History of Slots

Posted on 21/10/2016 05:21


Slot machines are extremely popular and represent an instrumental part of all contemporary land based and online casinos. At present great variety of slots are available. The history of the slot machines goes back 120 years ago and brings many different stories together. Throughout the years they have developed into a real source of joy to punters.

There two types of slot machines and namely straight slots and progressive slots. The physical slots are also known as ''one armed bandits'', ''fruits machines'' (United Kingdom) or ''pokie'' (Australia). They are run by coins and usually consist of three or more reels which are triggered when a lever is pulled down. Punters gamble on different shapes, symbols or numbers and gain a win when certain pattern is achieved.

In this article we will provide you with a brief history of the slot machines and the phases of development they have gone over the years to become the piece of equipment we are familiar with today.

The First slot machine

There is some discussion regarding who really is the founder of the primary mechanical devices. It is generally agreed that first slot machine was invented in Brooklyn, New York in 1891 by the ''Sittman and Pitt Company'' which according to many was the forerunner of the modern device. It comprised of five drums with 50 poker card faces. At this period the machines did not really pay in cash, but rather the prizes were in the form of drink from the bar, where the machine was situated, a pack of cigarettes, some cigars, candies or sometimes trade checks (tokens) that could be exchanged for refreshments.

The father of the slot machines

A German born immigrant to the USA called Charles August Fey is regarded as the Father of the contemporary slot machines. In 1895 in San Francisco he created a device with an automatic payout mechanism which he named "Liberty Bell". The machine had three reels and 20 symbols on it such as bells, stars and horseshoes, as well as symbols from cards - diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts.

The ''Liberty Bell'' machine became extremely popular and Fey had to quit his job in order to focus on satisfying the demand for his invention. In 1907 he made a decision to cooperate with the Chicago based Mills Novelty Company and as a result a new version of the machine was launched with some newly added symbols and made in an iron case. It was called ''Mills Liberty Bell''.

Three years later the ''Operator Bell'' was introduced which was basically a lighter version of the ''Liberty Bell'' and used fruit symbols. In 1915 the company turned into a different material to cover the machines. It started using wood as main material of the cover and by doing so, its expenses for manufacturing and assembling had been significantly reduced.

The Mills Novelty Company had made several changes to its machines and it is believed that these had influenced dramatically the industry. In 1930 the company makes the machines quitter and for the first time introduces the double jackpot. Furthermore some changes in the design were also presented and the devices became more appealing and colorful.

Over the next few years slot machines gained enormous popularity and could be found in most of the leading land based casinos. At the outset the machines were intended to entertain women, but gradually they started generating the main revenue stream on the casino floor, leaving behind the traditional table games.

Electro-mechanical slots

Up to the 1950's all slot machines were mechanical but gradually they were transformed into more and more sophisticated gambling devices. In 1940 the first electro-mechanical machine was born. It was named "Big Bertha'' and made by the Bally Manufacturing Company. ''Big Bertha'' was a very heavy machine with eight reels and 20 symbols on each reel and offered merely 80% of payback to gamblers and the odds of hitting the jackpot on this machine were one in 25 million.

In 1963 the so called Honey Money machine was made and it created the most powerful impact on in the industry for years to come. The inner part of Honey Money was completely different than the Fey's machine design, but the outer changes were only cosmetic. The physical lever and reels were removed in favor of electronic components and also exciting noises and flashing lights were presented. With all this new inventions the gameplay had dramatically improved and higher payouts were possible due to the allowance of multi coin bets.

Video Slots

In the beginning of the 1980's  the industry had experienced another breakthrough as first video slots appeared. In 1975 Walt Freely introduced the first machine of this kind, named ''Fortune Coin'' which used a 19 inch Sony TV for the display. Initially people were skeptical with the new technology with electronic reels graphically displayed on the screen, but subsequently all concerns were dismissed with the raising popularity of this trend. Players already had the opportunity to pick from various types of games on the same machine as well as play for higher bonuses and winnings.

Online slots

With their flashing lights and eye-catching cases slots are immensely popular not only in land based casinos all over the world, but also in the online casinos where everyone from a legal destination can experience the thrill of this magnificent game. There are thousands of sites these days where different straight and progressive slots could be found. All the player needs to do is to connect to the casino through his computer and start his virtual adventure.

Online slots offer numerous features and choices for betting on wild and scatter symbols. The player can benefit from free spins and bonus games and thus earn extra credits without depositing additional funds. Two groups of online slots are generally distinguished and namely the classic three reel slots and the five reel slots.

How to choose the best slot game

There are so many online casinos with countless slot games available, that at some point might seem quite overwhelming to pick the best one. Some examples of top online slots at present are: ''Gonzo's Quest'', ''Book of RA deluxe'', ''Dead or Alive'', ''Mega Moolah'', ''Mega Fortune'', ''Starburst", ''Great Blue", ''Forty Super Hot'', ''Zeus'' and ''Cleopatra''.

You may find that the easiest way to determine which one suits you the most is to go by theme. Also it is vital to find a casino that offers slot games with permanent bonuses and promotions. What's more, you will have to look at the safety aspect and find sites with 24/7 customer support, live chat support and constant availability for cashouts.

In the abundance of online slot games world you need to keep in mind that the type of casino software really makes the difference. Companies such as Microgaming, Playtech and NetEnt are the biggest and most respected players in the market. Before making any bets with real money though, it is strongly recommended that you first try the various software providers.

Key concepts to remember when searching for the most proper online slots are ''return to player rate'' (RTP) and the ''volatility''. The RTP is usually illustrated in percentages figure. For instance if the RTP is 90% in a particular game, for each euro your wager will earn back about 90 cents and the rest 10% are known as the ''house edge''. The volatility term is also associated with the frequency of a payout of a certain machine. The lower the volatility, the lower the prospected winnings, but on the other hand if you choose a game with high volatility, you might end up with a small fortune.