Arguably the most popular aspect of both online and land-based casino gaming; slot machines can be found in pubs, bars, restaurants, arcades and, of course, casinos all over the world. Making up for roughly 70% of a casino’s standard income, the games have continued to rise in popularity since the first Poker machine that was resemblant of a slot made its debut in 1891. That’s right, Slots have been around for longer than the internet itself, evolving over time to make their way onto our screens, at home.
So, let us travel back in time to the very beginning, to when prizes were paid out in the form of cigars, food, and even fruit-favoured gum. Read on to find out more…
The first Poker machine
In 1891 a New York based company released a machine with five drums and 50 playing cards inside. The aim of the game was to pull a lever, which would spin the reels, in the attempt to line up a Poker hand. The game cost a nickel to play and winning spins would be paid out in the form of cigars and other non-monetary prizes from the bar in which the machine was situated.
The Liberty Bell
The popularity of the Poker machine inspired Charles Fey, and so, between 1887 and 1895, he created a simplified version that would allow automated payouts. This became known as the Liberty Bell and is widely classed as the first slot machine. The machine featured three reels with playing cards and symbols: hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes and a liberty bell. Landing three bells in a row would award the biggest payout. The Liberty Bell gained huge popularity, and as Fey didn’t patent his idea, the concept was used by other gaming developers to manufacture more Slots.
Electricity and the push of a button
In 1964, the first electromechanical slot was released by a company called Bally. The game was still started by pulling a lever, as this was familiar to players, but it was the first machine with a bottomless hopper, meaning it could pay out up to 500 coins. As electromechanical Slots rose in popularity, the lever was replaced by a button.
In 1976 the first video slot was developed in California by a Las Vegas-based company called Fortune Coin. The game used a modified 19-inch Sony TV for the display and could be played exclusively in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. After some cheat-proofing and modifications, the slot was approved by the Nevada State Gaming Commission, becoming popular across the Las Vegas Strip.
In 1996, the first online casino was created, opening the doors to virtual slot games, bigger payouts and even more bonus features. It didn’t take long for online casinos to provide a huge selection of slot games for players, and now they dominate the virtual floor.
Ever since the first online slot game found its place on the internet, the games have continued to evolve. Thanks to technology, you can now spin the reels with the added excitement of bonuses, multipliers, more ways to win, cascading symbols and bonus symbols. You might even discover the Megaways mechanics, which has given a make-over to some popular games to provide you with hundreds of thousands of ways to win. There are even progressive jackpots that can take prize money from a bigger network of Slots from across the internet, and so much more.
So, with slot games galore both online and within land-based establishments, where will you spin next?