Have you ever wondered which were easier to beat, traditional slots or their contemporary cousins? We need to take a brief look at traditional slots and modern UK slots, and to compare them in terms of simplicity and return to player (RTP) percentages, in order to answer this question.

Traditional Slots

The original slot – The Liberty Bell – was invented by a mechanic called Charles Fey in 1895. But, what did it look like? Well, it was a mechanical slot with 3 reels, 5 symbols (spades, hearts, diamonds, horseshoes and, of course, liberty bells), 1 payline (one line in which you could win) and a lever on the side. What’s more, if you could match 3 symbols on the reels, you won a cash prize. For the next 80 years or so, most slot games copied Fey’s formula, although a few more paylines and symbols made their way into games. Thus, when we use the term traditional slots, we really mean 3-reel slots with a small number of paylines.

Modern Slots

Of course, modern slots are powered by computers and the internet so they contain a lot more features than traditional slots. For instance, most possess strong narratives, colourful characters, huge jackpots, bonus rounds, multiple paylines (some boast over 100,000), a variety of symbols, and between 5 and 7 reels. In short, they are truly amazing!


Nevertheless, because of all the add-ons, contemporary slots are more complicated than traditional slots. I mean, you have to set betting stakes, deal with far more symbols and select the amount of paylines you wish to use per spin. In contrast, all you need to do is drop a coin (or coins) and pull a lever on the side on traditional slots, so they’re far easier to play.


Although traditional slots reign supreme in terms of simplicity, they fall short when it comes to RTPs. But what exactly are RTPs? RTPs are the odds in a slot game; the higher the RTP, the better your chances of winning (to find out the advantage any slot holds over you, simply subtract its RTP from 100%). Unfortunately, for many years, we didn’t know the odds on slot machines and customers were often ripped off. Thankfully, nowadays by law, all casinos in the UK have to display their slots’ RTPs and since this legislation was introduced, slots have become more transparent and RTPs have increased dramatically. Plus, since the odds on some traditional slots in Vegas are 75% and most online slots contain RTPs of 95% plus, modern slots are far more generous.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, while contemporary slots are harder to play than traditional slots, they’re also a lot more trustworthy and open handed. But if you’re new to slots, retro versions of traditional slots are available online (classic/3-reel/retro slots) and all of these possess generous RTPs. So, why not build up your slot skills on them before chancing the more cutting-edge slots?