Casinos and game developers are engaged in a constant search for new titles, themes and inspiration for their online slot games. Think about it – if you were tasked with coming up with new casino games all day, you would soon find yourself searching for new ideas, especially when there are so many competitors out there making similar choices and decisions for their own games. There are a number of common sources of inspiration, particularly for online slots, including film and TV, books, and music.
Aside from slots themed around famous rock bands or film franchises and TV shows, a number of online casino games take their inspiration from sports. Both for game formats and themes, and for the features built around these games, sports has a crucial role in influencing slots developers and the games they create. But what are these features that crop up from time to time in online slots, and what specific sports have come to inspire slots developers in creating some of their most successful titles?
There are plenty of features the slots share in common with sports. Bonus rounds is one obvious example. Think of rugby, where you score a try, or basketball where you land a basket – there’s then the opportunity to grab more points, while you’re there, with a bonus shot at the prize. The same is often true in slots. In some cases, once you’ve landed a winning combination, you’ll get another bite of the cherry, in the sense that you’re offered the option to gamble. It might be double or quits, or quadruple or quits or similar – but it has its roots in sports, and operates on similar principles for the player trying to decide how best to maximise their potential winnings.
You’ll also come across point scores, leaderboards and even slots tournaments, which are designed specifically to introduce elements of gamification to the traditional slots format. In a nutshell, these are devices that make things more competitive, so you feel like coming back for more – not just to earn more money, but to help cement your dominance over friends, acquaintances and other players around the world.
More generally, slots is a game of up and downs. If you’re winning, you ride the ups, but if you’re losing, the downs can really start to factor in. Like sports, it’s all about taking losses in your stride and capitalising on your possible winnings. But there are some more explicit similarities with particular sports, including slots themed around football, boxing, golf, and a variety of other popular sports.
Football slots is an excellent example of the genre, and these tend to get heavy promotion around about the time of major football tournaments – think the World Cup, or the Euros. There are a number of slots out there like Champions Cup, Score!, Sensible Soccer and Shoot online slot which try to recreate the thrill and excitement of competitive or tournament football and weave this into a slots format.
Often, progressing to additional rounds of the tournament takes you closer to the jackpot, or at least closer to bonus rounds where you can win additional money on your spin. The mechanics of the slots remain broadly unchanged, save for any specific bonuses or features built in to make the experience more realistic.
Beyond football, there are also slots that draw on themes from boxing, golf, motor racing, horse racing, and a range of other sports. It’s no coincidence that gambling fans tend to be huge sports fans too – the two go hand in hand. With slots inspired by leading sports, casinos and game developers have jumped on this opportunity, and in the process created games that are loved by slots, and sports, fans worldwide.
Aside from wrestling’s Andre the Giant and fictional boxing’s Rocky Balboa, there remains a surprising dearth of slots based on sporting heros. For those looking for inspiration for future games, licensing deals with individual sports stars could be another route to creating some more enthralling sports-based slots. In the same way as individual musicians, bands, and other high profile celebrities have leant their names to slots titles, there’s no reason why the same couldn’t apply to major football, basketball, golf and tennis stars in the future.
Andy Murray slots anyone? Or how about Rory McIlroy’s Golf Madness? There’s no doubt potential for games developers to work with sporting stars to create a new generation of slots games, and further service the synergies between professional sports and online slots games.