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Slot machines, or 'slots', are electronic gambling machines that come in a huge variety of styles but typically involve the player taking an action to spin reels, and attempt to win money by achieving a certain combination of symbols in view when the reels stop.

Slots are hugely popular in U.S. casinos and account for more than half of the income made by them each year. Their appeal lies in their relative simplicity, along with the affordable nature of playing slots and the fact you can stay playing for a long time on a limited budget.

Online slots

Slots are also extremely popular at online casinos, where physical slot machines are replaced with virtual ones. Each spin is generated randomly using special software and you'll find a quite staggering array of themed slot games to play at online casinos.

The odds of winning huge jackpots on slot machines are slim, but it does happen and represents one of the greatest possible returns on investment for players at both land-based and online casinos.

Here's a basic outline of how a typical slot machine works:

There is such a wide variety of slot machines available these days it's impossible to cover every type of the market, but here are some popular examples:

Depending on the slots format you're playing, there may be actions you can take after each spin. Some symbols may trigger a 'bonus', for example, where the player gets to take certain actions in an attempt to up their chances of winning. You can also 'hold' reels on some slots machines, thus freezing certain symbols in an attempt to match them with the next spin.

Why are slots so popular?

You don't need a lot of experience, or a lot of money, to get started with slots. Complete beginner's will learn slots quickly and be enjoying the experience in no time at all. Big wins are possible and you don't have to break the bank trying to go after them. Little wonder slots are so popular all over the world.

In 2003, a man from Los Angeles won $39.7 million at a slots machine at the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas. His stake was just $100, and the odds of that jackpot were calculated to be one in 16.7 million.

How to get started with slots

If you're looking to get playing slots, online casinos are a great place to start. There's so much variety on offer it's hard to now which slots game to play first, but most importantly you need to pick the right online casino to play at. The best practice here is to reference a credible online slots portal for advice and guidance.

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