The History of Slot Machines

If you’d create a poll asking which casino games are the favourite of players from all ages and skill levels, you won’t be surprised to find that “slot games” are almost always included in the top three. And no wonder why, as these games bring joy to the lives of many players. But did you know how our favourite iconic game evolved to how it is now? Perhaps, no one had anticipated that the once mechanical device would serve inspiration to the modern slot games that we enjoy today.

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Also known as fruit machines (UK) or a pokie or poker machine (Australia), slot machines (US) have a long and colorful history. From gum for prizes to large progressive jackpots from modern slot games, slots have truly evolved! Today, players can choose from a wide range of virtual slots and have a stand at winning big jackpot prizes.

But there has always been a dispute on who really invented the slots, and even history scholars cannot reach a conclusion as to the first person behind these iconic machines.

The Inventor

For many, Charles Fey was the one who perfected the slot machine (1887 or 1895).  [Modern slot games have very little in common with the original device, which game was actually based on cards].

Fey who was born in Bavaria and with 15 older siblings didn’t plan inventing the machine. At a very young age of 14, Fey started working to provide for his family but feared being listed and drafted into the German army.  And then with the growing tension between him and his father, he moved out, went to France and worked as an instrument maker.

At 23, he decided to join his uncle when the latter made it to New Jersey, United States. But before going to NJ, he went to San Francisco and worked at Electric Works. Later, he and one of his co-workers founded another company and competed with their employer. It was only in his company where he was able to invent the slot machine.

What’s the first slot machine?

It was in the form of a mechanical gambling machine modeled from a card game, poker. The invention was the solution for many gamblers looking to automate their poker game. Fey invented a 3-reel slot machine as well as the first slot machine that had five symbols, including the Liberty Bell, hearts, diamonds, spades and horseshoes.

The slot machine got its name from one of the symbols – “Liberty Bell.”

This symbol was also the first ever jackpot symbol of them all! So getting three of the symbol in a row would result to the highest payout from the slot machine. It became extremely popular and had a huge demand despite that it was banned in his home state.

Quick facts

  • The earliest payouts were fruit gums.
  • The first theme was fruit and so fruit symbols were used   – and they’re still common today. Other fruit symbols, including cherries and melons also become common.
  • Another symbol emerged – the bar symbol, which is actually one of the earliest logos used by the Bell-Fruit Gum Company. This symbol is still used now in offline or online slots.
  • Candy prizes were given to evade the prosecution common during the earlier years of slot games under the anti-gambling law.

Introducing the first electromechanical slot machine – the Money Honey by the Bally Technologies

The game was the first electronic slot machines that changed the slot industry – and since then games could be started with a press of a button, not pulling a lever anymore. Other features were also introduced – such as players were being able to hold reels for any subsequent spins as well as to nudge the reels in order to make winning combinations.

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Further improvement of slot games

  • The e-games evolved and developed further and video slots were introduced on the market.  Physical reels weren’t utilized at this time but a video screen and graphics.  Following, second screen games were introduced and they featured more bonus rounds in which the reels displayed were changing from one screen to another at which payouts could be won.
  • Online casinos then populate the web near the end of the 20th century and many of the earliest among them offered slot games, which still exist now.  Slot games are some of the earliest at the casinos. Today, there are over 100 slot games on the market and counting, allowing players to enjoy their time better and have a more pleasurable gaming experience.
  • Slot games have developed further and made even more fun! In fact, many of the games are designed with different themes and loaded with bonus features.  Some of the machines also offer progressive jackpots, which amount could be life changing. The jackpot pools until someone very lucky hits it!
  • Mobile and downloadable slot games made the casino games more popular. Today, players can play on their tablets and phones and have a chance to win the big jackpot anywhere they are. Mobile-based games keep players engaged with the games. In fact, they can just log into their account, choose a slot game and then place a bet, hoping that they’d hit the jackpot. They can also change from a game to another without leaving their homes.

Downloadable slot games are also available. Players can download the game on their PC or mobile device and play for real money games. So without even saying, there is a slot game for you, no matter your gaming preference or style.

Definitely, slot games have come a long, long way and they just keep getting better. There is no wonder, as many software development companies are continually developing what they offer, update classic games and design new ones to keep you excited.   Without even saying, you’ll never get bored playing online slots – thanks to innovation that makes them better each day.

What’s next for slot games?  There is no telling on that, but one thing is certain – more surprises are yet to come! Let’s wait and see. Stay tuned with us here at toponlinecasino.com.ph!