The History Of Slot Machines And How They've Changed

The History Of Slot Machines And How They've Changed

Published: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Slot machine games are without a doubt the most popular games in the casino business. Even though table games such as roulette, poker, and blackjack have garnered quite a following since their introduction to the industry, they do not give slots much competition. Most gamblers have been known to be enticed by the spinning of reels, and the exciting tunes played on slot machines more than any other game.

The History of Slot Machines

Even after the establishment of the casino business on the online platform, online gaming software providers tried their best to maintain a similar atmosphere like the one found in brick and mortar casinos. Slot games have come a long way to reach where they are today. In this article, we will review the changes slot machines have gone through from use of five drums to the establishment of the online slots with numerous free casino bonuses we enjoy today.

Brief Background of Slots

The first machine to display the functionality of the slot machine was invented back in the nineteenth century by a New York company. This device featured five drums that displayed playing cards. This device was very popular in bars and only cost a nickel to spin the drums. All one had to do is insert the coin into the provided slot, pull the lever, and send the fifty cards spinning. The winning combinations were similar to those used in poker. However, not all playing cards were used in the machine. Two crucial cards were removed from the gameplay to ensure that the house had the upper hand. The elimination of the jack of hearts and the ten of spades cut the players’ odds by half.

Additionally, this device did not have a direct way of paying players once they acquired winning combos on the drums. Therefore, they were paid over the counter. In most occasions, the prizes were offered in the form of drinks, cigars, and other bar tokens.

Three Reeled Slots

Numerous theories surround the invention of slot machines. Even so, one thing is for sure: Charles Frey invented them. However, the year of the invention has long been debated with the date being placed between 1885 and 1897.

This was the first machine that would offer actual payouts once a winning combo was achieved. It was famously dubbed the Liberty Bell. To facilitate the ease of payouts, the inventor saw it fit to eliminate the use of five drums, placing three reels in their stead. The fifty playing cards were also removed, and only five icons appeared on the reels. Three of these icons were represented by the symbols used in playing cards. They were;

  • Spades
  • Diamonds
  • Hearts
  • A horseshoe
  • Liberty Bell

The most sought-after combination was that of three Liberty bells which would offer the biggest payout. The introduction of money payouts was the cause for its massive popularity in casinos and bars alike. However, a patent was not placed by the manufacturer of this device. Therefore, numerous companies across the country duplicated and distributed.

Fruit Slots

A ban was placed on slot machines back in 1902 by the government. Even so, the production of this devices did not stop. All that occurred was the elimination of cash prizes for achieving winning combinations. This led to the production of fruit slots

These machines used fruit icons in place of the playing card symbols used in the first slot machines. The prizes were also replaced with candy of different flavors depending on the win that was hit.

Electronic slots

From the time of the slot machine’s invention to 1964, the operation of slots was entirely controlled using mechanical methods. The player was required to pull a lever to set the reels in motion. A spring mechanism was connected to the lever, which controlled the spinning of the reels and when they would stop. This mechanism gave the players the feeling that they controlled the machine. This operation was the reason people loved it.

Money honey was the first slot machine was the first to run on electricity back in 1964. The starting of the game was still dependent on the pulling of a lever, but the reels were spun electrically: this eliminated the use of the spring mechanism. The lever remained in place due to how fond people had become to pulling it. However, over time, the lever was removed.

Video Slots

Numerous slot machine developers had attempted to develop video slots after the introduction of the electronic slots. However, the venture was not a success until 1976. This success was accomplished by Fortune Coin, a company in Las Vegas. The slot machine was placed in the same city at The Hilton Hotel.

The slot machine became so popular that people traveled from all around the world to enjoy spinning its reels. After gaining such a massive following, Interactive Gaming Technologies moved to acquire the developer of this slot machine in 1978.

Slots with Bonus Rounds

In 1996, William Interactive Industries, better known by its acronym WMS, made a move to introduce bonus rounds to the slots. This mini-game would direct the player to another screen where they would have the chance to increase their winnings. The slots benefited the players and casinos alike since nearly seventy percent of their revenue was generated from these rounds. Other gaming developers quickly adopted this addition.

Online Slots

With the introduction of the wide web, numerous industries moved their business to the online platform. Casinos were not left behind and made a move in the 1990s. In the beginning, only table games such as roulette were available. Slots soon followed suit, and are now the most popular games enjoyed on the web.

Slot machines have gone through a lot of changes over time since their first invention. However, the thrill of spinning reels and the clinking of coins has been well-maintained by most online gaming software developers.


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