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Blog Posted on 28/10/2022 | Author: Karen Macarthur

A Look at the History and Evolution of Slot Machines


It comes without saying that slot machines are one of the most exciting casino games to play both online and offline. The random and rewarding nature of slot games makes them a go-to choice for millions of players globally.

The history of slot machines is as fascinating as their alluring nature. We explore the history of slot machines and how they evolved in this article. Read on!

The advent of The Card Machine

A forerunner of today’s classic slot machine was The Card Machine. Created by Sittman and Pitt in the early 1890s, it featured five cards with over three dozen face cards in total. When players pulled the lever on this machine, the drums began spinning after a coin is inserted into the coin slot.

Unlike mobile slots, The Card Machine lacked an automatic payout mechanism. So, the prizes weren’t fixed and varied from one establishment to another. Usually, the highest prize in these machines was a cigar or highball, with other winning combinations receiving a free beer.

The invention of the Liberty Bell

At the same time when The Card Machine first made its appearance, a Bavarian mechanic named Charles Fey was fascinated by the working of gambling machines. This led to him creating his machines, The Horseshoe and the 4-11-44. While the former didn’t achieve much success, the latter became an instant hit in his locality.

Following that, Charles moved on to create another machine called the Card Bell in 1898. Although he was pretty confident about his design, he had no idea that his invention would completely change the world of slot machines. The Card Bell featured a simple three-reel layout but came with an automatic payout mechanism.

Playing card symbols originally appeared on the reels of the Card Bell. The symbols on slot machines eventually included stars and bells. As a result of these tweaks, the Liberty Bell machine was renamed later. A Liberty Bell can be still found among slot players in some land-based casinos.

The development of the electromechanical slot machine

With the phenomenal growth of the Liberty Bell in the 1900s, slots remained purely mechanical for several decades. Here, players would have to pull a lever to initiate the spinning of the reels. Also, the early design had a spring that would stretch and eventually stop the spinning reels as players pulled the lever. The layout of the early slot machine gave players the feeling that they had control over the outcome of the slot game. But that was nothing more than just one of the many slot machine myths that prevail in the slot gaming community.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the world saw the introduction of the first electromechanical slot machine called Money Honey. Developed by Bally, the reels of this slot machine required electricity to operate. Yet, players had to pull the lever to initiate the spinning of the reels. Furthermore, Money Honey was designed to offer automatic payouts of up to 500 coins.

The arrival of video slots

In 1976, a Las Vegas-based firm named Fortune Coin created the first true video slot game. The machine used a modified TV and could be accessed at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel at the start. After some tweaks and modifications, the video slot machine was approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Following that, it experienced tremendous popularity in Vegas casinos.

The rise of online slots

The internet boom of the 1990s led to the development of the first online gambling sites. Initially, the offering of these platforms was limited to casino classics such as Blackjack and Roulette. But it didn’t take long for slot games to appear on the scene. And just like their land-based counterparts, slot games became highly popular in the online world too.

At the time, the online slot offering was quite similar to the games available in brick-and-mortar casinos. But the development of high-speed internet and the rise in computing power made it possible for developers to create highly sophisticated slot games.

Today, slot players get a chance to enjoy slot games that come with multiple bonus features, have high-quality graphics and make for an engaging gaming experience. Also, slot tournaments allow players to compete with slot players from across the globe. Then there are the progressive jackpot slots that can offer significant or even life-changing amounts if you are lucky. Indeed, the game of slots has come a long way!

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