Slot machines are very popular in the gambling industry. They have been around for over a century but still haven’t lost their charm. Slots have evolved, adapting to different requirements over time. Online virtual reels are their most current evolution of this game, gaining increasing popularity in recent years. Modern machines come in different designs, combinations, and sizes, providing players with many options. Here’s a look at how these gambling devices developed through the course of history:
It all started in 1887 when a company named Sittman and Pitt developed a gambling machine based on poker. This machine had five drums and fifty cards in total; customers played to win a good poker hand. This machine quickly become popular, especially in New York. Most bars and pubs had it, with many offering different prizes instead of straight cash to winners.
Unlike later slot machines, the Sittman and Pitt device couldn’t dispense cash rewards. It was customizable as owners could remove a couple of cards to decrease the chances of winning. Drums could be rearranged to lessen odds as well, which made these devices even more popular with vendors.
Slot machine with payout
Charles Augustus Fey is considered the inventor of slot machines though no one is certain about its exact timeline. Some records state he invented this device before Sittman and Pitt in 1887 while others believe he invented it after it at around 1897. However, Fey was the first to create a machine with automatic payouts.
He also reduced this device’s complexity, replacing five drums with three reels. These didn’t have playing card designs, so the game wasn’t like poker. Card designs included diamonds, hearts, spades, horseshoes, and liberty bells. Gamblers got the highest payout if they struck three bells. Fey’s slot machine was called Liberty Bell and it became very popular. He didn’t patent its design, which let other companies develop machines of their own.
In 1902, slots were banned, but Liberty Bell continued to be popular. Business owners found a way to still milk their investment without gambling. All symbols were replaced by fruit pictures and monetary reward was replaced by things like chewing gum, sweets, and treats of the corresponding flavor.
In 1907, Herbert Mills developed Operator Bell, which became very popular as well. It was often found in bowling alleys, shops, salons, and similar establishments. The BAR symbol common to modern slot machines was introduced in this era, which was the logo of Bell-Fruit Company.
Developments in mechanical machines
All older slots were made from cast iron, which had high production costs. In the 1930s, companies started producing production line games made from wood. This was a much cheaper alternative, and it kept up with rising demand for these machines. Many slots had double jackpot prizes, which meant players could win twice in succession.
That drew more people to clubs and pups, making slot machines very profitable for business owners. Some of the most well-known devices from this era of development were Lion Head, Roman Head, War Eagle, and Castle Front. These developments happened during Prohibition Era, which forced many businesses closed. Slots became a common feature in speakeasies.
Legalization of gambling
Nevada legalized gambling despite pressures from the Federal Government in 1931. Many small casinos started cropping up all over the state, bringing slots with them. Manufacturers took advantage of recent developments to create devices specifically for gambling establishments. To date, slot machines are the most popular games in big Las Vegas casinos. This game is an attraction for those who want to get lucky without spending too much effort on tricky card games like poker.
Electronic slot machines
All devices were mechanical until 1964 when Bally, a pinball manufacturer introduced an electromechanical slot machine. It was called Money Honey, and it triggered a big change in this industry. Players still had to pull levers to start this machine, but the reels were completely electronic.
Money Honey has a bottomless hopper, which let it dispense 500 coins easily. This became a common installation in casinos, gambling joints, and bars. Eventually, the lever was removed after player became accustomed to electric machines.
History of Video slot machines
Video displays featuring digital reels instead of physical ones were introduced in 1976. Fortune Coin was the first company to develop it using a 19-inch Sony monitor. After from minor modifications to cheat-proof it, video slots got Nevada State Gaming Commission’s approval. That quickly led to famous establishments adopting this new technology.
Video displays soon replaced electromechanical slots, and most modern casinos have them now. These machines are more tamper-proof, striking a good balance between odds of winning and profit for a gambling establishment.
Slots with bonus rounds
In 1996, WMS introduced a video slot machine called Reel Em. It was had a second screen featuring a bonus round. This round featured a different screen, increasing odds of winning by a slight margin. This development made slot devices even more popular. In fact, gambling establishments earned around 70% of their income from them. People were attracted by the promise of additional payouts, new games, different combinations, etc. Most modern machines existing today include these features.
Online slot machines
The rise of the internet led to the rise of online casinos. At first, people could only play roulette or blackjack but sophisticated slots were also introduced later on. These immediately garnered attention, drawing more crowds to gambling websites. Playing slots from the comfort of home appealed to many people, which drew non-traditional gamblers as well.
Online slots feature more than 5 reels in different combinations. Many have unconventional layouts, which is a nice change from traditional devices. There are many imaginative bonus rounds along with endless symbols, keeping players hooked. Developers realized just how beneficial online slot machines can be because there are more than a 100 of them now, creating new and innovative programs to keep gamblers engaged.
Internet-based games will only increase in popularity as people grow more comfortable with online gambling. It seems like slot devices can’t develop further but this industry has always been innovative, so there’s a great chance that we’ll see something new soon.