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After visiting a few online casino websites, it will become quite apparent that the popularity of video slots is what’s driving the explosion in online casino gambling activity. That’s not to say that table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat don’t have its followers. They do. It’s just that video slots offer so much more in the form of entertainment.

The History of Online Slots

The first online slot games for real cash came to the internet around the turn of the century. At the time, the available games amounted to nothing more than what would be considered fruit games by today’s standards.

Slowly but surely, the world’s top online casino software developers began innovating news ways to make online slots more exciting. The move paralleled what was happening in land-based casinos as well. The idea behind the innovation was to get players more involved in the game playing process. There had to be something more for players to do than simply push a button.

The first meaningful innovations came forth in or around 2006. Software developers began toying with game playing formats. They increased the number of reels from three to five to create more ways for players to win money. This move certainly brought more life to playing online slots.

At the same time, they began innovating truly magnificent progressive slots that offered slot players a chance to win life-changing jackpots. As news hit that people were winning millions of dollars playing online progressive slots, online casinos got an influx of business.

Several years later as innovation continued to capitalize on video technologies, video game themes became a major focus. Software developers went in search of game themes that would appeal to the masses. It was at this time that video slots built around movies and superheroes began appearing.

The final piece of the puzzle would fall in place around 2015 when HTML5 technology opened the door to great graphics, audio capabilities, and video features. Software developers began using this technology to innovate cool bonus features and interactive games slot players could play to create more interest and excitement. This brought about the birth of many new software developers that were ready to feed new generations of video slots into an online casino market that has been growing by double-digit percentages year over year for the past 10 years.

Types of Video Slots

After the push to get past basic fruit machines, the flood gates opened. Online casino software developers began looking for ways to create new types of slots. Today, there are far more than 2,000 individual video slot games being used throughout the online casino industry. Here’s a quick summary of the different types of slot games a player might encounter when visiting any given online casino.

Fruit Games = 3 reel games in which the symbols are generic representations of fruits (plums, oranges, lemons, cherries) as well as higher paying symbols like bells, bars, and the lucky 7s.

Video Slots = Usually includes at least 5 reels and 3 rows, and as many as 1,047 different ways for a players to win. Many of the games include “video” features that give the game life. The games also include free spin opportunities and interactive bonus features that can lead to some really good jackpots.

Progressive Slots = A video slot that features a progressive jackpot is unique in that it is connected among players who are playing video slots through any number of online casinos operating throughout the world. Every casino in the “network” offers the same game. As players throughout the world play a particular progressive jackpot slot, a small amount of every dollar wagered on the game is siphoned off into a jackpot that keeps growing until a single player hits it. Hitting the jackpot often requires the player to complete a certain gameplaying task through a bonus feature. About 3% of all online video slots are progressive jackpot games.

Picking the Best Paying Games

While most players will choose video slots that appeal most because of the same theme or gameplaying features, there is a way players can choose the best paying games.

Every online casino video slot game is required to go through an audit or testing process. The process is run by a statistical data auditing firm that is charged with running hundreds of thousands of game interactions to determine two things. First, the auditing firm is looking to confirm the randomness and fairness of each game to assure online casinos are not cheating. Second, they are looking to determine each game’s “Return to Player” (RTP) percentage.

Simply put, the RTP percentage represents the percentage of every dollar wagered that a game will return over an extended period. Example: a game with an RTP percentage of 96% will return that percentage of every dollar throughout the history of that game. The higher the percentage, the better for the player.

If players are concerned about finding a video slot that offers the best chances to win money, they would need to seek out games based on volatility. Volatility (low, medium, high) refers to the frequency a video slot game pays out money. A game with a high volatility rating will pay out fewer times but offers bigger payouts when it does hit. If a player is interested in hitting more payouts for less money, a video slot with low volatility would be preferable.

How to Select the Best Online Casino for Video Slots

Long gone are the days when online casinos would rely on a singular software platform to provide its games. With the advent of common software development tools like HTML5, it became easier for online casino platforms to integrate slots from multiple software developers.

The best online video slot casinos are the ones that can offer hundreds of games from any number of the best online casino software developers in the world. If “variety is the spice of life,” video slot enthusiasts should have no problem finding online casinos that offer plenty of casino game options.