The emergence and evolution of the internet has sparked huge changes in the gambling industry. Gamers no longer need to find the nearest betting shop or casino to try and win some money. Instead, they can use the web and their mobile devices to bet, no matter where they are in the world.
Online gambling is still a growth industry. Valued at almost $36 billion in 2014, the industry will likely experience a growth rate of 10% each year. This would make it worth over $66.5 billion dollars once 2020 rolls around.
The evolution of online slot machines have played a large part in this growth. The randomization and easy accessibility make online slots a more attractive proposition that traditional slot machines. Further, the introduction of mobile devices has continued the evolution of slots so they have become one of the foremost types of online gambling in the world.
The Origins of Slot Machines
The earliest slot machines came about in the late 19 th century. Sittman and Pick created the first in 1894. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this early slot machine revolved around poker. The machine had a deck of 50 cards and players won whenever they matched the cards to create a winning poker hand.
From there, the popularity of slot machines took off. Other innovators took the core concept and began applying more of the concepts that we are familiar with today. Charles Augustus Fey created the first slot machine that used reels and symbols instead of playing cards. Others continued the innovations as the 20 th century wore on. The 1960s saw the introduction of electromechanical slots and the first video slot machines made their appearances in the late-1970s.
Other video slot machines followed, but it was the introduction of online slots that really started to take the industry in a new direction.
The Internet Takes Off
While the internet had existed in some form or another since 1983, it was not until the mid-1990s rolled around that it began to penetrate the commercial market. Traditionally quick on the uptake, the betting industry started looking for ways to adapt to this new technology.
Slot machines offered the perfect choice. Simple in nature, they required little in the way of computational power or internet speed to operate effectively. The earliest online slot machines mirrored their physical contemporaries. You played with reels and a limited number of symbols in the hopes of getting a win.
However, as the internet evolved, so did the online slot machine. New technology and faster internet speeds allowed slot developers to come up with more interesting games that evolved the core concept behind the slot machine. New themes and symbols emerged, while many online casinos took to introducing bonus rounds and additional games that were not possible on traditional machines. It was at this point that online slots began to break away from their forebears and establish their own niche. Still, it took the introduction of a brand new device to pave the way for the explosive growth of online betting.
The Mobile Influence
Even though online slots offered convenience due to players being able to play from home, they were still running pretty close to traditional slots in terms of uptake. Then, Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.
Other manufacturers quickly followed suit and the smartphone industry experienced its own explosion in popularity. The betting industry again took notice and began adapting their online slot machines for mobile users. Now, people could play no matter where they were in the world and online casinos could offer even greater options to players.
Smartphone technology developed further and the introduction of the App Store and Google Play opened up another frontier. Online casinos could release mobile apps to players so they could play slot machines designed specifically for their mobile devices. This only enhanced the appeal of online slots and more players than ever before began playing on their smartphones.
Today, there are so many developers of online slot machines and thousands of casinos that offer those games to players. There has never been as much choice in gaming then there is today and much of that is due to the introduction of the smartphone and the evolution of online slot machines.