History of Slot Machines

While high rollers take to the tables of Vegas and Atlantic City on night-long Blackjack and Roulette benders, it is the slot machines that continue to be the biggest drawcard for casinos, land-based and online. We'll explain the history behind the popular online slots of today.

Casino Slot Machines

For well over a century slot machines have been a part of the casino gaming experience. First appearing in the late 1800s in San Francisco, slot machines have been reborn time and time again as the gaming sensation keeps up with the ever-changing nature of gambling.

The very first slot machines used cards rather than symbols (such as fruit or animals) in order to accustom new players to the game. Intelligently - yet sneakily, as well - the designers used a five-reel system of ten cards on each, thereby leaving out two important cards: the Jack of Hearts and Ten of Spades. This was done for the sole purpose of lowering the odds of spinning a Royal Flush, even though the machines didn't pay out cash. Rather, they dispensed prizes such as drinks and cigars to winners.

Charles Fey was the first man to change the face of slot machines by creating the first mechanical slot: the Liberty Bell. The San Franciscan car mechanic used a three-reel system with card symbols (hearts, spades, and diamonds) painted on. In addition, he added a fourth symbol, the Liberty Bell, which, when spun across all three reels, rewarded the player with the biggest prize on offer at the time: fifty cents.

Fey continued to revolutionize gambling systems by inventing the first draw poker machine in 1901. He was a genius and obviously no fool; he rented out his machines to bars and gambling houses for a 50/50 split of all profits. But stubbornness ultimately caused the demise of Fey's slot machine monopoly. He refused to sell his manufacturing and distribution rights, even though the demand for his machines was far higher than his ability to supply them, and in 1907 a man by the name of Herbert Mills created his own slot machine (imaginatively named the Operator Bell) which spawned the first of a series of fruit slots.

1964 was another milestone year for slot machines. It was then that electronic microprocessors were introduced into the machines. Electronic slot machines were immediately far more secure than the archaic handle-based slots, and ultimately led to larger cash payouts.

Eleven years after the introduction of electronic slots, Walt Freely unveiled the very first video slot machine. Initially there was mixed reaction to the creation. On one hand the machines were quick and easy, and required very little physical interaction; however, the absence of tangible reels caused many gamers to question the fairness of each spin. This hiccup on the road to a new generation of gaming was eventually overcome when video poker machines gained popularity. People began to regard video slots as honest machines after they realised video poker games were entirely fair.

Video slot machines can still be found in every casino around the world, and in most bars and sports clubs. The online gaming craze has not taken away from the popularity of casino slots; on the contrary, it has allowed an entirely new generation of gamers to access the exciting world of slots through the medium of the Internet.

Online Slot Machines

With over 100 years of history behind it, slot machines are still raising the bar when it comes to new technologies. Across the Internet there are scores of gaming technology companies whose sole purpose is to create an exciting, intense, and, above all else, unique online slot machine experience for the gamer.

Moving into the world of online gaming was a natural progression for a gaming machine so steeped in history. Log into any online casino today and you will more often than not find that the number of online slots available to be played far outweigh the combined number of table games on offer.

The market for online slot machines is incredible to look at as well. With the massive boom in online technologies over the last couple of decades, playing the slots no longer requires you to don a fancy outfit and sit in an often-intimidating casino environment all day. Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy an endless number of slot machines, designed to cater to every sport, film, TV show, or even fruit you can imagine. With a slot machine dedicated solely to Dennis Rodman, there clearly isn't much that hasn't been done.

The evolution of slot machines will continue to blossom as technologies develop and playing numbers increase, both online and offline. I doubt that Charles Fey would have believed what an impact his simple, lever-slot invention would make on the world after more than a century.