Within minutes you could open up your browser, find your favourite online slot games, and experience the thrill of a classic game without having to leave the comfort of your home.
But have you ever wondered how the traditional slot machine has transformed over its 129 years of existence, from its original form as a mechanical novelty machine, to the video slots that we’ve become familiar with today?
The virtual slot experience is most popular amongst players today and is often taken for granted, because we’re always expecting online gaming to continue to advance technologically. However, for a reminder of just how remarkable the slot machine’s journey has been, read on, as we uncover its fascinating history!
The First Slot Machine
The first slot machine was created by American inventor, Charles August Fey in 1894. It was placed in a saloon in the following year and was an instant success. As a result, Fey opened up a factory to mass-produce the machine and its popularity soared.
As a follow up to his first machine, Fey created the Card Bell which resembled the classic slot machine that we are now most familiar with. This was the first three-reel slot machine and to play, the player had to pull the lever which would spin the reels, causing card suits to line up and subsequently form a poker hand.
The machine was revolutionary for its time, but Fey was not completely satisfied with his invention and could not figure out how to incorporate an automatic pay-out function, as at this point, players had to collect their winnings from the bar when they scored a winning reel.
The Fruit Machine
With the rapid growth in popularity of the machine, and over 3,000 slot machines existing in San Francisco alone by 1910, questions were raised as to how ethical these gambling machines were, and laws were placed to prohibit the use of them. In retaliation, the fruit machine was born and was effectively a slot machine disguised as a chewing gum dispenser.
These machines were created by Herbert Mills and were the first machines to use fruit symbols, inspired by the machine’s theme, since the chewing gum was fruit-flavoured. These fruit symbols were accompanied by a bell and an icon displaying an image of the Bell-Fruit Gum which was dispensed from the machine. This rectangular symbol evolved to become the bar symbol that still graces the online Slots that we know and love today!
The Electromechanical Slot Machine
In the 1960s, in the aftermath of World War II, there was a surge in demand for the popular gambling past-time that was the slot machine. As a result, in 1963, Bally Manufacturing of Chicago created Money Honey, the world’s first electromechanical slot machine. The machine had the capacity to award players an automatic payout of up to 500 coins. The machine also saw the abandonment of the side lever, taking the game one step further towards evolving into the format that is most readily available today.
The Rise of Online Slots
Hop in your DeLorean and skip forward to the 2000s, where we will find the invention of the world wide web and the revolution of gaming. Online Slots were first introduced by software companies such as Playtech and Microgaming, and began as humble three-reel fruit machines. Within ten years, the games had evolved and online platforms were able to offer players a wide variety of themed Slots, and even introduced 3D Slots!
Online Slots saw a rapid growth in the gambling gaming scene, because of its accessible nature and ease of use, meaning they are suitable for beginners and experts of the game alike.
The story doesn’t end there though, as technology is constantly evolving and the gaming industry is bigger and more vibrant than ever. Virtual reality Slots now exist and are beginning to take hold in land-based casinos, making gaming experiences more advanced and immersive than ever!
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