Online slots are a staple of modern casino websites and offer players the chance to spin for real money. The games can be played on desktop PCs, mobile devices and tablets. They are based on chance, but some have bonus rounds that add extra ways to win. Some also have progressive jackpots. While online slots don’t have the same physical components as cabinet machines, they still have a unique set of features that make them fun to play.
The earliest slot machine was created by Charles Fey in 1887. His machine used a random number generator (RNG) to display reel combinations. This was a huge step forward from the mechanical reels of traditional casino games. However, Fey’s machine did not have a display screen like modern slots. It was only in the 1980s that developers began to incorporate a display screen into their games.
As computers became more powerful, developers realized that they could replace the RNG with their own computer hardware. This enabled them to create virtual reels and symbols that displayed results on a computer screen. The first ever online casino game was launched in 1994 and used this new technology.
Modern online slots are based on software from major providers such as IGT, RTG and Microgaming. They can feature classic themes like ancient Egypt and fruit machines or be inspired by popular culture. Players are drawn to well-thought out and realized themes, but they’re also captivated by a variety of bonus features.
In addition to traditional paylines, many modern free slots have cluster or group bonuses that award wins if symbols land in a certain way. This new mechanic has been embraced by NetEnt in particular, with the company producing games such as Moon Princess and Jammin Jars that make use of it.
Another trend is to feature themes from popular culture in online slot games. NetEnt has released a number of music-themed titles, including Guns’n’Roses and Jimi Hendrix, as well as themed slots for the TV shows Sherlock and Doctor Who. These slots draw on famous franchises to provide exciting visuals and gameplay.
Online casinos have made it possible to play slots from the comfort of a home. Most modern slots run on HTML5, which means they can be played on a smartphone, tablet or PC. The games are not only easy to use but look great across all platforms. Some sites even feature demo slots where players can practice their skills before playing for real cash. This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of a slot before you start spinning for big prizes. Then, once you’re ready to risk your hard-earned cash, you can take advantage of casino bonuses to build up your bankroll.