In-line with the age of digitalisation, you can now play online slots via your mobile phone no matter where you are. Even if you do not have a WIFI connection, you can simply switch on your mobile data. If you are wondering how much data online slots use, the team at NetEnt explain that one spin amounts to 1Kb of data.
However, this is purely an estimate. The reason for this is that the actual data you use when playing online slots can vary quite considerably. For example, if you are playing a classic 3-reel slot, this will drain substantially less data in comparison to a highly interactive slot that is jam-packed with state-of-the-art graphics. Data usage can depend on a number of other factors too, such as, whether you are using a mobile web browser or native mobile app, and the make and model of your device.
Nevertheless, in order to crack the code, we have created a detailed explanation on what you need to consider when using your mobile data to play online slots. We will explain some of the factors that can result in higher data requirements, and what you can do to reduce it.
Why using WIFI to play online slots sometimes is not viable
First and foremost, if you have access to a stable WIFI connection, then it goes without saying that you should use this. This will allow you to enjoy the fruits of online slots without worrying about how much data you are using. However, even if you do have access to a WIFI connection, there might be a couple of barriers preventing you from using it.
One such example is, if the WIFI connection simply is not strong enough. If you are playing online slots, you do not want to encounter constant lagging or buffering, as this will have a direct impact on the end-to-end gaming experience. This is likely to be the case if you fall within the 5% bracket of UK locations that still struggle to obtain reliable WIFI speeds.
The second issue that might be preventing you from using the WIFI connection you have available to you, is if the network provider has blocked access to gambling websites. If this is the case, there is no way around it, other than finding an alternative connection. Access might also be blocked if you work in an office. In fact, it is all-but certain that your company will have blocked access to gambling transactions for obvious reasons.
Even if you attempt to use an online VPN (virtual proxy number) that issues you an alternative UK IP address, it is likely that the connection is going to be far too slow to play online slots.
If one of the above issues is preventing you from playing online slots in a seamless manner, then you will need to consider using your mobile data.
Is a 3g data plan fast enough to play online slots?
Although the vast majority of UK mobile phone users now have direct access to the 4g network, not all of us do. This will be for one of two reasons. Firstly, 4g still has not been rolled out across the entire UK. Availability is usually determined by the specified network provider you are using. For example, while accessing 4g via Three mobile covers just 91% of the UK population, things are even more bleak for those using EE, as just 85% of the UK’s landmass is covered.
Now, as noted earlier, NetEnt estimate that a single slot machine spin requires in the region of 1Kb of mobile data. Although we cover how this can vary widely late in our article, let us assume that this remains constant across the board. When we assess whether 3g is fast enough to cope with online video slots, we need to look at the lower latency rate.
Often referred to as the ‘ping’ rate, the lower latency dictates the length of time it takes for the content to transition from their platform to yours. In the case of an online slots casino, this is the speed in which the spin of the reels reaches your mobile screen. Now, 3g has an average lower latency rate of 135 milliseconds, in comparison to 4g’s 75.
Even at a rate of 135 milliseconds, this is still sufficient to avoid lagging. In terms of the specific speed, 3g averages 6.1Mbit/s in the UK, while 4g averages 15.1MBit/s, which is more than double. Either way, even though 4g is far superior to 3g, the latter is more than suitable to play online slots seamlessly.
How much 4g data will I need in my package to deal with online slots?
If we were to take the average data usage per slot spin of 1k – as provided by NetEnt, this would mean that you would get 1,000 spins per Mb. As a result, if your data package gives you 1Gb of internet usage per month, you would be able to get a staggering 1 million spins. Even if you were to leave the online slot machine running on autopay 24 hours per day, it would take you a significant amount of time to get through an entire Gb of mobile data.
Moreover, as UK network providers appear to be getting more generous with the amount of data they offer, it is likely that you will get a lot more than 1Gb of data. It is also important to remember that it is likely you will not need to use your mobile data every time you play online slots, as you will be able to hook up to a suitable WIFI connection.
However, we should also note that you cannot assume that every slot game you play will demand just 1Kb of data. On the contrary, certain games will demand much more. Let us explore this in more detail.
Which online slot games use more mobile data?
When internet usage requires data, you are essentially beaming content from the server of the website, over to the server of your mobile network provider. This is how you are able to access the internet whilst on the move. However, the amount of data you need will depend on what you are doing. For example, if you are simply reading emails or using Facebook, then the data requirements are minute.
At the other end of the spectrum, watching a YouTube video in 1080p, then this is likely to drain your entire data allocation in no time at all. On the other hand, if you were to watch the same YouTube movie, but in 144p, then this would use just a fraction of what a 1080p would consume. The reason we mention this is that online slots work in exactly the same way. In other words, the more elaborate the slot title in question, the more mobile data it will need.
For example, if you were to play an ultra-classic slot title, this will require little data. The slot is likely to have 3 standard reel, no 3D or state-of-the-art graphics, and no bonuses or feature. As you are simply spinning the reels of a simple slot machine, you would probably use less than 1Kb of data per spin.
Feature-rich video slots
Video slots are getting more and more interactive, both in terms of visualisations and sound. In fact, the modern day video slot is now packed with non-stop 3D motion graphics. When you factor in the video effects of bonuses and features too, then you start to get an idea as to how much data this can consume – at least in comparison to classic slot games. As a result, you should expect your mobile phone to require more than 1Kb of data per spin.
At the more extreme, progressive slots are potentially the worst for data requirements. You see, progressive slots are linked between dozens, if not hundreds of different casino platforms. This means that there is likely to be thousands of players playing on a specific progressive slot title at any given time. As the underlying servers need to deal with data requests from each and every player, this can have a significant impact on the amount of data the slot consumes.
One such example of this is when the progressive jackpot figure increases in size. When the figure goes up, this means that the slot machine is taking more and more money from other players – many of which will be playing a different platform. In order to be privy to this information, you will need to have access to sufficient mobile data.
How do I know how much data an online slot is using?
Attempting to find out how much data you are using when playing online slots is no easy feat. In most, if not all cases, you will not be able to get this information from the slot machine itself. Instead, you will need to get this from your mobile phone. In terms of where to find this information on your mobile, this will depend on the specific make and model. However, you will normally find it within the settings department. Once there, search for a setting that centres on ‘network/data’.
Once you find the right setting, you should then be able to see how much data you are using. However, phones normally present this information to you over a specific time period. By default, it is likely that you will be shown your data usage for the current data. You also need to remember that there is likely to be other apps on your phone that is using data.
As a result, you will need to dive deeper into the data settings so that you can break the report down. If you want to be really accurate on how much data the online slot machine is using, then you can restart the data clock. You should then prevent any other applications from using data, other than your mobile web browser.
You should also close all browser tabs apart from the online slot game. Finally, spin the reels 10 times, close the game, and then head over to the data settings to see how much it used.
Using a native mobile slots app
More and more casinos are now launching native mobile apps that are freely available on both iOS and Android devices. In most cases, native apps offer a significantly better gaming experience in comparison to a standard mobile, as the games are tailor-made for your mobile’s operating device.
Although the gaming experience is usually better, this does not necessarily mean that it will consume more data. In fact, you will often find that a native slots app will consume less data.
As a result, if your chosen online slot platform does offer an app, and it is compatible with your mobile device, then we would suggest downloading it.
But wait! You also need to consider the size of the casino app before you download it. Apps often require in excess of 30Mb to download to your phone. If we were to assume that one slot machine spin equates to 1kb, this means that by downloading the app, you are effectively consuming 30,000 slot machine spins!
If at all possible, wait until you are connected to a WIFI network before downloading the app. Even if you are connected to a WIFI network that blocks gambling material, you should not have any issues downloading the app.
What about playing online slots abroad with my phone?
It was not so long ago that we would hear multiple horror stories about people going on holiday and using their mobile data without so much of a care in the world, only to return home and find out they had been hit with a £500 phone bill.
Fortunately for all of us in the UK, the EU recently introduced legislation that forces mobile networks to charge the same for mobile data as they would back home. Furthermore, this even includes monthly data packages, meaning that you can essentially play slots with your mobile phone when abroad without paying anything.
Although the future of this agreement will depend on the terms that the UK leaves the EU, for the time being, it’s business-as-usual. The only thing that you need to remember is that the online slot casino will see that you are accessing their platform from a different country. As this might raise suspicion, it is best to let them know you will be using their website when on holiday, so that they do not suspend your account.
On the other hand, if you are going on holiday in a country outside of the EU, then it is a completely different story. If you are on a monthly contract and you do not switch off data roaming, you could get hit with a substantially large bill.
If you cannot access WIFI, then we would suggest contacting your network provider to find out how much you are likely to be charged. Alternatively, you could pick up a cheap pre-loaded sim card when you arrive on holiday. That way, you will not get charged anything for playing slots abroad, as you will be using the data contained within the sim card.
Reducing the amount of data being consumed by online slots
If you are still concerned about the amount of data your online slot endeavours is likely to consume, then we would suggest implementing some simple tweaks to reduce your usage.
Download the slot casino’s app
Native mobile apps use less data than mobile browser websites, so if the slot casino you are using offers one, you should download. Not only will you save data, but you will also get a far better gaming experience. Do not forget, as mobile apps often require around 30Mb to download, you should wait until you are connected to WIFI.
Turn the slot quality down
Most online slot machines now allow you to adjust the quality of the video stream. This is very similar to how YouTube works, insofar that you can increase the video quality from 144p all the way up to 4k. If you prioritise data consumption over video quality, then switch it down to the very minimum.
Buy a data package
Although this point might sound obvious, you should avoid playing online slots via your standard mobile credit. Instead, you should buy a much larger package of at least 1Gb, If you do not, you are essentially getting charged every time you spin the reels.
Play classic slots
Classic slots go back to early days of slot machines. They usually consist of just 3 reels on screen, and virtually no features or bonuses. Moreover, you will be lucky to get any sound effects other than a quick notification when you land a winning combination. This means that classic slots consume significantly less data than modern, feature-rich video slots.
How much data does online slots use – Conclusion?
In summary, online slots consume very little data. With NetEnt estimating that one spin of the reels requires just 1kb of data, you could essentially play for days on end before noticing any substantial usage.
On the other hand, some slot titles – especially those that utilise highly-advanced graphics and video effects, will require more. Just make sure that you keep an eye on your data allocation every now and then to make sure you do not run out!