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How Slots Paylines Have Evolved

November 14, 2021

Slots are by far the most popular game at any casino, whether online or at a land-based establishment. The wide range of available titles attract a wide range of players, utilising colourful images and compelling sounds as well as engaging mini-games and bonus features.

As slots have evolved to include different kinds of reels and bonus features, so too has the simple payline. Slot paylines, also known as betting lines or winning lines, refer to the pattern on the reel wherein the winning combination occurs. Originally a single horizontal line on which players would look to match symbols, paylines are now just one of the many ways in which a slot can stand out from its competitors.

Slots, and indeed online slots, have been around for decades now and paylines have experienced their fair share of changes and advancements. Here we take a closer look at their evolution, uncovering what players can expect from paylines in modern slots.

More Paylines Than You Can Count

When slots first emerged, it was common to see only one fixed payline present itself on the reels. This remained commonplace until the 21st century – but when slots went online, a whole host of new payline options and structures emerged.

Today, players might be spinning the reels across hundreds or even thousands of different paylines, with popular video slot titles having an average of 10 to 25 paylines and some, like Megaways™ games, having over 100,000! Far from being the norm, single-payline games are now quite obscure and you’ll only tend to find them in vintage-style slots modelled after classic one-armed bandit slot machines.

Paylines In All Directions

Originally, slot machines with a single payline or fixed set of paylines were limited to horizontal orientation. Most slot machines paid out for winning symbols lined up on a horizontal payline from left to right. Not any more!

The modern slot gamer will find that paylines today run in multiple directions, zig-zagging up and down the reels to allow many more winning combinations. This makes gameplay dynamic, and also allows for more surprises such as expanding wilds and bonus symbols to fill the reels. It’s also common for slots to pay both right to left and left to right, further doubling the number of ways to win.

There’s no question that the technology behind slot games has come a long way in the past few decades

As online and mobile slots become more technologically developed, their in-game features will advance as well

How do Modern Players Find the Number of Paylines?

Before firing up a new slot, players might want to find out how many paylines to expect. This is normally easily viewable in the slot’s description. For example, here you can see that the new Irish-themed slot game, Book of the Irish has 10 paylines, whereas the slots Nitropolis and Cashzuma both have exactly 2,000.

Just be sure to remember that a higher number of paylines does not guarantee a higher likelihood of winning. Paylines are simply a factor in the slot’s overall composition, and one that has been enhanced for more interactive and entertaining play over the years.