It will not be news to any of you that gambling has always enjoyed a close relationship with sports. People have been betting on the outcome of sports events virtually ever since sports have been around. For many, it adds even more excitement to the game that there is money to be won as well.
But one aspect of that relationship that has gotten even closer in recent times is a connection with online slots. Slot machines have also always been incredibly popular, of course. But there was previously always a distinction between betting on sports and betting on casino games. Now the betting operators have realized that their customers are quite happy to mix the two.
Almost all of the betting sites online today will offer some kind of sports-themed slot for their customers. There are a number of reasons for this development and we will be looking at just why sports have become such a hit with online casinos.
Back in the old days (we’re talking about pre-internet here!) there were not that many different kinds of slot machine to play. A basic set-up with three reels and a pay line, using fruit and playing cards symbols was about as advanced as it got. However, the developers soon realized that they could attract more players by using a theme for their games.
The surge in popularity, thanks to the rise of online casinos, gave the betting operators even more scope to include more themes to keep their customers interested and attract even more attention. Now you are able to search by theme on most sites and can choose between Chinese, Egyptian, Irish, fantasy, horror, as well as the classic fruit-themed slots for old time’s sake.
Know the Game
Alongside all those theme genres, sports have become a common subject used by slot developers. Sports are such a major part of a lot of people’s lives that is not surprising that they are seen as profitable. One of the major reasons for that is the familiarity that a lot of people will experience.
Slot developers want their customers to be familiar with the theme of their games. They know that everyone recognizes vampires and Dracula and can pick up the idea of the bonus rounds and games because of the films and books. It is the same deal with sports. Even if you are not the biggest football fan in the world, you will know about the Super Bowl, recognize famous players, and understand the basics of the game. It is even more attractive for the player if the game’s theme is a favorite team.
We may really love slots here but even we would admit that there is no sporting skill needed to play the games. That’s not to say that there is no talent needed to be successful – it’s just that we don’t expect slots to be included in the Olympics any time soon!
But there is a chance for developers to include sports-related rounds into their games. Most good slots are not restricted just to spinning the reels these days. So there is the opportunity to include bonus rounds and skill-based games for players to enjoy. With sports-themed slots, that allows for bonus rounds where players can shoot baskets, race cars, or hit hockey pucks in order to win extra prizes. The nature of sports works very well with slots in this way.
Most games you will play online these days will be video slots. There is, of course, a retro market for the older, more basic reels, but advances in technology have made it possible for developers to make their games look more like the kinds you would expect for consoles and arcades.
Today’s sports-themed slots can incorporate realistic graphics, images, and even commentary that sounds just like the sort you would hear watching a real sports event. All of these elements make these slots even more attractive for sports fans who also like casino games.
Another way that game developers can increase the connection between sports and slots is by incorporating actual sports athletes into their titles. Although there are various rules and regulations that may stop some athletes from lending their names and likenesses to slots, there is definitely an increase in the practice.
Branding slots with famous athletes can be a very successful move for the developers. Every top sports athlete will have a number of endorsement deals to top up their already massive salaries and lending their name to a slot can be just part of their portfolio. This is a good financial move for the athlete but is also positive for the developer, as a sports-themed slot with a famous NBA player’s image and name is always going to attract more attention than a generic basketball slot.
The Future of Sports-Themed Slots
With the world of professional sports leagues becoming more accepting of betting, and the two becoming more integrated, it seems as though the future of sports-themed slots is bright. It is very likely that sports athletes will have even more opportunities to negotiate deals with slots manufacturers. This means that sports fans will then have even more opportunity to play games featuring their favorite players
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have also become part of the slots manufacturers’ arsenal in recent years. That means that technological advances made will help create even more immersive experiences for players. Add to that the potential for esports-related slots, and the future looks bright for the industry.
Slots will always be popular – as will sports. So the combination of the two should really be considered an almost guaranteed success story.