The mechanics of online slot machines are very similar to how they used to be in how they operate. A player places his bet, spins the reels, and then waits for the reels to end before finding out if he has won. If the reels are stopped in a position where a line of the exact same symbols is visible, that win will eventually come. If the player has won on a reel, he simply pays out and walks away; if he has lost, he has to wait until the next game. In many cases, the winning amount is doubled or tripled in online casinos as compared to land-based casinos.
The reason for this is because an online slot machine operates on a “house edge”. This term pertains to the casino’s financial theory that says there is always a certain amount of money tied up in any particular bet, whether it is won or lost. When the house edge is exceeded by the number of times that it can be repeated (due to the number of players at the online slot machine), the casino has to pass the cost of those repeated spins onto the customers. This means that an online slot machine is much more susceptible to losing more money than a land-based casino.
An example of a house advantage is illustrated by the way in which the random number generators decide how many times a reel will be spun. Every time the machine spins the number generator determines an exact number that will be displayed on one or more reels. Once the computer determines the output, a mathematical formula is used to multiply these numbers to come up with the result. This process is called random number generation, and it has been used successfully for decades now to generate results that are unpredictable. While an online slot machine is not able to duplicate this process, the casino can choose to keep the output of its random reels a little more consistent, and thus may slightly offset its losses.