The People Keeping Slots Popular Might Surprise You*

Keeping an eye on modern gaming trends, it’s easy to understand what makes most of the popular genres great. Strategy, MMO, and RPG games have thrived with newer pay models that incentivize constant competition and advancement. Shooters and adventure games are more appealing with each new upgrade in graphics and system capabilities. And puzzle games and educational gaming experiences have done well on mobile games simply because they work well with simpler controls and limited scopes.

One popular genre is a little bit harder to explain, however: casino slots. According to a statistical report from 2016, this is the fifth most popular genre of mobile gaming, with about 9.8 million unique monthly users, and about 6 hours of playing time per month, per user! That’s a very high level of popularity, and may explain why this generally old-fashioned form of gaming doesn’t ever seem to be going away. Pull up your mobile app stores and scroll through games and you’ll likely find all kinds of different slots.

This also explains why the games you find aren’t simply old, classic slots, but rather newer games that are various in theme and appeal. Developers working in this genre appear to be busy constantly, either adapting online games for Android and iOS use, or simply building up new experiences based on new themes. The result is that your average modern slot reel isn’t just a fruit machine or something similar. It might instead involve fun animated characters, or even superheroes or other icons from popular fiction.

What may still be unclear though is where the demand is for these kinds of games. With the exception of new themes and designs, they’re basically the same games they always were, and maintain a sort of old-school flavor. Perhaps it won’t come as a surprise then to tell you that it is mostly people over 50, and primarily women, who make up the consumer market for slots. This was determined by a 2012 study, which specifically pointed to female homeowners aged 55-60, with college education and an average household income over $55,000. That more or less translates to middle-aged, middle class women.

We’ve also learned from more recent studies that women are making up a larger percentage of gamers in general. Apparently 41 percent of gamers are women, and the average female gamer is 44. So if we consider the two studies together, it actually becomes pretty easy to say that it’s primarily middle-aged and older women who are driving the seemingly relentless popularity of slot machines.

As for why women, it’s difficult to say exactly. Studies have generally indicated that slot gamers expect to lose money, however, and are doing it for the experience, or simply to pass the time. By contrast many who play other casino games like poker and blackjack feel that they have more say over the outcome, and may expect to win. It’s conceivable that women simply approach casino gaming from less of a competitive standpoint than men do (or they’re just smarter about it!).

So the next time one of the seniors in your life, or simply a middle-aged female friend of yours boots up a phone or tablet and starts spinning slot reels, don’t be surprised. It’s just as popular and appealing to those demographics as some of the newer and flashier games are to young people.

 *Guest post


  1. Although I fit part of the demographic profile, I have never been a gambler. I think that stems from the fact that I am not particularly lucky. When I lived in Colorado, there was a small casino my cousin frequented. I went with a few times and did notice the clientele is mostly seniors, and predominately women. Interesting. I think if I had any sort of mojo, I might try it to pass the time. I just don't like tossing money like that.

    1. The few times I have gambled I have been lucky, but I've never bet large sums. I also have a dad who's very fond of gambling, so seeing those big ups and downs has made me temper my own behaviour. A great way to gamble without any money changing hands is slot machine games. Many of my family members play them and it's a great way to pass time and keep your money in your pocket.