Looking at the technology behind slot machines

It can be said that we do not always fully understand or appreciate the technology that we use every day. In our pockets alone, there is fairly advanced technology that just a decade or two ago would have been unimaginable to the lay person. Beyond mobile devices, this is also true of some of the technology that is based on an old concept but has been modernised due to recent technological developments

Take slot machines for example. If you have ever used one of the old-fashioned slot machines, then it is obvious how they work and how the reels can spin randomly in order to potentially provide matches. With more modern slot machines and slot games it is not so clear as to how things work. 

How people play slot games

There are a few different places where people go to play slot games, and there are also many different ways to play the game. As well as a traditional casino, you can also find slot machines in public houses or even in service stations. Of course, there is also the option to play slot games online, with most online casino operators having a large number of slot games in their portfolio. In recent years, the industry has grown hugely. Everything from how we make online payments to the way games are developed has changed significantly and this has had a positive effect on online slots in particular.

There are very few of the “old-fashioned” slot machines still functioning. These machines used a form of clockwork and spring-loading to determine a random outcome of the game. You twisted a bar against a powerful spring that withdrew the reel stops. At the end of your stroke, there was a hook that came off a cam which hit some plates, in turn spinning the reels. It was random by nature. No matter how people play slot machines in the modern age, they tend to be playing digital versions of these games. So how do they work?

How do modern slot machines work

Slot machines tend to have reels within the design. Back in the days of physical slots there may have been anything from 15 to 25 symbols on the reels, but digital slots can handle a lot more. Usually they pay out if you get symbols combined on a “payline”. 

Slot machines run off a random number generator. This is a mathematical device that is used in many other areas, such as statistics. These generate thousands of numbers each minute and the sequence and combination of symbols is dictated by this. If you are able to match symbols as a result of the random number generator, then you can win prizes. The idea is that the slot outcomes are random, not only for that one spin but for all future spins. 

These number generators are regulated by many of the licensing bodies on the market, meaning that they are truly random and must meet very particular specifications to be allowed for use in the industry. These RNGs are put into software that is used to run the slot games that you might find on a machine in a pub or a casino. The idea is that they are always completely random, so nobody has a better chance of winning than anyone else. Also, it means that the companies making the games can be verified.

Slot Machine Variations

Of course, slot machines themselves have more options than ever, along with the slot games that you can play online. They run on software now, meaning they can always be updated. Many of the biggest slot game developers have hundreds of different options for people to play. Some allow you to choose different paylines, change the stake on each spin, and some even have mini bonus games included.

Each slot developer tends to have its own style and type of games, with a lot of different features becoming popular as they add something a little different to the way people play. Slot machines are also made by many different companies, so it is possible that one of the games you find in a bar will be quite different from a machine in another bar. Audio and visuals are hugely important in modern slot games, and advances in technology allow for the development of entertaining and immersive slots.


The technology behind the way slot machines work has shifted from hardware to software. The technology behind slot games must tick a lot of boxes. As well as keeping it fair for everyone playing, they also have to be dependable and interesting for the players to keep them coming back. This means that developers make constant changes and improvements to their games, which in turn means that there is a huge variety of exciting and entertaining slot games available both in land based and online casinos. 

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer

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