Slot Machine History

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.

Quick Facts

  • 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.

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 State of Modern Slots Machines

Digital slot technology

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are slot machines?

Slot machines are the inspiration for the online mega game, slots. Main street slot machines are an evolved form of Charles Fey's adaptation of the trade simulation machines of the era. Over the last century and more, these machines have captured the nation's imagination and found a place in the hearts of many.

Are they legal in Canada?

Depending on where you wish to play, yes. Differing from other countries in gambling laws, Canada's gambling rules are applied under provincial jurisdiction. With the exception of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, casino "style" gaming is legal which, fortunately for you guys, includes slot machines. That said, internet gambling is not a form of legalized gambling.

Can I still play the older slot variations?

If you can find them, you can play them. Retro themed bars and casinos often offer the older versions for prosperity and old school charm. I'm not going to lie to you though, they are not easy to find.

Are they really random?

Don't worry, all slots are random. Any land based casino or online casino offering a non-random slot machine or game is not, quite frankly, worth its salt. The computer that powers the game generates its line orders at random.

Can they be beaten?

There are no quantifiable odds with a slot game. The reels don’t overload and, while there is only so much real money a slot machine can take, the RNG inside ensures that there is no time limit on payouts. And, while many good people will attempt to convince you that they know a secret, you can't really beat them as such. You can however still win very, very big.

Are they more likely to payout at certain times?

Nope, sorry again. Each spin is random and independent from ALL previous spins. This means that the next jackpot win has no relation whatsoever to the last jackpot win. The computer chip running the Random Number Generator (RNG) inside is constantly cycling through the internal numbers even while the machine is idle, meaning the "due" jackpot isn't actually due after all.

What slot machine games are the most popular?

Providing 30% of any casinos revenue, slots are the most popular game in the house. Of these, Penny slots remain the most popular form.

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