In both online and bricks and mortar casinos, slots are still dominating the marketplace. Lots of punters each day love to play online slots in casinos in person or via their laptop or PC. Some players even sign into their online casino account through their smartphone or tablet while they’re out and about. Computer and video technology has grown massively over the last few years so it’s no wonder that slots are such a popular gambling option today.
However, slots are nothing new. Actually, they have a surprisingly long history which began back in the 1800s. Let’s take a closer look at the history of slots machines and the way in which they’ve grown and developed over the past century.
The Earliest Slot
While many of us think of slots as a modern invention, this isn’t the case at all. The first slot was actually designed in the late 1800s. A pair of inventors called Pitt and Sittman developed their slot machine in 1891, basing their creation on the popular game of poker. Featuring over 50 card faces, it drew huge crowds who would come and watch as players fed coins into its slot and pulled its lever to spin the cards. However, this slot and the slots today had one major difference – it didn’t pay out cash. Instead, players would be given a free beverage in the bar instead of a cash prize.
Chris Fey arrived on the scene in 1902, taking the slot machine concept and running with it. His version had a lever which was pulled to reveal three symbols. If they matched, cash was paid out to the player. His slot machine was known as the Liberty Bell since its highest payout was for three matching bell symbols. The other symbols were diamonds, horseshoes, hearts and spades.
The Earliest Fruit Machine
Chris Fey’s slot machine was in demand, and this led to Herbert Mills, a Chicago-based developer, entering the marketplace. His version was known as the Operators Bell, and it was released in 1907. It was this slot that was the closest to the fruit machines we know and love today. The fruit symbols seen on this early machine were watermelons and cherries among others, and these symbols are still spotted on slots today.
Due to the prohibition and gambling legislation in place at the time, this slot couldn’t pay out a cash prize to the winner and therefore, it paid out in gumballs and candy. These related to the symbols. It was also at this stage that the BAR symbol was introduced, as it was the company logo for Bell-Fruit gum.
Developing Slot Machines
Between the earliest fruit machine and the arrival of the first electromechanical slot, several decades elapsed. It wasn’t until 1963 that Bally devised this innovative machine called “Money Honey”. It allowed cash payments to be made as winnings to punters of as much as 500 coins, and as it needed no attendant in a casino to facilitate the payout, this machine became instrumental in the rise of slot machines in casinos everywhere.
1976 saw the next key moment in the history of slots. The earliest video slot was created and introduced into a hotel in Las Vegas. This slot had a Sony TV which had been modified to be its display screen, using the latest technology to its advantage. It was no wonder that this slot was the inspiration for an enormous drive towards the installation of slot machines across Las Vegas. Just three years later, and every casino on Sin City’s strip had video slots of their own. Fruit machines and one armed bandits reigned supreme, however in the two decades to follow, slots reached an even greater pinnacle of success thanks to advanced video technology’s arrival.
As there were no structural issues or mechanical problems, video slots started to take over from table games within the casino sector. Bonus rounds, exciting features and additional payouts were also introduced over time and slots grew and developed as modern technology advanced.
Online Slots’ Arrival
During the mid 1990s, the internet was brought within reach of the average person, and online casinos were launched. As a result of this, slots advanced hugely, and soon they dominated the choice of games which were available at online casinos. Even today, this is still the same. Players love wagering on slots and they’re spoiled for choice in any online casino.
No matter what theme you like, you’re sure to find a game that matches your preferences, and all have cutting-edge graphics and great sound quality. Progressive jackpot slots have also been introduced, pooling bets on specific games across all casinos, giving punters the opportunity to scoop a massive sum of money as a prize. Innovative bonus rounds, mini games and exciting features are commonplace along with unusual, unconventional configurations. This all makes it more exciting to play in casinos online, so it’s no wonder that slots today are in more demand than ever before.
Gaming On The Go Thanks To Mobile Slots
Smartphones and tablets have been introduced over the past few years, and these mobile devices have allowed slot machines to take a brand new direction. Once only accessible through PCs or laptops, slots have now moved into the mobile arena, with casino software developers investing heavily in the creation of slots which have been fully mobile optimised over the past few years.
The biggest and best known slots are now optimised, allowing punters to enjoy gameplay on smaller screens found on smartphones and tablets, and with the latest HTML5 technology, the latest mobile slots have a truly responsive design.
Whether you have an iOS or Android operating system on your device, you can play most popular slots, and with a wide range of new slots being released all the time by developers for both mobile and desktop gaming, the demand for slot machines shows no sign of abating any time soon. Who knows what the future will hold for slot machines? But one thing is clear – there’ll certainly be a place for them in casinos, no matter what happens!