When you think of a casino, you automatically imagine of slot machines, and this is unsurprising, as slots are the most popular casino games in the industry. Since they were first created in the 19th century, slots have grown in number and diversity, with hundreds of themes and gameplays now available to players. The advent of the internet has changed many aspects of our lives, but it has also influenced the development of slot machines.
We will be looking into the history of slot machines, and the evolution that led to the creation of today’s slots.
The First Slot Machines
The ancestor of the slot machine was first created in 1891 by Sitmann and Pitt from Brooklyn, New York. This gambling machine was more similar to a poker machine than the slots we know today, as it had 5drums with 50 cards faced. Players had to pull a lever after inserting a coin inside, and the drums would spin the cards. If you got a good poker hand, your prize was a beer or whatever the local establishment offered.
In 1895, Charles Fey invented a simpler automatic machine, called the Liberty Bell, which featured three reels, but was able to give payouts automatically. Fey’s machine displayed symbols, such as horseshoes, diamonds, hearts, spades, and liberty bells. The winning payout required the same symbols to line up.
His design also featured a lever on the side, which led the machine to be nicknamed the one-armed bandit.
How Slot Machines Evolved
Slots were banned for a while starting with 1902, but in 1907 Herbert Mills launched a new machine that bypassed this ban. The slot was the first to feature fruit symbols on the reels, and it gave payouts in the form of sweets, such as chewing gum, instead of cash.
In 1963, Bally created the first electromechanical machine, which was called Money Honey. The machine had electronic reels but still required a lever to spin the drums. Payouts were made automatically and consisted of sums of up to 500 coins. As the machine grew in popularity, a button was installed in the place of the lever to make playing the slot easier.
1976 marked the invention of the first video slot. This one-of-a-kind machine was made in California by a Las Vegas company called Fortune Coins, and it was equipped with a Sony television to display the spinning animation. The Hilton Hotel in Vegas was the first to house this machine, but not long soon after, you could find it in almost every hotel in Vegas.
In the 90s, slots transitioned for the first time to the online environment, with the first online casino making available video slots to online players. Since then, the number of players from all over the world continued to grow and further the popularity of online gambling.
The first video slot that introduced the second screen of a bonus round occurred in 1996. A new screen would pop up when the bonus round was activated, where you could play a bonus game for extra winnings.
In the following decade, a new generation of video slots was created – 3D slots. This type of slot tried to give its video animations, symbols, and characters as close to real life as it could. While they are very similar to video slots, 3D slots stand out with their superior graphics, which are usually designed by artists.
Slot machines have gone through a variety of changes since their first iterations came out. Given that technology will keep on evolving, there is no way of knowing how the slot machines of the future will look.