Slot Machine History
From the traditional one armed bandits to internet slots with enough paylines to make your head spin, slots have changed a lot over the years. And thanks to visionary inventors, rapidly advancing technology, and forward-looking casino gamblers, it doesn't look like things are going to slow down any time soon. Read on for a quick look at the history of slot machines - from simple fruit machines to modern million dollar jackpots!
The First Real Slots Machine
Throughout the mid-1800's, there were a few automatic gambling machines, but based on what we now consider to be a slot machine, the first one was invented by Charles Fey in San Francisco in 1887. He wanted to make the machine based on poker but, with 52 cards per reel and so many winning combinations (i.e. payouts), that idea was way ahead of his time.
Instead, he dumbed it down and the Liberty Bell machine was born. With three reels and five now-iconic symbols (bells, horseshoes, diamonds, etc.) this machine was the first of its kind and it became a huge success.
The overwhelming orders kept Fey's shop running around the clock and he found a new talent - not as an inventor, but as a businessman. He never sold any of his machines but, instead, split the profits 50/50 with whomever was hosting them. Fey became rich and his original Liberty Bell slots machine is still on display in the Nevada State Museum.
Slots Machines Enter the Mainstream
With the obvious business opportunities, inventors began to compete with new slots machine designs, styles, payout structures, etc. These games spread like wildfire and, while they were originally designed for casual gamblers while the real men played table games, by the 1940's, slots had become technically advanced and their revenues finally beat out traditional games. From there on out, the sky was the limit!
In 1963, Bally Manufacturing took a quantum leap with slots gambling when they invented the first electromechanical version: Money Honey. It could finally pay big jackpots automatically, and it was much more technologically advanced than anything that came before it. Most notably, this is also the birth place of the electric lights and noises that accompany all modern slots machines.
Digital Technology Merges with Slots Gambling
Then, over a decade later, Fortune Coin Co. released the first video slots game in 1976 and started a trend that would really catch on with the mainstream market in the 80's. These machines finally let players use bills instead of coins, which was a huge logistical step in the right direction, and they also made serious bonus features possible for the first time in slots history. These machines are the forefathers of all of the machines that you see in casinos today, and their software inspired the earliest online casinos.
- The first slot machine was invented by Charles Fey in San Francisco in 1887. Smart guy!
- Fey’s original “Liberty Bell” slot machine is on show at the Nevada State Museum.
- The first electromechanical slot was developed in 1963 by Bally.
- In 1976 the Fortune Coin Company created the first ever video slot.
- Today, there are over 2,000 online slots casinos.
The State of Modern Slots Machines
Today's slots machines dominate the gambling landscape, providing upwards of 30% of any given casino's revenue. They are powered by digital RNG software, the bonuses are big (and loud) and cashless technology has opened the way for fast, easy bets and payouts. The biggest modern revolution, though, has to do with the online slots casinos that started popping up all over the place in the 90's.
Today, there are over 2,000 online slots casinos and their lower operating costs give them a real edge when competing with land casinos. Also, their integrated gambling software makes it easy for them to seven-figure progressive jackpots right into your living room! Until online gambling took off, there weren't many people that could credit their millionaire status to playing slots!
The Future of Slots
In the next ten years, get ready to see even more exciting changes in slots technology. With the likely integration between land casinos and online casinos, get ready to see even bigger progressive jackpots. Also, with so much industry transparency, your odds may get better in the future as online casinos compete for Canadian slots players like you.
Finally, since there's already "an App for that", most industry experts agree that mobile gambling will continue to become more and more popular every year.