How Do Online Slots Work?

November 25, 2021

If you’ve been to any online casino, you’ll quickly discover that online slots are by far the most prominent casino game. There are thousands of different online slots offered at some of the best online casinos. The fundamentals of online slots aren’t all that different from how they’ve always worked. A player places their bet, spins the wheels, and waits for the reels to stop spinning before checking to see if they have won. If the reels halt in a way that a row of the same symbols is shown, they’ll win. Naturally, the more uncommon the icon is, the more money a player will win. While manual slot machines have been around since the late 1890s, the fundamentals have always been the same. However, machines’ were produced mechanically back then. Now, slots have gone online in recent years, and their algorithm is determined by random number generators (RNG). Because the unpredictability of a slot machine will always play a role in deciding your odds of winning, all gamers should have a fundamental understanding of how this all operates.


How Do Online Slots Work?

When you check at an online slot, you’ll realize that it seems similar to what you’d see in a local casino. They always have three to five sets of reels that spin before stopping to assess whether or not you have won. While conventional machines will lack some of the more current features found in online slots (e.g., increasing wilds and animated bonus rounds), they will still function in the same way. The only difference is how the decision is made. To ensure the unpredictability of their results, licensed casino game suppliers utilize RNG software authorized by online gaming regulators. While many people are concerned about the idea of a piece of software determining their outcome, the notion that online casinos are required to allow regulators to evaluate their RNG as part of their licensing deal should at least give them peace of mind. Some believe that machines will compensate players who do not stare at the screen and leave the slot to spin on its own for a specified length of time with lower wins. It is not the case, as the same logic powers both automatic and manual spins. RNGs in casinos and slots are tested by gambling authorities to guarantee that things like this don’t happen.


What is RNG?

Every online slot has software in the background that selects random numbers regularly. Every second, the RNG produces hundreds of numbers ranging from 0 to 4 billion (approximately). Each of those numbers will correspond to a unique result on the reels for each spin, and the outcome will be determined by the number generated at the exact moment you hit the ‘spin’ button. Here’s how a spin works to help you grasp it a little better:

  • The player hits the spin button, which generates a random number.

  • The gaming software’s mathematical method transforms that number and determines where the reels should stop.

  • The result is then relayed to the participant.

Your past wins or losses will not influence your next spin because RNG software is entirely random. You could have gotten a different outcome if you had hit the spin button a second earlier or later, but as you know, there’s no way of knowing whether you would have done better or worse.

How do online slots make money?

Many of you are probably asking how an online casino can make money if its slots online are random. In simple terms, with each game they host for players, a casino has a gradual advantage. Let’s pretend we’re playing a game of coin-flipping. You give me $1 for the flip, and if you’re lucky enough to win, I’ll pay you $1.50; however, if you lose, I’ll keep your entire wager. As you can see, in every game, you can either win $0.50 or lose $1, and while the outcome is purely unpredictable and there is a potential that you may beat me, the chances are strongly skewed to my advantage in the long run. It is basically how all casino games are developed but in a more convoluted fashion. Because of the arithmetic underlying online slots, the online casino will always have a slight gain over its players in the long run, even if the games are 100% random. 


The following are only a few examples of how a slot’s arithmetic is defined:

  • The quantity and sorts of symbols that can see on the reels.

  • The size of the winnings in the paytable.

  • The likelihood of additional features being activated.

  • The odds of winning in bonus rounds.


Online slots are the most popular game in online casinos, yet many players have never really appreciated how they function. The conclusion is that online slots are random, and the arithmetic underlying the games determines your odds of making money in the long run. Ignore the usual misconceptions about slots and start appreciating them for what they are: a casino game that allows you to earn large sums of money while also outlasting the player base over a lengthy period.

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