By far the most popular casino game, slot machines have grown exponentially in a variety of games over the years – whether you choose to play slots for real money online or in a brick-and-mortar casino.
But how did they start and develop? Let’s take a look at the invention and evolution of slot game machines over the years.
The history of slot machines can be discovered as far back as the late 1800s. Sittman and Pitt, a New York-based firm, created the first slot machine in 1891. There were five drums in the game, with 50 playing cards altogether. The machine was available to be played in old-school taverns for just a nickel.
Punters would pop their money in the slot and pull that “one arm bandit.” If poker hands lined up on the reels, payouts were made. Two cards were taken from the machine to improve the house edge: the Jack of hearts and the ten of spades. The chances of scoring a royal flush were cut in half as a result of this.
Because there was no direct payout function on the machine, winnings were handed out at the bar. Free cigars and alcohol were among the non-monetary awards.
The First Machine
The very first slot game was invented by Charles Augustus Fey, who is widely credited as the creator. There is no precise date for the creation of his first machine, although it is thought to have occurred somewhere between the late 1880’s and 1890’s. Fey devised a mechanism that would generate rewards automatically. To accomplish this, he simplified the process of reading a win for the machine.
This was done by substituting three reels for the original five drums. He also changed the playing cards to only five symbols: a liberty bell, hearts, spades, diamonds and horseshoes. Because three bell signs yielded the greatest prize, the machine was dubbed the Liberty Bell. The machine became quite popular. Many other slot machine makers imitated Fey’s idea because he sadly did not patent it.
The age of the fruit machine began when cash rewards became prohibited. The well-known and loved fruit symbols were used in these original machines, and rewards were given in the form of bubble gum and candies. In 1907, Herbert Mills from Chicago released the Operator Bell slot.
By 1908, salons, shops, many tobacconists and bowling alleys had the machine. The BAR sign we know today was first used on slot machines during this period, and it was based on the Bell-Fruit company’s emblem.
Slot machines remained mechanical for many years. To begin the game, you had to pull a lever, which spun the reels. By tugging on this lever, you stretched a coil within the machine, slowing down the reels. This manual approach to slots gives players a sense of control over the game and the result. This is why these devices were so popular.
The Rise of the Electric Slot Machine
Bally introduced the first completely electronic slot, Money Honey, in 1964. Despite this, the game was still begun by pushing the lever, so that players could still feel comfortable with this new version of a slot machine. This was the very first slot with a boundless hopper that could pay out as much as 500 coins automatically. The game’s popularity increased the popularity of electromechanical slots.
The first video slot was launched in 1976. Fortune Coin, located in Las Vegas, made the slot in California and the game’s display was a bespoke 19″ Sony TV screen. The game debuted at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Soon after, the Nevada State Gaming Commission approved the video slot machine after minor adjustments and proofing it against cheating. It quickly became a hit on the Las Vegas Strip. IGT bought Fortune Coin in 1978.
In 1996, WMS Industries Inc. launched “Reel ‘Em,” marking the next benchmark in slot history. When the game’s bonus round was activated, a new screen appeared with the bonus play. The extra round made for extra rewards. Casino slots grew in popularity throughout this period, making up around 70% of a casino’s revenue.
AUTHOR BIO:Vinod Gill is a writer who specializes in writing content on sports and tech gaming subjects. He is a Digital Marketing Consultant, Blogger, and Co-Founder of best seo company in Jaipur.