Slot games have become a firm favourite in the casinos both online and offline. Whether you’re a player at an online casino UK or you prefer an in-person experience, slots offer a great combination of high winning opportunities and thrill of the game. But do you know where online slots originated from? Here, we’re taking a closer look at the history of online slots.
The Origins Of Slot Machines
Slot machines date back to the late 19th century, with the first being developed by Sittman and Pitt in 1891. This was referred to as a poker gambling machine and contained 50 playing cards and 5 drums. The machine cost a nickel and all that had to be done was insert the money and pull a lever. If poker hands matched up, then players would be a winner – there was no direct pay-out mechanism however and players had to go to the bar in order to collect their winnings. These winnings were not financial pay-outs however and were instead free drinks and cigars.
The Liberty Bell
The type of slot machine that is most similar to the modern slots that we get in a casino today were invented by Charles August Fey – a Bavarian-born American inventor. This is speculated to have happened between 1887 – 1895. Fey was a mechanic in San Francisco, and he built a coin-operated machine that has since developed into the type of game that we play today. The original slot machines featured 3 reels with just a few symbols to match up. One of the originals was known as the Liberty Bell and this continues to be an evergreen addition to casinos both online and offline. This machine had automatic pay-outs. Unfortunately, Fey didn’t apply for a patent for the design and other manufacturers stole the idea.
Banning Of Slot Machines
Slot machines ended up being officially banned in 1902, however Liberty Bells continued to be manufactured. Because cash prizes couldn’t be given out, the original ‘fruit machine’ was born – these had fruit symbols and chewing gum and fruit-flavoured sweets were given as prizes to players. These would be found all over the US after Herbert Mills created the ‘Operator Bell’ in 1907 including in bowling alleys, salons, shops, and tobacconists.
The First Electromechanical Slots
The first fully electromechanical slot machine was introduced in 1964 and was called the Money Honey. This machine was produced by Bally. While the game still required players to pull the lever, the rest of the game was fully electronic and an automatic pay out was enabled for winners – with up to 500 coins being the jackpot prize.
First Video Slot
In 1976 in Kearny Mesa California, the company Fortune Coin introduced the first video slot. Using a 19-inch Sony TV as a display screen, the video slot allowed players to enjoy a new electronic experience. This then became very common across Las Vegas and was approved by the Nevada State Gaming Commission after some cheat-proofing as introduced.
In the 90’s, the internet began to boom and online casinos developed with online slots being a focal point. With lots of unconventional layouts, themes and symbols being introduced, online slots became a real force in the online gaming world.
As you can see, the history of slots is extensive and as technology continues to evolve, we expect to see the journey of the slot machine continue to grow.