Online casino slots have taken the internet by storm. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny their popularity and their potential. A slot machine is the veritable money tree that grows in every online casino’s garden, one that provides a predictable profit without fail. 

They have become so popular that other sports betting sites are now looking to get a piece of the action. These sites are looking at what this tech can offer and trying to incorporate it into sports betting markets, and believe it or not, it’s working.

Before we look at the things that start-ups are doing to get a slice of this lucrative industry, it’s worth noting just what it is that makes slots so unique and so highly prized.

What Makes Slots Unique?

Predictability is key with online slots and it’s something you don’t always get in the sports betting industry. Betting sites play the markets to try and keep probability on their side. If you’re betting on the flip of a coin, the odds of either outcome are 50%. In an ideal world, this means that a $100 bet would win a $100 profit if your chosen bet lands. However, if the betting site offered such high odds, they would be gambling as well, relying on fewer players to predict the losing outcome.

That’s not how they work.

Instead, they will reduce the odds so that a $100 bet gets a payout of between $80 and $90 for a win. This way, if 100 players bet on Tails and 100 on Heads, the bookmaker wins. In fact, they still win even if 55% of players bet on the winning outcome. To keep probability on their side, they will tweak the odds when a disproportionate number of bets are placed on a specific outcome. This is why it’s common for bets to go from long-odds to short-odds in the run up to an event.

However, this doesn’t always work the way the oddsmakers would like. If many successive events end with a short-priced win, there’s a good chance they’ll take a hit. The law of probability suggests they will still be in profit over the long haul, but these short-term hits can seriously dampen a bookmaker’s finances, along with the hopes of their shareholders.

Slots, however, are effectively a license to print money. They are programmed to payout a specific amount of money over the long haul and this is always less than the amount wagered. A single player can bet small, win big, and then repeat that feat every day for a year, but all of their winnings (and then some) will be offset by the countless other players that bet big, lose, and then repeat.

This is something that appeals to sports betting sites, something that provides predictability and profitability; if the players arrive, the money will follow.

This age-old issue has caused sports betting sites great distress. It’s why all major betting sites in Europe and Asia have online casinos attached and it’s why you can find slots in most land-based bookmakers as well. 

In 2020, another issue was raised, one that shone an even brighter spotlight on slot machines: What happens when all sport is suspended

The events of 2020 have been unprecedented and have forced many betting companies to take action. Not only are slots a license to print money, but they are also recession-proof and don’t rely on any external factors. If global sports are suspended, it doesn’t matter; if the economy recedes, they’re not impacted. In fact, as recent recessions and suspensions have shown, these games get even more attention during difficult times.

How Start-up Sports Betting Sites are Mimicking Slots

The first step in providing a more “slot-like” experience is to make the process more interactive and to ensure it is mobile compatible. To make betting more interactive, start-ups have been looking into ways of including avatars and challenges, as well as loyalty schemes. They have also installed features such as Request a Bet and Build a Bet.

In the former, you can contact the betting site and request a specific bet, with the odds then drawn up and added to the site. As for the latter, this allows you to stack multiple bets from a single market, effectively creating a parlay that spans a single event.

This interaction brings the player closer to the game and the provider, and that immersion is key for improving the experience and attracting more players. 

Live betting and unique prop bets are also helping to boost profits. With a live bet, players can bet on an in-game market even after the game has begun, and by using basic prop bets like Over/Under and Yes/No, betting sites can create a balanced book that helps to tip the odds in their favour, ensuring they earn a consistent profit in the long run.

The Future of Sports Betting

Sports betting may have taken a hit in 2020, but it’s set for a big rebound and could be bigger than ever when it does. 2019 was a big year for sports betting in the US and South America and it also spread into previously untouched European and Asian markets. These regions have helped to boost profits and exposure, while also inspiring creators to move onto the next big thing.

Once the chaos of early 2020 is over, we could be set for some big and exciting things in the sports betting industry.