How and why online slots continue to attract new players

The popularity of online casinos
In the last ten years or so, online casinos and online gambling have witnessed a boom in popularity. In 2019, the online gambling market was worth just under US$59 billion, and is expected to grow by over 50% by 2023 to over US$90 billion.
Many operators in this market look at ways to attract new players, including the backbone of the market, the slot machine game. 53% of social casino players in the UK, US and Australia playing slots on a regular basis. According to Statista, almost 50% of casino visitors in the US play slots, compared to just 16% playing blackjack and 6% playing poker. By offering a number of different incentives to attract and retain players, including free spins no deposit options, online slot operators are doing what they can to remain the casino of choice.
Key drivers of this huge market growth:

  • Advent of the smart phone; this provides a portable and more convenient option for players to access online casinos from anywhere: from their daily commute to the comfort of the sofa!
  • Increased connectivity on the go; mobile data is now the norm.
  • Affordability of technology; there is a device for every budget.
  • The rise of casual gamers.
  • An increase in the number of female gamers.
  • New law changes, in the US a number of online gambling laws are being passed in several states.

The relatively low barriers to entry into the market, and the growing popularity of online gambling has created a highly competitive market. Operators need to ensure that they are doing all they can to attract new players and retain existing ones.
Attract New Players
 
 
Research has found that more females are now starting to play more casino games such as slots.
 
 
But how do they do this?

  • Welcome Bonuses

Most operators will offer some sort of welcome bonus, be it matching an initial deposit (or even double or triple matching), gifting an initial amount so that players can try out the game without risking any money, or even offering out of game bonuses.

  • Daily Rewards

Daily rewards are a way to build customer loyalty and to ensure players keep coming back. By getting players hooked on their offering, players are unlikely to also play elsewhere.

  • VIP Clubs

Some operators offer an exclusive club to their most dedicated players; either those who spend the most money or those who log the most game time. Either way, it can be seen as a badge of honour, and players will often get better returns, or free games as a reward.

  • Regular promotions

Operators will also run regular promotions that all players can access. This is a keyway to get players back on board, and to increase engagement.

  • Live Casino games

Live casino games aim to replicate the land-based casino feel but without the inconvenience of travelling to a land-based casino. By replicating aspects of a traditional casino, operators are able to provide a more authentic experience for players.

  • Chat rooms

The social element of online casinos is also very important, so online casinos that offer forums and chat rooms are particularly popular, as players can meet like-minded individuals. Additionally, many operators have added functionality to ensure players can stay safe, such as the ability to mute other players (so that the player will not see their chat), and a report function for offensive or scamming behaviour.
Slots
Slots are the most popular game in casinos by far. There are over 1.14 million slot machines in casinos worldwide, and account for 70% of casino revenues in the US.

  • Very easy to play

Slots require no skill to play, players literally pick one and click, and the game does the rest. This means that it is an excellent game for all abilities and is particularly popular with novices.

  • Individual play

Players can play as and when they want to play individually. They can stop and start when suits them, as unlike other casino games like poker or roulette, there is no need to wait for a dealer or other players to place bets or take their turn.

Slot games can be played individually

 
 

Slot games can be played individually unlike many other casino games that consist of other players.

 
 

  • Variety of themes

Slot games lend themselves well to being themed, and this in turn increases their appeal. Those who may not otherwise gamble may give the slots a spin if they see their favourite TV show of musician on the front.

  • Great potential

Slots are traditionally low risk, low reward games, but there have been some notable instances where life changing sums have been won. The top win was just shy of US$40 million in 2004, not bad for a couple of hours’ work!

  • Engaging

Slots are recognised as one of the most satisfying games to play. The lights, the music, the upbeat trills that signal a win all trigger a rush of endorphins, and players are constantly chasing the win.

  • Accessible

Slots are often one of the only games that can be player for free in an online casino. By just registering, players can access a pool of virtual money that they can use to play the slots. They may not be able to withdraw any winnings, but it is a proven way to get people in and they are likely to go on to spend money following a free taster. Slots are also one of the cheaper options in a casino, where some machines accept bets of mere pennies; many will not think twice about spending such a small amount.
 

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