History of Slot Machines
The history of Slot Machines is as intriguing as the mystic appeal of the profiteering mechanisms themselves. In this article, we will discuss the fascinating history of Slot Machines, all the way up to the introduction of Online Slot Machines in the mid-1990's.
The first semblance of a slot Machine was more like a Video Poker machine, invented by Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York. They developed a 5-drum machine with playing cards, 10-Ace, on the drums. A player would insert a nickel, and the drums would spin. These machines became very popular in local drinking establishments.
In those times, there was no real payout system, so the owners of each establishment would set the worth of a winning poker hand. A pair may be worth a free drink, while a Royal Flush may pay out cigars and drinks. To make winning hands more difficult, certain cards were commonly removed, such as the 10 of Spades and the Jack of Hearts, which lowered the odds of a royal Flush by half.
Based on this idea, San Fransisco automobile mechanic Charles Fey invented the first true Slot Machine in 1887, called the Liberty Bell. Fey's development was much more simplistic, lowering the possible ways to win, therefore making it possible to integrate a predefined payout system.
The Liberty Bell contained 3 spinning reels, with 5 symbols. Combining 3 like symbols resulted in a winning payout. The best payout was 10 nickels, awarded for lining up 3 Liberty Bell symbols.
The demand for Fey's slot machines was insatiable, opening the door for other companies to introduce similar Slot Machine devices. In the early 1900's, Slot Machines were banned in California and many surrounding states, but because of the incredible popularity of Slot Machines in other states, Fey continued to see exponential growth in the development of new Slot Machines.
Another company chose to create its Slot Machines with chewing gum labels for symbols. This resulted in the 'Fruit Machine' craze that continues to this day, including the popular “Wild Cherry” fruit symbol. The “BAR” symbol, also seen in thousands of Slot Machines, was likewise derived from the gum-related fruit machines. The BAR originated as the logo of the Bell-Gum Fruit Company; the maker's of the chewing gum that was used on the symbols.
The first 100% electronic Slot Machine was introduced in 1964 by Bally, termed the Money Honey. By integrated fully electromechanical operations, Slot Machines gained bottomless hoppers and automatic payout system. The need for an attendant was eliminated, as was the need for the traditional Pull-Lever. Electronic Slot Machines and other casino games began taking over the industry, and have continued to dominate over the years with incredibly imaginative themes and multivariate paytables.
With the brilliant introduction of the World Wide Web came the inevitable development of Online Casinos; proffering a whole new chapter in the history of Slot Machines. The exact same computer chips and software framework that enabled electronic Slot Machines were integrated into online software platforms to deliver online Slot Machines.
The online gambling industry has become a virtual juggernaut in terms of enterprise, being the second largest Internet-based industry across the globe. Just like land-based casinos, online Slot Machines are by far the most popular casino game, making up 60%-90% of the overall game variety on all casino software brands.