When it comes to land-based casinos, the game has changed completely when it comes to slot machines. Today, slot machines have more in common with multimedia games based on TV shows and movies. You’ll get all sorts of video footage, bonus games and officially licensed sound bites. What you won’t get in abundance is slot machine play. Many of today’s money slot machines make the traditional ‘spin the reels’ slot machine experience almost an afterthought. While this might be good for inexperienced players who are enticed by the specific TV show or movie but not as much for slot machine enthusiasts.

That assumes that you’re playing an ‘actual’ slot machine at a land-based casino or other venues. Outside of Nevada, you’re more likely to be playing a video lottery terminal orClass II’ slot machine. A video lottery terminal uses a central server to distribute prizes. If the server determines you’ve won a prize it doesn’t matter what you do on your end–you’re going to get a prize. The randomization process happens not in the slot machine but in the server at the lottery commission headquarters. If you’re in Oregon and a couple other states you’ll play actual slot machines with an ‘on board’ random number generator (RNG). In most states where the lottery runs video-based games, you’re playing a server based game.

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The other variation of slot machines has become extremely common. In many states, you won’t find the kind of slot machines that you’ll find in Las Vegas. They may look the same and play the same–at least until you look closer. You are very likely to be playing a ‘Class II’ machine and particularly if you’re at a Native American run casino in many parts of North America. A ‘Class II’ slot machine differs from the type you’ll find in Las Vegas (which are ‘Class III’ slot machines) since they’re run in jurisdictions where ‘casino gambling’ is prohibited but ‘bingo-type games’ are allowed.

These slots are at their essence glorified bingo games–but all of the bingo gameplay happens ‘under the hood’. The casino’s central server runs a variety of different ‘bingo games’ involving certain groups of machines or all of the networked machines in the casino. A certain number of prizes is distributed in every ‘bingo game’ and delivered to the ‘winning players’. A complex algorithm translates the outcome into a slot machine or video poker result and this is delivered to each player. The player might not notice the difference–he presses a button or spins the wheels. If he sees a winning pattern, he gets a prize and otherwise, he loses. In reality, the input of the player simply doesn’t matter–it’s all the result of the ‘bingo game’ played at the server level.

This might not change the slot machine experience appreciably but it is very significant on ‘Class II’ video poker machines. If the server ‘bingo game’ decides to award you a prize you’re going to get that prize. If you hold the wrong cards, you’ll magically have them replaced by the winning cards. In some cases, an actual genie appears on the screen to ‘zap’ your non-winning cards into winning cards. This doesn’t matter to some players but other players can’t stand the thought that their input has no real impact on the outcome of the game.


All of this has created an environment in which online casinos provide the most traditional ‘real slot machine’ experience. Most casinos offer games that are technologically advanced–but still clearly slot machines. You won’t find videos of the ‘Sex and the City Girls’ or the cast of ‘Game of Thrones’ but you will find a state of the art, real slot machine experience. With the exception of games run by certain state or provincial lottery commissions, you won’t find ‘video lottery terminals’ or ‘Class II’ machines. You’ll find a real slot machine experience that is becoming increasingly difficult to get in land-based casinos.

We get it– there are some experiences that are unique to land-based casinos. But if you’re looking for a straightforward slot machine experience you’re much more likely to get it online than in a local casino outside of Las Vegas or Atlantic City.