The Best Sport-Themed Online Slots

The online gambling sector has been growing fast, and there are more sport-themed slots around than ever

The Tipster
By The Tipster
Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba (Photo: The Sport Review)

The online gambling sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today.

Capitalising on new technology from other sectors, like telecommunications and software development, online casinos are expanding their repertoires as quickly as possible to keep up with the demand from users. Over one third of the United Kingdom’s gross gambling yield from 2018 came from online games, a figure that has seen a significant increase from the previous year.

Now, with 5G about to be rolled out across the country, there is nothing stopping players from accessing high quality games at almost any location.

And it’s this flexibility, the option to play from anywhere, which has really increased the number of browsers who want to play online slots.

Young adults turn to their phones for entertainment during commutes on public transport, breaks at work, or even while waiting at the dentist. It is easy then to see why one of the most popular types of online casino games is the slot machine; an easy ‘pick up and play anywhere’ game that doesn’t involve a lot of time to complete a round, or demand that its players learn a lot of complicated moves beforehand.

Now that there are so many different slot games available to play, the question for developers and online casinos has become how to get players to register and play their games? While the essentials of all slot machines remain the same, there are ways to customise the experience, and one of those is by choosing an exciting theme.

Themes are a great way to connect with new customers because people love familiar brands and will almost always choose something known over something generic. Just look at all the clothes available with pictures of popular characters on the front – they are successful because people gravitate towards images and brands that they like.

Online slot theming works in the same way. As you enter a site, you are greeted with dozens of virtual machines to choose from. While there are variations between them in terms of payouts, jackpots and bonus games, the most notable differences are the themes, ranging from fantasy characters, celebrities, movie and tv shows and sports.

Sports themes are some of the most popular themes used in online slot machines as they appeal to a wide range of fans. They are also easy to integrate into actual gameplay of the slots, something which has been proven to be important for a slot theme to be successful. Many proposed themes have failed to find an audience because the slot itself was not interesting.

Sports themed slots give the developer a huge range of options for bonus games – mini games which can be triggered under certain conditions and give the player the ability to increase their multiplier or pocket some bonus cash.

These could be penalty shootouts, scoring field goals, a 3-hole round of gold, or even knocking out an opponent in the ring. There is so much potential for sports themed extras, let’s have a look at some of the best ways that slots have implemented the design.

Fisticuffs is a gorgeous little slot from experienced developer NetEnt. Themed around Victorian boxing matches, it might not seem like a popular sport choice, but NetEnt have found an ingenious way to include boxing elements within the gameplay.

Some of the five reels include special wild symbols in amongst the boxing gloves, bells and other icons. These special wilds are shown as one of two fighters, and if they land next to each other on a spin it triggers a boxing match! The two fighters trade blows, transforming symbols around them into other wildcards and increasing your chances of a payout. With five reels and 10 paylines, that’s plenty of opportunity to walk away a winner.

Football: Champions Cup is another great sports themed slot from NetEnt. This time, the theming comes into its own during unlockable bonus content. Lining up three trophies or three bonus symbols will unlock one of two different bonus rounds. The first is a free spins tournament in the style of the World Cup knockout stages. Your chosen team will face off against a rival to score the most goals, by spinning their respective win symbols.

The winner advances to the next round, hopefully to eventually play for the grand jackpot. The other special mini game is a penalty shootout where the player is asked to choose one of four spots to alternately score and save a goal. Every goal scored gives you coins and every goal saved increases your multiplier.

These bonus modes really add to the excitement of the slot by giving the player a chance to add to their winnings, and increase the enjoyment by letting football fans take part in recognisable footballing activities. With football being one of the most beloved sports worldwide, this is sure to appeal to many new and existing slot players.

If any of these sound too complicated, then company Microgaming have a bunch of popular sports themed games that keep it simple. Whether you’re a fan of basketball, tennis, ice hockey or rugby, to name just a few, these slots could be the ones to get you into the game.

All are five reel slots with multiple playlines and the chance to increase your winnings through multipliers.

While they don’t feature bonus games, the images on the reels and in the background are sure to delight any fans of the sport and make them feel that they are in familiar territory.

Trying something new can be daunting, especially when there are choices to be made, such as which online slot to play. Good news for players then that online casinos and digital slot developers are working hard to develop themes to their games so that everyone can find something familiar and welcoming to play.

Sports fans are particularly lucky that they have a wide range of slots to choose from.

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