The history of online iGaming is almost as long as the history of the internet, and online slots are one of the most natural forms for online gambling to take. For many they represent a fun diversion and a light way to dip their toes into the waters of digital casinos. It’s important, however, to know how to stay safe while you play them.
The early days of online iGaming were marked by the sound of the dial up tone and painfully slow download times. Still, online slots were a relatively easy starting point for the online casino industry.
An online slot is, after all, perhaps the type of game that’s most naturally similar to its offline counterpart. There’s an interface, an input, a series of flashy graphics, and an output. Rinse and repeat.
The only difference is that instead of pulling a lever, you’re clicking a digital button. But there’s little loss of atmosphere or interactivity like you might experience with, say, digital roulette.
Flash forward to super-fast fibre broadband, loosened regulatory frameworks and the deep penetration of smartphone technology and online gambling has exploded in popularity. It’s easier than ever for customers to have a casual (or not so casual) flutter without ever having to leave the comfort of their own home.
– The 2020 effect on online gambling
The popularity of online gambling has surged in 2020, driven in no small part by Covid 19 forcing many to stay at home, unable to access their usual forms of entertainment in bricks and mortar premises.
According to a report by researchandmarkets.com the online casino market grew from $58.9 billion USD in 2019 to a whopping $66.7 billion in 2020, powered by a serious growth rate of 13.2 per cent.
The report anticipates that growth rate dropping back a little, but not by all that much. It projects a CAGR of 11.64 per cent over the next couple of years.
The market will be worth $92.9 billion USD by 2023, the report claims. Following the previous year bump, it will continue to be driven by technological improvements.
Some newer technologies such as virtual reality, might not impact slots all that directly – they don’t suffer from the same loss of immersion compared to their physical counterparts as these are usually computer-based anyway.
Increasingly operators are making a strong online presence such as Megaways Slots and striving to retain that typical casino atmosphere with glitzy graphics and a massive variety of slot machines. Customer of online casinos may also be concerned about payment safety, but more is also being done in this regard to ensure 100% for your funds.
Technologies like Blockchain, is expected to increase levels of trust in online gambling among users who can’t currently see the mechanisms driving their games.
Meanwhile, smartphone technology is penetrating further and further into new markets in developing countries, opening up new potential channels of revenue.
Elsewhere, the legislative environment is becoming more comfortable for online casino operators in the United States, with state after state looking to capitalise on the loosening of federal restrictions to capture tax revenue.
In short, the growth of online gambling in general and online slots in particular is unable to slacken off any time soon, making it more important than ever that potential users know how to keep themselves safe while playing online.
It’s worth noting that while a small number might engage in fraudulent activity, most are reputable. And, as more countries legalise and therefore regulate online operators, they’re trending towards being safer.
Still, vigilance is advised, whether it’s watching out for suspicious activity or monitoring your own behaviour.
Here are some rules of thumb for playing in a safe, manageable way:
– 1. Read the terms and conditions
Read the terms and conditions carefully, as they don’t all operate in the same way. When it comes, for example, to depositing and withdrawing money, they may want different forms of identity. Check how you can get your money out, too – a recognised service like PayPal might make life easier.
– 2. Only ever open one account with an online casino
For most of us, ending up with more than one account with an internet service is part and parcel of life online, whether it’s because you’ve forgotten about a pre-existing account, forgotten your details or want to take part in an introductory offer.
It’s the latter of these reasons that makes online casino operators look askance at multiple accounts. They don’t want you receiving a welcome bonus twice, and will use multiple accounts as a reason not to pay out.
– 3. Check the credibility of the software you’re using
Learn what sort of games to look for. Some of the bigger, reputable names include Net Ent, Playtech, Microgaming and Realtimegaming. If you haven’t heard of the software an online slot vendor is using, check them out. Google for reviews. Find out how long they’ve been established for.
– 4. How does it look?
This might sound pretty basic, but how does the site or app you’re using look? Is it up to date? Has money been spent on presentation? Just as you might be wary of a shabby looking bricks and mortar casino, a dated site could be indicative of a rogue operator looking to make a quick buck.
Also consider how much effort they put into getting you to come back. A rip-off operator doesn’t want you to come back as you’re more likely to see through the scam.
What many of these tips boil down to, however, is simple vigilance. Don’t get carried away, keep your antenna out for signs of danger, and you should be fine.