How slots work

Slots are the most popular casino game. The basic rules of this game have not changed since 1899 when Charles Fay set up the first slot machine. A player bets and spins a set of reels with symbols. Each of these spinning reels stops at a random position. The player wins if the reels stop in a way that makes a line with the same symbols. The rarer the winning symbols, the higher the win amount. The win amount for each winning combination is defined in the pay table.

Today, the randomness of the reels, which were mechanically locked, has been replaced by random numbers generated by a computer, however the principles remain the same. These principles of randomness are honoured by all licensed game providers. The randomness of slots has several very interesting consequences, and it is important that all players understand these.

Most online slots continue to use reels to represent the outcome of each spin. Although the reels are processed by a computer, the mathematics of the game still have 3 to 5 sets of symbols (virtual reels) that stop at random positions.

Modern online slots have many new features that would not be possible with mechanical reels. Such as wild symbols, scatter symbols, free spins, bonus rounds and more.


All fair slot machine games have one thing in common: the outcome of each round is based solely on a random number provided by a Random Number Generator (RNG). The random number generated by the RNG “tells” the reels when to stop and therefore decides the outcome of the game. This means that the same game with the same random number should always give the same result.

The higher the value of your bets, the higher (usually) the rate of return to the player from the betting system. Assuming all other rules of that system remain the same.

1- The RNG generates a random number.
2- The game’s math module gets the random number and calculates where the reels should stop.
3- The game stops the reels at the given positions and calculates the result of the round.
4- The result of the spin is then displayed.

Your win (or loss) on each spin is determined purely by your luck. The result is not influenced by your previous win/loss, nor the win/loss of other players, nor anything predictable.

Modern RNGs used in online casinos are dedicated hardware devices that generate random numbers from electromagnetic noise. The hardware RNG generates thousands of random numbers every second. So, on the one hand, you change the outcome of the next round if you press the “start” button a second later. On the other hand, you have no chance to predict whether the result will be better for you or not. Therefore, fair randomness remains.

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