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The History Of Slots

The history of slots is an interesting one and this article allows us to look at the facts in order to gain some perspective about the game and how slot machines evolved from the past.

Slots machines are now more than 100 years old, and throughout the years, the game became more and more popular because it was so incredibly simple to play, but very fun and engaging. Even though slot machines have evolved dramatically since the first prototypes made their appearance in the late 1800’s, one thing has remain unchanged, they have always been a light form of gambling entertainment and very easy to use.

The history of slots can be divided into three main categories: mechanical, electromechanical, and the modern online slots.

With the inception of slots came the mechanical version. The first slot machine dates back to 1895 when a man named Charles Fey who gets the credit for inventing the slot machine, Charles Fey developed the “Liberty Bell” in San Francisco. His love of electronics while working at the California Electric Company, gave him the inspiration to invent a new form of entertainment for the gambling enthusiast. Charles Feys’ mechanical slot machine featured 3 spinning reels and had 5 symbols (diamonds, hearts, spades, horseshoes, and the Liberty Bell), which is how the slot machine got its name.

First Slot MachineLiberty bell Slot Machine

Playing slot machines even when they were manufactured back that was very straightforward. After putting money into the machine, players would just need to pull the lever and then watch the reels spin and wait for the result, hoping to see all the symbols match up.

No sooner that this invention, the “slot machine” boom was born. After manufacturing the first ever slot machine, the gaming machine was placed in many of the gambling establishments on a rental basis. In fact, the original slot machine can still be found at the Liberty Belle Saloon & Restaurant in Reno, one of the gambling saloons in Nevada. In 1896, Fey already had a factory produce slot machines, and was manufacturing what is now referred to as the classic three reel slot machine.

The Evolution of Slots

Slot machines evolved over time. After the first slots gaming machine was produced, several variations of the machine were made Operating the slot machines became much quieter and in the early 1900’s other symbols were introduced into the slot games. Some games began using cherry symbols along with other fruit-themed symbols, and it was around this time the slot machines began to be called “slots”. Today, the cherry slot machine games still remain popular to this day.

During this period of American history, gambling was banned across the United States, but it was later reintroduced, and this is when slots began to dominate the floors of gambling houses and brick-and-mortar casinos. It has been suggested that the women would play on the slots while their husbands, who were high-rollers, would play in more serious card games.

A company called Bally’s was credited for making the first electromechanical slot machines, which were invented in 1963. The machine was unique for its time in that it was motorized by electricity and had sound effects. This was the first slot machine of its kind to incorporate a coin hopper, a container where the coins are dispersed so the player could immediately receive their payout.

By 1970, machines with a bigger hopper were being developed so that bigger payouts to players were made possible. During this time, Bally also brought on board a computer programmer, Inge Telnaes, to program the slots so that it was possible for the machines to offer bigger payouts whilst not dropping the payout percentage of the machine by incorporating more reels, more symbols, and larger bets into the games, so the slot manufacturers were still making the same amount of income.

These electronic slot machines led to the demise of what was dubbed as the “one arm bandit” slots, as they used buttons instead of levers, and now many of them now also have touchscreens.

Video Slots

The video slots came into existence in 1976. It revolutionized the slot machine world at the time, although the pioneer video slot machines were enormous in comparison to today’s slots, as computers were nowhere near as powerful back then and they took up a lot of space. After some early success the machine was bought by IGT, a major slot machine manufacturer.

The Popularity of Slots

From America the popularity of the game rapidly spread to other parts of the world, most notably Europe, Africa, South America, and Australasia. The nickel and quarter machines attract the vast majority of slots players, but throughout the evolution of slot machines from 3-reel to video and progressive slots, there are now many machines that accept dollar bills in several denominations.

At many casinos around the world today, there still are some classic three-reeled slot machines, but you can also find five, seven, and nine-reeled machines with huge variations of symbols, paylines, the amount of the jackpot including progressives, and the wager amounts.

Online Slots

And then when the internet came along, it was only a matter of time before virtual slot machines were developed so that the game could be played online and players could use a Bovada Bonus Code, which meant players were no longer require to use buttons or pull levers to spin the reels. The arrival of many internet gaming companies has seen hundreds of modern online slot games developed for online consumption, and due to the fierce competition in this industry, they all offer some very lucrative sign up bonuses to get new customers to sign up and make a deposit. One of the great things about playing slots at online casinos is that free to play slots became a possibility.

When looking at the history of slot machines, if it wasn’t for Charles Fey’s original slot machine concept that became a reality in the 1880s the casino industry wouldn’t have thrived to become what it has today. Now, slot machine manufacturers have moved into the online casino space and with social gaming’s tremendous growth, things are looking good for progressive gaming companies looking into the 21st-century and beyond.


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