What Makes Slot Machines the Gambling World’s Cash Cows?

Slot machines are symbolic for gambling. The One-Armed Bandits with their levers and colorful spinning reels are one of the first things that comes to mind when we think about casinos. It’s not surprising, considering that slot machines are the gambling world’s cash cows. It does not matter if it’s land-based or in online casinos; the simple game of chance is the most played game. Why are slot machines so popular, and how do they work in the first place?


Slot Machines’ Popularity

Slot machines have already been a cornerstone of gambling when we could only use them in brick-and-mortar casinos. Now, with online casinos, slots have reached a new height of popularity. Entire web gambling services have based their website around the concept. In this Casinomeister Review, you can learn about providers like Videoslots Casino and their impressive range of slot games, which makes them the go-to for slot machine enthusiasts.

But what is it that makes slot games so popular, especially when it comes to mobile and desktop gambling?

Slot Machines’ Core Functions

A regular slot machine layout consists of:

  • a screen that displays game information (such as the odds and winning combinations)
  • three (or more) reels with different symbols, and
  • a lever, or on modern machines buttons and touchscreens, to trigger play.

The payout is determined by the pattern of symbols the individual reels show next to each other after they stopped spinning. The game screen typically displays which combination will be awarded with which payout.

The Online Spin on Slot Machines

Since online games do not need a physical reel that will determine the result, online slots work with random number generators that make sure to randomly pick a symbol out of the possible combinations. The software nature of the games also makes it easier to give some of the available offers more functions and defining features, making the game play more complex and variable.

A Boost in Popularity Through Online Casinos

How are these features of online slot machines specifically used to enhance the player experience and increase the game’s popularity?


The online format allows the games to be much more variable. Typically, online slot machines provide the player with more interactive elements and varied graphics. Especially progressive jackpot slot machines often use more strategic elements, like triggering bonus rounds after certain actions, that allow you to increase your potential payout if handled correctly.

This variation isn’t only limited to technical features and game play. Since online casinos are barely limited in the number of games they can offer, they can provide the player with a lager variety of slot machines. These have different themes, graphics, and game play features. If you get bored with one specific theme, you can find hundreds of others to keep yourself entertained.

Quick & Simple

The quick and simple nature of the games does, typically, not make it necessary to pay attention and make decisions based on the course of the game. With each click, the slot machine spins, till it gives you a result. You don’t have to learn strategy or keep an eye out for other players’ decisions. The game is simple and quick, which makes it easily accessible for anybody. This core feature alone is one reason why many players choose to play slot machines.

Depending on your location, you can also benefit from features like autoplay. Some online casinos make it even easier to quickly play many slot games. They allow you to play slot machines on multiple tabs and leave them running by themselves. Naturally, this simplified and automated use can lead to uncontrolled gambling and huge losses.

Some gambling regulations, like the German online gambling license, forbid the use of autoplay features for addiction prevention reasons. Nonetheless, it is a clear indicator of slot machines being popular precisely for the reason of allowing quick games with hardly any prerequisites.

Return to Player

Every casino has a house edge, or house advantage. This is the percentage that marks how much of a player’s bet will be won by the casino as opposed to return to the player. If the odds of casino games weren’t slightly tipped towards benefitting the provider, the business would go bankrupt quickly. How high this house edge is, depends on the game type, player expertise and the specific rule set that is used. For example, house edges for some games might look like this:

Roulette (American) 5.26 %
Roulette (European) 2.7 %
Blackjack 0.5 %
Keno 25 %
Video Poker 0.46 %

When it comes to card games, where the player skill is in part responsible for the outcome, the gambler can reduce the house edge by making use of simple or more complex strategies. A game of poker might start out with a house advantage of 5 % but can be reduced to 0.5 %, if the player knows what they are doing.

For other games, like Roulette, the odds are fixed. The difference between American and European Roulette is simply based on the roulette wheel in American Roulette having an additional space with a double-zero that makes it slightly less likely to pick the correct number.

In most cases, games with higher house edges have higher pay-outs. They are harder to win, but this risk pays off with a bigger jackpot. Slot machines typically have a house edge anywhere between 5 % and 20 % but can just as easily reach 2 % or 25 %. Using a slot machine with a 10 % house edge suggests that the casino will take 10 % of the coin a player bets on a game. This, in turn, means that 90 % of the money will return to the player. These 90 % are called the RTP, or Return to Player.

Slot machines clearly state the RTP or house edge, making it possible to estimate how much a player will win or lose the longer they play, and make the right choices accordingly. Additionally, with slots, the gambler has an easy time picking high or low RTPs within their preferred game selection.

The Biggest Payouts

Slot machines are responsible for the highest online casino payouts to date. These amounts can be attributed to progressive jackpot slot machines. With progressive jackpots, each bet the player makes for a spin will be added to the jackpot till it is won eventually. The games provided by Mega Moolah take the top spot on the highest payout list, with a staggering €19.4 million being the record-breaking win.

Looking at the previous paragraph, the RTP for Mega Moolah Slots is 88.12 %. However, by increasing the jackpot size with your bets, you can add an additional 8.8 %, resulting in a total of 96.92 %.


Slot machines are colorful, easy, and fast to use. You don’t need any expertise to operate the machine and can quickly play many short games with small bet amounts. The online slot machines offer a huge variety, both in design, graphics, and game features. By choosing the machine with your preferred theme, bonus rounds and RTP, you can control how likely it is for you to win and how much fun you will be having.

Last, but not least, the famously large jackpots for progressive slot machines are responsible for a major part of the game type’s popularity. They allow you to dream of million-dollar jackpots while playing quick and simple, low wager games.