covered here are positive ones. Dopamine spikes, trancelike states, and the hunt for comps can all cause gamblers to bust their bankrolls.

You want to be aware of these factors so that you don’t play slot machines for the wrong reasons. The last thing you want is to develop an addiction based on trances or dopamine-fueled sessions.

Chances are, though, that you’re like the average gambler and will simply play slot machines for the entertainment. These games are perfectly fine to play as long as you stick within your personal bankroll requirements.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016.

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