Slots continue to be the leading online gambling format despite a general downward trend in overall online gambling.
According to statistics published recently by the Gambling Commission, the three months ending September 2023 saw gross gambling yield from slots up nearly 8% compared to the same quarter last year, topping out at £589m for the quarter. The total number of spins grew by 11%, with monthly active accounts peaking at an average of an impressive 3.8m per month. Similar findings were reported from self-service betting terminals (SSBTs), which saw spins increase by 15.5%, 16.3% and 30% on the year over each of the three months.
In contrast, online real-event betting gross gambling yields fell 5%, down to a little over £428m for the quarter, while other gaming (including casino games) were down nearly 6%.
Slot play duration eased off to an average of 17 minutes, with only 7% of sessions lasting over an hour. In general though, slots have shown remarkable durability and even growth – in terms of both revenue and activity – despite a general decline in other industry activities.
So, what is it about slots that keeps players coming back, encourages new players to get involved, and drives growth in revenue and engagement across the UK's top slot sites?
Game mechanics and volatility
Slots have unique characteristics compared to their betting product peers, largely as a result of varied game mechanics. Things such as bonus features, cascading reels, wilds and scatter all help create a betting experience that is exciting from the get go – particularly with modern slots. Developers are consistently raising the slots bar, making their games, and themes, ever more attractive and entertaining.
Likewise, there’s the appeal of volatility, and the fact players can choose their preference around game volatility to suit their playing style. Whether it's highly volatile games giving the chance to play for bigger, one-off prizes, or more stable games that reward more consistently, choosing slots according to volatility levels can provide the type of experience players demand. This level of control just isn’t possible with other forms of iGaming.
Offers, bonuses and other promotions
Slot sites don't rest on their laurels. They continue to attract players, both new and existing, with offers, bonuses and other promotions, specifically designed to highlight slots. With new bonuses and offers emerging all the time, there’s a tendency among experienced slots players to check in, and generally be aware of what’s new and happening throughout the month. This is, in part, why casual players become slots fans, trying out multiple different games and developers over a longer period of time. With an active slots ‘scene’ built around ongoing bonuses and promotions, as well as new releases, innovations and jackpot slots, it has evolved as a more developed hobby for players as opposed to casually hitting a few spins in the hope of a quick win.
Whether it’s new players offered bonus spins as part of their welcome package, or a reload bonus rewarding loyalty with spins as part of the promo, or even guaranteed free spins from spin-the-wheel style promos, slots remain at the core of casino and slot site promotions.
Slots are familiar
At the most basic level, slots are a popular choice among gamblers because they've been just about an ever-present in our lives. It’s a relatively low-impact way to bet and win, without requiring too much active engagement or decision making from players. Unlike real-event betting, which demands active involvement and analysis, slots are a comparatively passive way to play and can be both relaxing and entertaining.
While the wider online gambling landscape continues to change moving forward, it looks like slots occupy an evergreen space for many. With new slots being released all the time, there’s always enough interest to come back time after time – something that no doubt helps slots continue to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to how players choose to bet online.