Along with classic table games like Blackjack and Roulette, Slot Machines have certainly stood the test of time. Even though they were invented at a time where some of us weren’t even born yet, they are undoubtedly a true casino classic. They generate excitement, thrills and you can’t forget the big wins.
Let’s take a step back in time and explore the history of the slot machine. Evidently, it underwent a number of changes before we ended up with what we’re familiar with nowadays – video slots.
The History of Slot Machines
1891 – Poker Gambling Machine
Slot machines know their roots in the late 19th century. A New York based company, Sittman and Pitt, created what was regarded as the very poker gambling machine in 1891. It was equipped with 5 drums and 50 playing cards. As their popularity soared higher and higher, bar managers wanted to have Sittman and Pitt’s slot machines in their very own bars. Players would insert a nickel and pull the lever to play. To win, they had to line up poker hands on the reels.
This machine had none of the payout mechanisms we’re familiar with nowadays. Instead, players could gather their wins at the bar. These included free drinks and cigars.
1887 – 1895 – Liberty Bell
Next, cam Charles Augustus Fey iconic Liberty Bell slot machine. While there is no clear date as to when this machine was created, it is thought that Fey completed it some time between the years 1887 and 1895.
Fey’s machine started to add an element of excitement with the introduction of automatic payouts. Additionally, he lessened the complexity of landing a win by replacing the 5 drums, with 3 reels. The playing cards were replaced by symbols we are all familiar with – Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, Horseshoes and the famous Liberty Bell, that immortalized this slot machine. Players loved this slot machine both for its particular design and for its highest payout on 3 bell symbols.
Since Fey didn’t trademark his design, he found himself in a situation where others were copying his design.
1907 – The Operator Bell
Fast-forward a couple of years, slots were banned in 1902. However, more Liberty Bells were in the making. This time round, manufacturers changed things up with the distinct fruit machines. Since no one was allowed to pay out winnings in cash, prizes were represented in the form of chewing gum and sweets.
Bearing this in mind, it was Herbert Mills’ Operator Bell machine that continued to generate even more excitement for the years to come. The same fruit slots we play on online casino platforms, mirror the same concept of the Operator Bell. Although he created it in 1907, in just a year, the machine could be found in sever shops, salons and bowling alleys. It was known for its distinguished BAR symbol, which was based off the concept of the Bell-Fruit.
1964 – Money Honey
It’s important to note that slot machine remained completely mechanical for a number of years. For the most part, the procedure involved the same steps: pull down the level to release the release and wait for the reels to stop spinning. At the time, players thought they could call the shots and determine their wins. In fact, this is how the expression ‘One Armed Bandits’, came into play.
However, this all changed with the introduction of the electromechanical Money Honey machine. Manufactured by Bally, the reels in this machine were completely automated, yet you still had to pull the lever. Money Honey was the very first slot machine to have a bottomless hopper, that allowed automatic payouts of up to 500 coins. It wasn’t long before the lever was removed, and a new era of slot machines was just around the corner.
1976 – Fortune Coin
1976 marked an important change in the history of slot machines. Fortune Coin created the very first video slot. Equipped with a 19-inch TV to fit the display, Fortune Coin first hit the casino scene in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
Following a number of tweaks and cheat-proofs, the State of Nevada approved the machine and manufactures finally got the go ahead to operate it at several venues. It wasn’t long before players rushed to the Las Vegas strip to try their luck on the reels.
1996 – Reel Em
The 90s had big things planned for what was to become of video slots. With WMS Industries Inc.’s Reel Em, the game changed completely. This time round, this video slot featured and additional bonus round. When activated, a new screen was displayed, and a bonus game was triggered. What’s more is that players could also win payouts at this stage of the game. Look at it this way, it was the same equivalent to the much-loved free spins.
Online Video Slots
Slot machines certainly have a very long history. From one era to another, they became even more exciting. Whilst some of the designs are hard to beat, one can’t deny that the rise of online slots brought something different to the table.
The introduction of online casinos during the mid-90s brought along something that players had never experienced before. Blackjack and roulette games were launched, but slots weren’t far behind. From a handful of them, we ended up with hundreds and thousands of slots! Soon enough, they completely ballooned each and every casino platform.
At first, online slots followed the same structure and layout of any slot machine found at a land-based casino. Nevertheless, more advanced technologies were on the rise. Gaming providers started to create cutting-edge themes, along with different layouts. Some of these include anything from Irish, Egyptian, Asian and others that have a storyline to them.
More so, some of today’s slots are no longer restricted to solely the 5×3 layout. You’ll find anything from 4×4, 4×3, along with other unusual layouts. A prime example of this is the thrilling Megaways slot. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out! Additionally, you’ll find slots with fixed or adjustable paylines, along with other features such as the max and min bet buttons, auto-spin, max bet and so on.
Bonus Codes and Prizes
Alongside the themes and layout, the prizes also became more interesting over time. Online video slots allow you to win free spins, and also enjoy some of the best bonuses and special features. Some of these include the wilds, scatter symbols and other special features.
Of course, we simply can’t forget the jackpots. Get ready to take home the gold! A jackpot can vary from one platform to another, but we can assure you that they offer high payouts and are extremely lucrative.
Free Play vs Playing for Real Money
Did you know that you can also play demo videoslots? That’s right, you can test the waters first, before committing to anything. Without a doubt, the number of free games that are available to the player have brought more changes to the casino world.
Along with actually playing for free, some casinos also release a demo video release of a number of games. It’s a great idea, since you might need to brush up their skills, or simply check if you’re ready to spend your coins on something before playing for real money. Once you’re confident enough, get ready to spin the reels, get your hands on the wild symbols, free spins and even a jackpot or two!
Have you been waiting for hours for a friend to arrive? Are you stuck in a long queue? Why not check out what mobile casino has to offer?
Online casinos also succeeded in bringing the mobile market to life. Nowadays, most reputable casinos have a fully optimized mobile site or app for those of you who want to enjoy the mobile experience. Rest assured that you can still win the same prizes, issue a deposit, enjoy a high RTP and also avail from the same bonuses, jackpots and an overall second to none user experience. Trust us when we say that you’re in for a wild ride!
Slots are Here to Stay
The history of slots is truly impeccable. They’ve undergone so many changes throughout the years, yet they still continue to generate the same excitement for years to come.