Slot machines have had casino-goers hooked for over a century. The first ever slot machine was launched in 1887, with the first video slot machine appearing in 1976. Since then, each new wave of technology has brought with it a new form of slot machine, with new computer software, the internet and mobile gaming platforms having changed the way slot machines operate forever.
Online slots are the latest major reinvention of the slot machine, where they now reach a global audience, 24/7. Online slots have been in operation since the mid-90s, with Gaming Club launching their online casino and online slots site back in 1994. Today they are now one of the most played casino games in the world, both on and offline. While people all over the globe now play slots on a daily basis, it seems some countries have more of an affinity with these games than others.
America is the world’s biggest slot player. There are now over 800,000 slot machines in the US, taking up 70% of the country’s casino floor share. According to figures published by the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, in 2008 slots in Nevada outnumbered table games 10:1, amassing revenues of $671 million in the month of April alone, and accounted for almost 70% of the state’s total gaming revenues.
The Australians also have a real passion for slots, or ‘pokies’ as the Australians call them. Australia is now the largest slot gaming market in the Asia Pacific region, with slots outnumbering table games 6:1. There are now over 200,000 machines in the country – that’s one slot game machine for every 105 people based on the latest population estimate of 21.1 million people.
Europe – Italy
Europe, with its more relaxed gaming regulations, is the world’s largest gaming market, accounting for 45% of the world’s total gaming revenues, compared with America’s 25% share and Asia’s 25% share. Italy is Europe’s biggest slots player by far, with a particular love of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs). This variations of slots is the most played casino game in the country by a long way. A study carried out by MAG Consulenti Associati found that VLTs accounted for almost half of Italy’s total gaming revenue in the first half of 2010, and the latest figure’s from the country’s official regulator confirm that VLTs continued to top the country’s gaming revenue tables by a long margin in 2011.