Being someone who is rather old compared to the modern online slot gamer, many of whom are still fresh-faced, wet-behind-the-ears very neatly groomed types, I am one of those people that can remember the days when playing slot games online was just the dream of a madman.
Back when I started playing, slots were to be found only in casinos and arcades, and in some countries in pubs and similar venues. Your selection was limited to the games that were available in each place, and the quality of each varied greatly. The internet was still very much in the dim recesses of Tim Berners-Lee's mind and the 16k ZX81 personal computer was reckoned to be the height of technological achievement.
So for my formative years as a slot gamer, the only way I could play slot games was to venture forth into these places and slide a few dolalrs into the machine for a few spins. That is how slots were and that is what they always seemed destined to be.
Then in the 1990s, the Internet happened and the revolution in slot gaming began.
Microgaming brought us the first online casino in 1994 and the first slot games appeared online at the same time. Now, you could play slots using your computer.
Now I am not talking an 8-bit game which simulated a slot where you could not win real money at all, but just pretend cash that was only useful to you to spend on your game. These new slots offered you a chance to win real money, like when you play real slots in the real world.
It is really hard to understate how incredible this seemed to many slot players at first. Of course, slot fans are not the most trusting lot, so we wanted to see these games in action first before we started to offer up our hard earned cash to try them out. Along with regulation to protect us and testing by the likes of eCOGRA to ensure safe and fair gaming, we soon realized that online slots were here and here to stay.
The slots landscape had changed to the point nowadays where the vast majority of slot players will do the majority, if not all, their playing on slots, online.
And with that comes a number of benefits that are only apparent to you if you have ever played slots in some of the places that I have. So, without any further ado, here are my reasons why playing online slots is a far more enjoyable experience than playing in the real world.
Without doubt the most beneficial aspect of online slot gaming is the convenience. Whether it is at your desktop computer or laptop, on a tablet or playing via your smartphone, you can now play slots almost anywhere, at any time and on almost any device.
In the pre-internet days, a few spins on a slot would involve getting dressed up and heading somewhere either in a car, on a bus or a train and then spending more of your money to get to the place than you actually wanted to play on the slot.
Head into a pub or casino or arcade and your choice of games is limited to those in that venue. Head online and you have a choice of hundreds of top slots to play. Furthermore, in some pubs and venues, I can remember there being a huddle of people around the single slot machine in the place all wanting to play and all waiting their turn.
There's none of this waiting around online, you can play any of the slots at any of the casinos quickly and easily.
Yes, this has happened to me. I visited an arcade a few years ago and one slot caught my eye. I cannot remember the name of it, but I can remember liking the display and deciding to have a few spins. I put my coin into the slot and then hit the spin button and felt something squelch under my fingers.
The last user (presumably) had decided to smear tomato sauce over the button, so now my hands were coated in it. I went to the change kiosk to ask for a tissue and to tell them about it, I was told to that "someone will clean it later...". That made me decide to give the games in that particular place a wide berth.
Goodness knows what some other games would have had all over their buttons or how long it would have been left to fester there.
At online casinos, you only tend to deal with someone if you contact customer support, or if you play Live Casino games. In the real world, I played in many casinos where the staff were lovely and helpful. However, there were just a few who didn't really fit into that category.
I remember one time when my friend and I went into one establishment in London, when visiting there, and decided to play a pub quiz game. I flatter myself to say that I am not too bad on these games and my friend was just as clever as me. We paid our 50 pennies and by the end of our game, we had won three pounds.
As we hit the collect button, we head a rather strange voice behind us..." That's the last game on that lads, eh?" and we turned to see the manager (assumedly) of the place giving us an evil stare and barely hiding his displeasure.
With that he flicked the electricity on the machine off and walked off before we could say anything.
I have to admit, I love my slots and I will enter somewhere intent on just having a few spins then coming out. If I spend my money and don't win, then that is fine. I don't ever spend more than I set out with.
However, if I land a win, then I will admit to being hopeless at walking past the grab a prize games. On slot games, I can play through my allotted cash, pocket my winnings and walk away quite happily. I have all the self-control in the world for that.
But if I have a few quid in my pocket after a win and I see a prize grabber machine, then something comes over me. I am certain there is something addictive in the grabber control that just makes me throw $3 in to win a teddy bear that probably cost about $1 in total.
Of course, these machines can vary somewhat. Some are fair and give you a fair chance to win if you are lucky or skillful enough. Others have had the grabber springs on the mechanism loosened to the point that if it grabbed a feather, it would open and collapse under the weight.
I reckon over the years; I am about break even on slot games and that's because of online slots!