How much does it cost to develop an online slot game?

What are online slots?

Online slots are more popular than ever. A wealth of software companies, partnerships with film and TV studios, new features turned one arm bandits into an interactive gambling experience. And with thousands of games on the market, you might wonder how you can join the fun. However, developing an online slot has never been more complex and expensive since player expectations are through the roof. So, how much would it cost to create an online slot?

Online slots

The economics behind online slots

If you were a programmer back in the days, you could develop a slot game and have people play – no question about that. Today, the stakes are higher.

Slot games have become a complex matter, whether it’s high-quality themes and gameplay, unique features and bonuses, and a well-thought-out plan about how players can win – namely, what RTP and volatility to choose. Especially for real money slots, says Mark Rosen of Online Slots Pilot, you have to carefully plan each step of the slot game as you need to keep in mind the players and regulatory requirements.

As such, it takes more than a single programmer to develop a successful and legal online slot. Think product managers, UX designers, programmers, graphic designers, mathematicians and statisticians to get started. Then, once you’re down, you still need to market the game. If you have to rely on an external agency for this, don’t be surprised to get charged up to £400 an hour. As such, some resources suggest developing an online slot game from scratch can cost all the way up to half a million Pound.

How do casinos manage to offer thousands of games?

Hearing that price tag, you might wonder how online casinos can offer hundreds and often thousands of online slots games. The answer is white-labelling.

Most modern online casinos don’t develop their own games. In fact, they never did. It was common for online gambling operators to sign exclusive partnerships with software companies back in the day. Brands like Mansion Casino, for example, only provide Playtech games for their customers. It also means that their slot portfolio is “only” 200 games strong.

However, things have changed. Most online casinos today are white-label brands. It means that rather than developing their platform and games from scratch, they sign an agreement with companies like SkillOnNet. It’s a franchise very similar to McDonald’s or Burger King. You pay the company a flat fee and (sometimes) a monthly fee, and in return, you can use their already success-proven business model.

Conclusion

While it sounds fun and exciting to develop an online slot, the economics behind it seems to make it a tricky undertaking. If you’re still eager to get started in this industry, it might be a good idea to get started with a social casino slot. These are very similar to real money slots, except players cannot wager or win actual money. This way, you at least don’t have to worry about the legal aspect of your game, as fines in online gambling can be outrageously high. The UK’s Gambling Commission has charged several casinos in the United Kingdom millions of dollars for failures related to player protection during gaming sessions.