Over the span of 10 years, gambling has transformed from a taboo activity that can only be done
inside the walls of a casino to a casual game that can be accessed as easily as a text message.
This change would have never been possible without the emergence of gambling apps on mobile
devices in the year 2005. For the first time ever, slot machines are subject to public reviews and
ratings, with unforeseen consequences.
When slot machines could only be found in casinos, there was no telling which ones were more
likely to pay out. The interior of a casino holds rows upon rows of flashing, beeping machines,
each one more of a money vacuum than the last. From the moment slots went online, this had to
Now the power rests in the hands of the player. If a player feels at all cheated or ripped off, a 1-
star review is at their fingertips. Just like bad Yelp reviews can drive entire restaurants out of
business, customer reviews in the app store have the power to drive an online casino to
extinction. Wise businesspeople have taken the hint and advertise their online slot machines as
having better odds than the ones in the casino. Slot machines that stick to terrible odds are on
their way out.
Think about the price of soda. A glass of soda costs a restaurant between 1¢ and 10¢, but they
charge the customers anywhere between $1 and $5. Most restaurants choose to charge their
customers as much as possible, but once one restaurant starts selling soda for $1, everyone starts
flocking to that restaurant and ignoring the rest. The other restaurants have a choice on their
hands: charge $1 for their soda or lose their business. The same is happening with slot machines.
A couple online casinos started moving the odds in favor of the player, and now all the others
must follow suit or be extinguished.
Since the dawn of electronic slot machines, the most successful games have been the loudest and
most colorful. All a machine needed to be successful was to grab attention. It didn’t even matter
if anyone ever won a jackpot. A spot in the app store means online casinos must compete head-
to-head and appease their customers before they land a 1-star review. The tides are turning, and
they are aimed in the direction of the user.
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