Gaming industry statistics show that, for both land-based and online casinos, slot games drive the most revenue. Slot gaming has moved ahead of traditional card and table games to dominate the casino industry.
But where will technology take the next generation? I’ve heard there are hundreds of different types of casino games in play around the world. It stands to reason that nearly all those games could be reproduced in a casino-friendly way. It depends on the demand.
In the simplest sense, gambling is the staking of a wager on the outcome of a future event. The future event could be the result of spinning virtual reels on an animated slot machine, a sports game, or a round of poker.
For a casino to adopt a gambling game, it must fulfill two requirements:
- There must be demand for the game
- The casino must be able to make money
Keep reading below to learn more about what the future might hold for slot machines in casinos.
Many Slot Machine Games Are Inspired by Other Types of Games
Anything and everything that can be made to look like a slot machine game has been done that way. Class II “slot” games are a great example. These are bingo games, plain and simple.
There are two basic ways a contemporary slot game’s results can be decided.
- A single random number determines how much prize is awarded.
- A random number is generated for each “wheel” that spins.
There are slot-like games of skill, like pachinko, that work differently. Class II American slot games and European slot games use single-value determination.
Class III slot games, whether physical or virtual, depend on each reel’s result being independent. Either way, the game designers must account for all the possible combinations of symbols their games use on their reels.
There are slot games that use poker cards and terminology. There are slot games that use roulette cards and terminology. And there are slot games based on every kind of racing or sporting event.
I’ve even seen slot games based on television game shows. The game theme and graphics are pasted onto the spinning reel concept. The whole point of the game is to arrive at some determination of a prize amount ranging from zero to a large jackpot.
Video Card Games Play Much Like Slot Machines
If you’ve ever played video blackjack or video poker, then you know how similar these games are in basic design to slot games.
The game results are displayed on a screen. The player presses on buttons or touches the screen to make choices. The results are based on randomly chosen numbers.
Slot games and video card games differ in how their rules work. But slot games differ from each other in how their rules work, too. Video card games form another branch of the tree of electronic games.
If a game can be packaged in a console with a few buttons and screen, it will be. If the game’s rules can provide a casino with a long-term mathematical advantage or edge, they may offer it.
It’s Easier to Play Slot Games Than to Bet on Sports
Without seeing any data, I believe most people who play slots frequently don’t bet on sports and vice versa. But playing online slot games requires less investment in time and learning than betting on sports through online sites.
Most land-based casinos don’t offer much if anything in the way of sports betting. Some racetracks have begun adding slot machines to their offerings but their main businesses are still racing. Land-based gamblers have a greater opportunity to play slot machines than to bet on horse and dog races.
The learning curve for sports betting is pretty steep compared to learning how to fund a slot game and pushing “Spin.”
Well, I believe that, in order for “slot games to rule the world,” they need to become ubiquitous.
The nearest slot machine game is as close as your smartphone or desktop computer. You’ll find a much more interesting variety in a large land-based casino.
The nearest sports betting app is also as close as your phone or computer, but slot gaming offers a more direct, simpler-to-learn experience than sports betting.
Where Is Slot Gaming Headed Next?
Two emerging technologies are competing for gaming audiences. The first is augmented reality. The Pokemon GO game is a great example of how augmented reality games are easy to implement.
Augmented reality is similar to Virtual reality, where the player dons goggles, gloves, and special suits (if available) to fully experience a completely digital world. The movie Ready Player One is a great example of where VR enthusiasts hope the technology will eventually go.
Augmented reality can use the same tools but doesn’t need them. You can buy a headset for your smartphone and use that headset to view 3D movies and games, but it’s a clumsy hybrid product.
Pokemon GO is a better example of how we’ll play AR games in the future. People remain aware of their surroundings and interact with the real world.
The controversial Google Glass product, which resembles normal eyeglasses, allowed people to view the world through lenses with augmented displays. It’s a lot like the computer readouts you see some characters use in sci-fi movies.
With the right technology, we may one day be able to walk down any street anywhere and look up information about businesses we pass by. We’ll be able to search for profiles of people we meet and dictate electronic voicemails to each other.
This technology could be adapted to a new type of slot gaming.
Enclosed Gaming Kiosks Create an Immersive Experience
As a kid, you may have sat at an arcade game kiosk with a large video screen and speakers on either side of your head. The seat might vibrate at certain times, or even tilt, depending on the game.
The 4D gaming experience is nothing new, but it’s begun appearing in slot machine games from companies like International Game Technology (IGT). The chair and the console are interconnected. A couple years back, I even read an article about a game with an optional enclosed kiosk.
Except for the evolving video screens, slot games are just computer programs that can easily be run on many different machines. Aristocrat has released online versions of some of its classic slot machine cabinets. IGT sells slot machine game software on Amazon.
We may only be a few years away from someone marketing a low-end blank slot machine cabinet for the home.
With a general-purpose 4D gaming kiosk in your home, you could play anything. You could sit in a full-sized flight or race car simulator. You could play League of Legends in an immersive experience.
Imagine feeling your seat shake every time your opponent hits you. And imagine a slot machine bonus game where you have a 360-degree “pick” screen. You virtually reach out and touch things hanging in the air to unlock prizes.
3D Slot Game Simulate a Deep Visual Experience
Using either an enclosed kiosk or an augmented reality app, a slot game could spin reels all around you. You would literally be in the slot game.
And the game needn’t look like a classic “reels” game. Imagine symbols and characters coming and going toward you in a seemingly random sequence. When they stop, you win or lose based on their pattern.
Maybe the 4D slot game would allow you to choose how many game screens to play at once pr how many levels of bets to play. Your favorite horse racing slot game could be replaced by a virtual horse race.
Any extension to the slot gaming experience that keeps things simple, but adds a new interest factor, will keep the field competitive with other types of gambling.
While it may not be a foregone conclusion that slot games will rule the future, they offer the most opportunity for evolutionary development.
Innovations in sports betting will make it easier to bet on sports in the future. I’m sure we’ll one day have voice interfaces that take our desires and convert them into sports bets.
But the slot gaming revolution may only have just begun. What we call slot games today may grow into a fully-immersive gaming experience unlike anything we’ve seen before. And we’ll be able to bet on what happens inside these games.
That’s why my money is on slots remaining the dominant market in gambling.