History of the development of slot machines

25th April 2022

It is impossible to imagine a modern Ireland online casinos without slot machines. Despite this, slot machines appeared in the range much later than other gambling games, including blackjack, poker, and roulette.

The first mechanical slots

In the late 1890s, games that resembled current slot machines began to appear. These were reel-type devices, on which were depicted cards or a machine with a huge wheel, on which there were many colours. The point of all games was to guess the card or colour that will fall out after spinning the reels or wheel.

The first slot machine was invented by mechanic Charles Fey. It was a machine with three reels and a receiver for coins. To start this machine, you had to turn a knob, thanks to which in the future the machines will have the audacious name of the one-armed bandit.

Fey himself collected slots by hand and rented them out. Popularly these machines are called Liberty Bell.

Soon Fay’s creation migrated to the big city of San Francisco. The slots themselves showed suits of cards, and to start the game, you had to throw in the receiver 5 cents and turn the knob. When a player won, he had to go to the owner of the institution for the winnings, because it was not possible to get them automatically.

Soon new versions of machines began to appear. For example, in 1893, the world saw a slot machine with one reel, not three. It was called Horseshoes. Eight years later, another variation appears, already with five reels. In the future, a similar mechanism will be used in poker machines.

The success of this machine allowed the inventor to open his own factory in 1896 and devote himself entirely to the development of new machines. The first poker machines with “falling cards” and cards arranged on 5 reels were created here.

Popularisation of slot machines

People loved the one-armed bandits immediately, so the demand for their purchase and production was enormous. Many companies tried to negotiate with Fey for production, but it was difficult to negotiate with the inventor. Many he simply refused. It got to the point that competitors stole one of the machines made by Fay and began to create their own machines. So the one-armed bandits appeared in Las Vegas. It is noteworthy that the slots were originally planned there only as entertainment for girls and wives accompanying men who would spend time in the casino. However, the machines were to everyone’s liking.

With the spread of electricity came a new era of slots – electronic slots. Instead of the usual knob, an electric motor was used, which involved an internal wheel mechanism. This was the slot machine Jackpot Bell from Jennings, which they created in 1930. By the ’50s, this new type of mechanism had spread, and the slots were now to use the latest five horsepower motors.

But the real breakthrough was the slot machine, which could give winners the money automatically. It was invented in 1966 by Bally Manufacturing and was called Money Honey. This slot had 8 reels with 20 different symbols on them. If the player won, the coins would fall into a special tray. The sound of falling coins is still used in the design of online slots for aesthetics. It was also possible to get much more money in Money Honey. Thanks to the enlarged coin compartment, the player could get an automatic payout of up to 500 coins.

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It is noteworthy that “fruit” slots appeared not only for the sake of an interesting new style but also as a way to avoid anti-gambling laws. Instead of cash awards, players could get in such a machine fruit chewing gum.

Mechanical slots also had their disadvantages. Because the mechanism worked predictably, it was easy enough to calculate when it was safe to go for a coin. It was possible to calculate how many seconds the wheel would stop on which symbol after pulling the lever. This was used by particularly astute players.

For example, if a player plays a slot machine with four wheels, which depicts 25 characters, it means the chance of winning it is 1/25, or 1 to 390625. Savvy players would wait for the jackpot amount to reach these values and go play with friends until one of them won.

However, the next invention, electronic slots, put an end to predictable results.

The era of video machines

The machines continued to evolve, and the video slot age was nearing. In 1976, a new slot machine with a Sony Trinitron colour receiver debuted in California. The Fortune Coin Co. designed it. The new gadget immediately spread after a successful test in a Las Vegas hotel, and vending machines with it began to be used all over the city.

In the eighties, electronic slots were very popular to play. At this time, a new machine appeared that used a random number generator and gave users more confidence that they would not be cheated. By the nineties, slot machines had spread everywhere and were making big profits for the owners of the establishments.

Such machines no longer needed 25 symbols on each wheel, because a random number generator is responsible for the final value. That’s why most slot machines have only 12 symbols each.

Since then, the developers of slot machines could give free rein to the imagination and experiment with the number and types of reels, symbols, and pay lines.

Online Slots

With the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, online casinos with a large assortment of online slots began to appear. With each passing year, online slot machines have improved, and continue to do so to this day, regularly surprising gamblers. The modern slot machine works much more complicated than its predecessor Liberty Bell, but gives much more opportunities and is much more convenient for players.