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A Closer Look At How Online Slots Work


Slots are fascinating games. They use exciting visual design, engaging sound effects, and dazzling special effects to keep you on the edge of your seat. But what’s really going on behind all the bells and whistles? What are the mechanics that decide if you’re a winner or a loser? More to the point, are slot games really scams, or is that all just myth and rumor?

Let’s take a closer look at slot games, learn how they really work, and debunk any untrue myths.

Are Slots Scams?

There is a long-running rumor that slot games are scams. Some stories say that slot machines closest to the doors in casinos pay out more. Other stories say that slots lure you in with an easy win, then do nothing but give you losses the rest of the time. Is any of this possibly true?

The short answer is that, no, none of the stories you hear about slots are true. The truth is that slots are all strictly regulated, meaning that it is nigh impossible for any of them to be scams. This is, of course, assuming that you only play casinos that operate under a license. Any gambling venue, online or land-based that operates with a license is strictly following a strict set of rules. If any casino abuses its license, the government shuts it down immediately. Yes, in case you were wondering, casinos are regularly audited by the government.

This is why it’s important for you to only play at online casinos that have a license. You can check that a site has a license simply by looking at the footer of the homepage.

What Is RNG?

So, how does a slot decide if you win or lose? Firstly, a slot doesn’t decide anything. It is simply a software program that works according to a set of rules. When you spin, the software draws from a pool of Random Number Generation (RNG.) Depending on which number is randomly drawn, you either win or lose. A similar system is in use in many video games, such as the popular Elden Ring.

But what is RNG? Hardware RNG is a system that does nothing but generate completely random numbers, hundreds of thousands at a time. No one knows which numbers are coming up, and it is literally impossible to predict which numbers will come. RNG is a solitary system that even engineers can’t influence. As you can guess, all online casino games use RNG as the core of their operations.


To put it simply, slots and other casino games are 100% fair, 100% of the time.

What Is RTP?

If you visit an online casino, you’ll notice that the slots are given a Return To Player (RTP) percentage. What is RTP, and why do some players insist on only playing games with a high RTP? The RTP statistic of a slot is the amount that the game will give back to the player, over a period of time. If a slot is given a 98% RTP rating, this means that for every $1 you bet, 98% of that $1 is given back to you. However, there is no telling when the slot will give the money back. It is this random nature that makes slots so exciting. At popular sites like ZAR Casino each slot is given an RTP rating.

But is it really beneficial that a slot has a high RTP rating? Yes, it can be, though this isn’t the only statistic that is important.

What is Variance And Volatility?

Every slot game is also given a variance or volatility rating; variance and volatility are the same thing. What does it mean? A slot either gives out bigger payouts less frequently or smaller payouts very frequently. A game with a low variance is going to pay out on almost every spin, though the payout amount isn’t necessarily going to be very big. A high-variance game may only pay out once every few spins, but each payout is much bigger.

Either way, the payout amounts over time are going to add up to roughly the same. It’s all a matter of when the payouts occur. Importantly, however, both low and high-variance slots tend to give out jackpots at roughly the same rate. You can try out both low and high-variance versions of slots and see which you prefer.

What Is A Progressive Slot?

Speaking of jackpots, who doesn’t want the chance to walk away a multi-millionaire? Progressive slots offer exactly that chance, with jackpots often ranging in the tens of millions. But how do casinos afford to pay out such enormous jackpot prizes?

Progressive slots exist in a network. All progressive slots of the same type are linked, and every time a player takes a spin, a small amount of the bet goes towards the jackpot. So, the longer the jackpot exists, the higher the amount climbs. Eventually, the jackpot will start to reach enormous amounts.


Of course, it isn’t easy to win a progressive jackpot. On average, a big progressive jackpot is won every 22 weeks. That’s a lot of spins, so clearly, the odds aren’t good. Even still, if you want a shot at being a multi-millionaire, try out a few progressive slots for yourself.

Can I Win Playing Slots?

Yes, of course, you can win playing slots. Slots payout frequently, far more so than playing the national lottery. So you always have a good chance of getting a payout. If you’re wondering if you can win a jackpot, then it’s a different story. All slots, even the standard kind, offer a jackpot. How likely you are to win a jackpot varies, but there is always a chance of winning.

In fact, the most interesting thing about progressive slots is that all players, no matter how many there are, have an equal chance of becoming a millionaire.

If you want to play a gambling game that you can win more often, depending on your skill, you’ll want to try out Blackjack or Poker. Slots are and always will be, games of luck alone.