Online slots games have come a long way over the past decade or two. Once, it was a case of pressing the button or pulling the lever and hoping for some matching symbols. Today, increased gamification and a greater focus on bonus games and complex story arcs means the slots themselves are almost forgotten. However, with any casino style game, whether it’s a slot or a table game, the underlying objective is always to scoop that big win.

Brick and mortar casinos are full of stories about big winners. Vegas still resonates to the story of the software engineer who won almost $40 million on a single spin in 2003. 15 years on, and that’s still the biggest win ever. Meanwhile last Christmas, a Montrealer hit the headlines with his $1.8 million win at the Casino de Montreal.

But what about the online versions? Can they really make you rich, or should you just be playing for fun? The answer might surprise you.

The biggest online slot scoop ever

Online slots work using exactly the same RNGs as physical ones, and are just as highly regulated and audited, if not more so. The biggest win ever using an online slot was an incredible €17,879,645, which equates to more than $20 million. It was won by British Army Officer Jon Heywood, playing the Mega Moolah slots game back in October 2015. The win made it into the Guinness Book of Records and is just waiting to be beaten.

The thing about online slots games is that mathematically, they present a better chance of a win than physical machines. This is for two reasons:

  1. The online casino market is so competitive that the different providers offer big bonuses such as free spins – this means your bankroll lasts longer, so the chance of a win improves.
  2. An online games provider has fewer overheads than a physical arcade or casino. So they can operate on lower margins, meaning the machines typically have a better payout percentage.

Is spinning to win the best chance of success?

It’s one of the perennial questions in online gaming. What games represent the best chance of success? There is no clear cut answer – if one game gave a palpably better chance than the rest, it would rapidly corner the market rendering the others obsolete.

However, those payout percentages we mentioned earlier certainly provide a clue. A slot machine has a typical payout percentage of around 90 percent, meaning for every dollar invested, 90 cents are paid out. How does this compare with table games? Well, a single zero roulette wheel has a house edge of 2.7 percent, meaning a payout percentage of 97.3 percent.

Does this mean you are better off playing roulette? For short term wins, perhaps you are, but remember, the winnings are constrained by the table limits and the amount you stake. A $10 bet at the roulette wheel will never make you a multi millionaire, and ultimately, that’s why the slots have their almost magical appeal.

Josh Canales
Texas born, raised, and trying to escape. Aspiring comic book writer. Lover of animals, large and small.

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