Casinos have been a wildly popular way to enjoy oneself for over a century, and over the past couple of decades there has been a clear shift into the digital realm.
Online casino games are now played by tens of millions of people across the globe, largely because they offer the potential winnings and excitement of land-based casinos without the hassle of travelling to one.
Bettors can now log on via their computer – or better yet, their smartphone – and dive into whichever online casino games that take their fancy.
They can do this from the comfort of their own home or on the go; it’s this sort of convenience that has seen the player base for online casino games explode in recent years.
Developers are well aware of this and have responded accordingly, creating new games and innovating current ones to attract customers and grow their player bases.
So, what online casino games are people playing? Unsurprisingly, the trends follow those seen in land-based casinos, and that means slots are some of the most-played games out there.
Part of the appeal of slot games is their simplicity; they don’t require skill or prior knowledge, it’s almost exclusively down to luck. This makes them accessible to pretty much anyone of legal age.
Slots can also pay out huge jackpots off a relatively small stake; it doesn’t cost much to take a spin on a slot machine, and progressive jackpots can reach into the millions.
What marks online slot games out from their land-based counterparts is how interactive they can be. While traditional slot machines have fun themes and sometimes video and audio features, the online versions can take this much further.
Popular titles like Book of Dead and Starburst have extravagant designs but they also feature extras like mini games and different ways of winning. Developers are constantly tweaking their slot game offerings because of the potential to enhance them in a variety of ways.
Card games are also extremely popular online, and blackjack is one of the consistent leaders in terms of player numbers. Like slots, part of this popularity is down to the fact that the game is quite simple.
Players bet against the dealer to add their cards up to a value of 21, or as close as possible, without going over. Each time they’re dealt a card, the player either sticks (they keep the cards, and the value they add up to, as they are) or twist (they’re dealt another card, and that value is added to their total).
Blackjack games are often quick and don’t require huge chunks of time, which is what makes them so ideal for online casinos. Players can dip in, play a couple of games, and dip back out with ease.
Online, blackjack games are usually played against an AI, however more developers are now introducing live games with live dealers, making the experience even more immersive.
Poker, of course, is another online casino game with a huge player base. It’s more complex than slots and blackjack, but it’s one of the most popular casino games of all time for a reason.
Poker, despite being a single player game, is often quite a social experience and online casinos embrace this with things like chat features and leaderboards. This creates a sense of community among online poker players, providing a more wholesome experience.
Like blackjack, online poker games often come in video form now, with a real-life dealer running the game live. Unlike blackjack, however, poker requires a high level of skill and experience.
This often makes the game more rewarding for those who play it, as it is less to do with luck and more to do with their competence as a player. It also creates more of an opportunity to improve at the game over time.
Roulette is a casino game that moved into machines a while ago; it’s a popular choice on touch-screen machines found in land-based bookmakers and casinos. So, its transition to online casinos has been a relatively smooth one.
All of the major developers, from NetEnt to Arrow’s Edge, offer various different types of online roulette games. Like other popular games, blackjack works almost exclusively on luck.
You select a number – or several – and if the ball lands on one of those numbers after it’s spun, you win. It’s simple and fast, making it ideal for online players.
While there isn’t much room for innovation and change, like there is with slot games, roulette doesn’t really need it. It’s a straightforward game that is extremely popular online largely because of its format and capacity for large winnings.
What also gives online casino games an edge over land-based ones are the promotions that can be offered by suppliers. Offers like free spins on slots or free games of blackjack are common promotions to attract new customers.
These give power to the consumer and can be a great way of minimising risk and making some more money.
Online casino games look set to continue their growth in popularity and heavy-hitters like slots, blackjack and poker remain some of the most popular choices of players.