The online gambling sector in the UK is booming. And it’s not always good news. You’ve probably seen a lot of news about dangerous gambling habits, addiction, and maybe even some horror stories.
All of those stories are true!
So, you need to be aware of the dangers of online gambling and you need to know how to stay safe.
Here’s what you need to know:
Slots Make Money – for their owners
The online casino business is booming. And not just in the sense that more people are playing slots and table games and live casino games, but also because the industry is making huge amounts of money.
That money is lost bets. The profit of a casino is the loss of players. You should know this before you start playing.
The vast majority of players will have an average experience when they gamble. And the average is recorded in figures like the theoretical return to player (RTP) that every slot has to show players. This figure tells you how a game will perform over its lifetime. The average for slots is about 96% around now. That’s a “house edge” of 4%, and that figure is built into the mathematics that the game runs on.
The dream of online slots is a single, big, life-changing win. That can happen, but it is extraordinarily unlikely – literally millions to one against in most cases.
Getting into financial trouble is the nightmare. Online slots needn’t be like that, but you need to acknowledge the simple fact that most players will lose a small amount of money.
Think of slots as entertainment, and like a football match or a rock gig you have to pay for entertainment. If you enjoy slots as entertainment then play away. If you’re playing for cash. Just stop.
Slots are not games of skill
Are you “good” at slots?
Well done if you said, “no,”, because no-one is.
Slots are run on mathematics. And they are random. Each spin is independent of the last and from the next. As they are genuinely random, there is every chance that your next spin will be a lucky one. But there is nothing you can do about it.
Accept that slot games are random and there is nothing you can do to change that or to improve your chances.
There are no betting strategies or tricks of the trade to get around this simple fact, and if you accept that then you can start to have a healthy and fun relationship with these games.
Slots are simple, not can be complex
The basics of slot games aren’t hard to master, but you’ll have a better time if you start to understand them.
We’ve said there’s no skill in slots, and that’s’ true, but understanding the game will help you avoid the mistakes that might cost you big time.
Slots are set up with reels that “spin” virtually to deliver a set of symbols. These symbols are then checked against pay lines (or other combination methods like clusters), to look for matches. In general, the more matching symbols you have the higher the prize.
Under the main game screen – or to the side – you’ll find controls. These always include a big spin button.
Also betting controls. These may allow you to set your bet as a single number, or as a combination of coin size (the value of the coin unit), pay lines (the number of lines you’re laying a bet on), and the number of coins you’re risking. The figure that matters is the total stake when there is more than one option.
Bigger bets mean bigger prizes
Bigger bets mean bigger prizes. But remember, you’re playing for fun, so if you want to enjoy more spins you should keep your bets low.
Click or tap around the controls and make sure you know what everything does before you play. And try out games in demo mode too.
Beyond the first game, you may find a bonus round or a set of them.
To find out about these games you’ll need to open the information or pay table window. This will show you how much your bets can win and will also explain any bonus games.
Most slot games have a wild symbol that acts as a wild card in poker to become the symbol that guarantees the highest win.
Wilds can also have extra characteristics like expanding to take up extra symbols or adding multipliers to wins.
Free is big money!
The classic bonus in most slots is a free spins round.
This is usually delivered via a bonus symbol called a scatter. Scatters are called so because they trigger their reward whether or not they are adjoined to the other symbols in the winning set. So, for example, to win a cash prize you would need to see three cherries in a line, but three bonus symbols anywhere on the reels will give you a win and trigger the bonus.
Free spins rounds are just what they say they are: free bets! Most carry over the bet they were won on, and 10 is a standard sort of number. Some free spins rounds can be won again, others have a limit. Most come with some extra features for players to get even bigger wins, these might include extra special symbols, multipliers, or different prize games.
Almost everything in a modern video slot is automated.
Normally, the only thing a player has to do is to select the amount they want to bet and then to press the start button.
This is a generalisation, but it’s rare that you will need to make many more choices. Some games ask you to pick something at random in order to reveal prizes.
There is rarely anything to be scared of: you will not have to make high-consequence decisions at speed; and if you are ever in doubt, hit the information button and read up on the rules.
Risk and Reward
Slot games are random. And they will return a profit to their operators.
The only other figure that is featured in most reviews and the one that might influence your choice of game is the volatility – also called variability.
This figure measures how often prizes are awarded against how big those prizes are.
High volatility games award higher prizes, but award them less often. Lower volatility games are the opposite. A medium volatility game is just what it sounds like, and most games hit this measure.
Whatever you’re playing the most important thing about online video slots is to play them safely.
Play at licensed UK casino sites only, play with money you can afford to lose only and play for the amount of time you planned to and spending an amount of money you planned to.
And then have fun!