Slot machines are a gambling staple. They are often seen as more fun than intense poker games. You are spinning colourful symbols with exciting noises after all. It almost seems more like an arcade game than a casino game. Being a machine, slots donít go as far back as other gambling games. Ancient China or Rome just didnít have the technology. But the relative newbie to the industry does have a longer history than you may think looking at the bright animation of online slots. This is where the game of slots first began.
What are they?
Letís quickly cover what a slot machine actually is so thereís no confusion. To use a slot machine you put some money or token in the slot and push a handle to spin the reels with symbols on. When the reels stop, the more symbols that match the better. If you win, the machine releases coins. Traditional versions use card suit symbols or fruits which is why in Britain they are called fruit machines. In the online world, the symbols can be anything really.
First appearancesThere is always debate about exact inventors and times. It is thought that slot machines first came into being in 1891 thanks to the New York company Sittman and Pitt. But the mechanism is thought to have been used by other non-gambling machines. These were machines used for entertainment, showing toy horses racing and other novelties. Sittman and Pittís gambling machine used 50 playing cards on five drums. The aim was to line-up poker hands on the reel. If successful you would collect your winnings at the bar and this could take the form of prizes like free drinks and cigars.
A different early slot machine you may have heard of is the Liberty Bell. This was invented by Charles Augustus Fey around the period of 1887 to 1895. The machine had a slightly different set-up. Feyís machine had an automatic payout system which meant the game was simpler. There were three reels with playing cards of five different symbols. His design was popular but Fey didnít have any kind of patent so it was copied by other producers.
You may have thought that the banning of slot machines in 1902 held developments back but it didnít really. It just meant that machines couldnít give out cash prizes. To get around this fruit machines were invented. The fruit symbols related to the flavour of the sweet you would win.
Slot machines were able to be developed so early on because they were fully mechanical. But later in the 20th century this didnít need to be the case. Everything was becoming electronic. However, the first electronic slot machine called the Money Honey was still started by a lever. This was because the producer thought it would be too much of a change to remove this mechanism. People liked to feel like they controlled the game by pulling the handle. Of course, we have let go of the lever now.
The next stage in electronic development was video slots. Instead of having physical reels, the machine had a screen. This technology was being developed in 1976 and made its first appearance in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Once approved by regulators and cheat-proofing modifications were made, the video slot machine took the world by storm.
Of course, the final major development in the history of slot machines was to step into the online world. Slots transferred fairly easily onto the internet. It was already using a screen and the game was just between the individual and the machine so not much interaction was lost. The ease of slots makes it a good game to be accessible to as many people as possible. You donít have to be an expert to play. Slots are also fun to adapt. Instead of being limited to fruit machines and card suits, the symbols online can be absolutely anything. This creates an opportunity to reach new audiences. If you are looking for a good slots website, check out this real money slots guide by CasinoHEX.Slot machines were born out of the development of technology and continued to ride the wave of the technology takeover. The simplicity of the game means it can be adapted to just about anything so the form it will take in the future is anyoneís guess. You never know, the slot machines we use today could seem completely outdated to the gamblers of the future.