In the late 18th century, inventor Charles August Fey revealed his prototype for a coin operated gambling machine. Today, we can pull out a mobile device no bigger than 6 inches, launch an app and play hundreds of slot games whenever we feel like with a free casino bonus. Technology is truly wondrous – and the rise of the smartphone and tablet is the key to modern gambling comforts. But how can apps and technology possibly improve our slot game experience over what we have now? And what is likely to come next? Let’s find out:

Smart devices will get even smarter

Samsung, Apple, Google, all of these tech focused companies are working on ingenious gadgets that enhance our daily lives. And the gambling firms aren’t far behind to add that touch of gambling pleasure with their very own apps. You only have to look at software developers Microgaming, who recently created the first dedicated slot machine app for smart watches.

As devices continue to shrink in size however, casino app developers are likely to be challenged with the reduced working space. Companies like Scientific Games have responded by giving players even more options to play; like the ability to switch between landscape and portrait views. This afforded even more versatility to players who preferred their games in a vertical position like classic slot game cabinets.

Recent innovations suggest that perhaps tapping a screen to spin may not be wholly necessary. Voice command in particular could be the next logical step for slot game apps and smaller devices. Imagine a voice controlled slot machine – in which a vocal cue would execute an action. Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri have already proven just how effective voice apps can be.

But why use words at all when you can use facial recognition? Once again, recent innovations from Apple and other tech companies suggest that eye tracking and recognition technology could be used with a slot game app. Wouldn’t it be cool to spin a game or get a free casino bonus just by looking at a prompt on the screen? This scenario almost sounds too futuristic to ever be true – but given virtual reality technology, it may not be so farfetched…

Virtual Reality – the next frontier

Virtual reality has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, becoming ever more portable and accessible thanks to mobile technology. In 2017, NetEnt blew the gambling world away with their prototype for a virtual reality Gonzo’s Quest slot. Not only was this experiment eerily immersive, but you could almost hear the future calling. To play the game, you wore a simple headset and controlled the slot by looking at certain focal points and pressing a button.

The problem with VR technology however is the price point; VR headsets are expensive business and not at all affordable just to play a slot game.

Google’s answer to VR affordability was Google Cardboard – a way to experience VR content in a budget friendly fashion. By purchasing a headset or making your very own, you could experience the dizzying world of VR using your mobile device as the viewer. NetEnt’s very own experiment used the same concept, albeit with a more premium headset. Now that the technology is more accessible – could this indeed be the future of slot machines and their respective apps?

In all honesty… probably not. There’s still a tad too much effort involved to have a VR slot game setup. You would still need to purchase or make a headset. And if you did decide to make one, you would need to spend the time following the (admittedly simple) online instructions.

One thing to note about VR and smart devices however is that the manufacturers are developing headsets to purchase alongside the said devices. If there was ever a time when these devices were bundled together, then perhaps VR might just be more than a fun experiment for casino app developers.

Data, data everywhere

Big data technology is further empowering developers to come up with even more innovative applications that benefit players in several ways. Let’s say you are having an unfortunate unlucky streak with your favourite games; in the future, you may receive a free casino bonus for a much-needed pick me up.

Outside of the actual games themselves, an application could potentially match what you like to play with other casino games based on your preferred gaming style. Let’s say you prefer to stick to three-reel fruit machine style games – wouldn’t it be nice to get regular recommendations of games like this?

In some ways, the future of apps and slot machines is a daunting one, purely because there’s so much room for potential improvements. Slot machines started as a crude, mechanically operated contraption – but look where we are now. Regardless of what the future holds, it’s looking very bright for slot machines and apps.