Have you ever wondered how slot machines work? The history of slot machines is quite long, and these games used all kinds of technologies for more than a century. We all love to play slots for fun no download or registration needed as offered at https://top-canadiancasinos.com/free-slots/, right? If you want to take a peek behind the reels, here is your chance: We are explaining how slot machines work.
Until 1960: Cogs and Wheels, Literally
The first slot machine in the world was invented in 1891, in Brooklyn, New York. The design was similar to modern slot cabinets, but it used poker cards, instead of the usual symbols. This first slot machine in the world is known as “Liberty Bell,” and you can see it in a museum today.
It contained three reels and a deck of cards. After pulling the lever, the reels start to turn and stop. If you manage to form a valid poker hand, your award was a piece of gum. Yes, literally a gum – gambling was banned in the United States on a federal level back then, and this was the only method of avoiding that ban.
In 1899, the inventor decided to replace the poker cards with symbols – horseshoe, a bell, and pictures of fruits. It was still the same game, but it was not using a deck of cards anymore. These machines became quite popular, and during the 50s, they spread to casinos in Las Vegas. They did not use electricity, believe it or not. Just like an expensive hand-made wristwatch, they had to be wind-up.
They were running on cogs and wheels, and it was possible to understand when the machine will payout by listening to the sounds of them. Fun fact: The majority of slot myths originate from this era, like the “hot machine” myth. This was actually true back in the day. Those cogs and wheels became hot when they were about to make a payout, and you could understand this by touching the back of the machine.
Between the 60s and 90s
The electricity “revolution” happened in the 60s. Slot machines were still running on cogs and wheels, but there was no need to wind them up anymore. In a way, they became semi-automatic. There was nothing digital inside them, and even their screens were actual reels.
For nearly 30 years, they stayed this way. But at the beginning of the 90s, a company called IGT changed the industry forever: They invented the world’s first video slot machine that has a TV screen. This new type of slot machines worked exactly like arcade games. They had a built-in computer that contained the game files, and since everything was digital, they had advanced graphics and effects.
It was possible to “hack” these computers with a variety of methods because they did not have a central server. You could literally open up the cabinet, alter the cables and score a winning. Some of the slot myths originate from this era, especially the ones where you get to trick the coin slot by inserting all kinds of weird things into them. Luckily, this era did not last that long: Another revolution called the Internet was about to happen.
Today: It’s All About Computer Code
The first online casino in the world was launched in 1994 by Microgaming. And this is actually where the “How Slot Machines Work” topic really starts because they literally set the standards of all online slots (and casino slots) today.
Microgaming developed an RNG (random number generator) software first. The entire purpose of this software was creating random numbers – there was no way to predict the results. Each symbol in a game had a numerical counterpart. If the results of the RNG software and these counterparts matched, the corresponding symbol appeared on the screen. Here is a practical example:
- You press the “spin” button.
- RNG software generates a random number, let’s say 867.
- The numerical counterpart of the wild symbol is in between 850 and 900. Since it matches the results of the RNG, you see this symbol on the screen.
All of these things happen in mere seconds of course: You just see the results. There are no cogs and wheels any more: It is all about random results generated by the software. And Microgaming developed another thing too: Central servers.
Land-based casinos quickly adopted this technology and got rid of built-in computers. Nowadays, even if you manage to open up a slot cabinet, there is nothing inside. All of these games run on a central computer, that is protected. This is also the case for online slots too. If you are playing the games of Microgaming, for example, your computer is actually connecting to the central server of Microgaming, where all game files are located. The computer code is run on the server side, so nobody can alter it. You just see the results and win or lose, depending on how lucky you are.
And this is also why there cannot be a “system” for slot machines. In blackjack, for example, you can count the cards and make an educated guess about how many picture cards are left in the deck. By doing that, you can create a strategy and calculate the odds of every betting option. This is not the case for slot machines: With every spin, a random number is generated, and since you cannot predict the outcome in any way, you cannot create a strategy too. All results are random and based on chance. Even the programmer of that slot game cannot know what the results of a spin will be. Online casinos invented modern slot games and eliminated the possibility of “cheating”. You can only hope to be lucky enough, and that’s it.
Slot machines have a long history and used all kinds of technologies along the way. And they are still not finished: With the rise of VR (virtual reality) slots, we are about to witness another technology. In a way, slot games lead the iGaming industry, and we are happy to be a part of this revolution.