Slot machines have been around for as long as some of us can remember. Who can forget the thrill of pulling down the lever on an Operator Bell machine? It’s a shame that some of us aren’t old enough to remember that glorious time!
However, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to take a trip down memory lane as we explore the evolution of slot machines through the years. From the features, to the payouts, the mechanism and the themes, we will see how the first poker machine paved the way for more slot machines throughout the years.
Through the 80s-90s, casino players had the chance to dabble with a variety of slot machines that made history. From the very first poker gambling machine, to the Liberty Bell and Reel ‘Em In, most casino enthusiasts experienced new features and tweaks from one design to another.
The roaring 90s saw further developments in slot history. Although players could still go to casinos and other venues to play slots, along came the introduction of online slots. More or less, they were centered around the same concepts of a physical slot machine. However, developers started to equip their games with the new technologies that became available to them.
To name a few, providers started playing around with different themes and elements. To this day, you’ll still find players who enjoy a variety of slots, including ones relating to Egypt, Greece, Ireland and Asia. Adventure slots and pop culture slots also go down well with a lot of players from New Zealand and the rest of the world. You can find more information about popular slot themes at this site, which specializes in online casinos.
Slot Machines through the Ages
Poker Gambling Machine
It all started with the very first poker gambling machine. During the later 19th century, Sittman and Pitt developed what became known as the first poker machine in the year 1891. At the time, the poker gambling machine was coin-operated and still featured a slot lever. The objective? Players had to form a winning hand on the 5 drums and 50 playing cards.
Since slots were at their early stages of development, they had no automatic payouts. So instead, players collected their wins at the bar in the form of drinks and cigars.
We’re sure you’re familiar with the Liberty Bell machines. Charles Fey was the brains behind this magnificent design. We can’t really tell when the Liberty Bell was first manufactured, but it is widely thought that works progressed around 1887 and 1895.
The Liberty Bell machine paved the way for what was to come. For starters, we got a taste of what it’s like to spin reels with automatic payouts. In this case, Fey’s creation featured just 5 drums and 3 reels. Since the mechanism was less complex, this facilitated more wins. Along with that, more changes were added including the replacement of playing cards with Heart, Spade, Diamond and Horseshoe symbols. Of course, we can’t forget about the star of the show here – the Liberty Bell symbol.
Players particularly enjoyed playing this slot machine because its design was so distinct. Up until the introduction of the Liberty Bell, there was nothing like it before. Naturally, they also loved the payouts when landing 3 bell symbols.
However, Fey found himself in a bit of a pickle. Although the Liberty Bell machines were well received by the public, some manufacturers jumped at the chance to copy his design since he didn’t issue a trademark. Is this a case of imitation is the best form of flattery? We’ll let you decide.
The Operator Bell
By 1902, slot machines were banned. Although this caused an uproar, the developers behind the Liberty Bell machines found a way to go about this. The way forward was the introduction of the iconic fruit machines. Since payouts were prohibited, players were given sweets and chewing gum instead. This paved this way for a new creation – The Operator Bell.
Herbert Mills succeeded in creating something truly special in 1907. Think of the fruit slots we play on various online casino platforms. His concept was centered around that same idea. He also found Bell-Fruit Gum Company as a source of inspiration as he went on to add iconic features such as the BAR symbol. Eventually, players flocked to multiple venues to give this stunning machine a spin.
Although further changes were made along the years, slot machines remained completely mechanical for a while. Undoubtedly, one of the standout features of slot machines was the level/ This played a huge role in getting the slot mechanism in motion and to also stop the reels from spinning. Interestingly, players thought that the ball was in their court in the sense that they can determine their wins. In fact, slot machines were more commonly known as ‘One Armed Bandits’.
Nevertheless, a wave of change came about with the electromechanical machine known as Money Honey. Developed by Bally, Money Honey was the first ever slot machine to have automated reels along with a lever. Additionally, this machine featured a bottomless hopper that awarded players with automatic payouts of 500 coins. Although Money Honey machines were quite popular for a while, the late 70s were about to completely change the game again.
The 1976 Fortune Coin machine was the brainchild of Walt Fraley. It was the very first video slot that featured a 19-inch TV on the display. Once the necessary changes were made, it was then approved by the State of Nevada. Soon enough, Fortune Coin was set up in multiple venues in Sin City including the prestigious Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Players jumped at the chance to give this one a whirl. Its popularity soared higher and higher to the point that other developers started to develop the next big thing in slot history.
Reel ‘Em In
Although all machines played their part in contributing to the future of slot machines, the late 90s marked a significant change. The introduction of WMS Industries Inc’s Reel ‘Em In brought something different to the table. So, what was so special about this one? Besides being more advanced in terms on design, what stood out most was the additional bonus round. When triggered, players could get their hands on additional payouts.
The various features, tweaks throughout the years and everything else in between made way for a new era of slots. Before the 90s, players never had the chance to experience what it’s like to spin the reels of an online slot. What started out as just a handful of slots, end up in their hundreds and thousands until they completely dominated the online gambling world.
The Creative Aspect
Online slots stood out because different technologies allowed developers more room for creativity. For starters, they are now not obliged to create a standard 5×3 layout. They can play around with more or less reels, as well as cascading reels. Take the new Gonzo’s Quest Megaways as an example. The sequel is an absolute classic, but now that it has undergone the Megaways makeover from Big Time Gaming, it’s even more thrilling.
As for themes, gaming developers are completely spoiled for choice. Whilst retro slots, Irish slots and Egyptian slots maintain their popularity, developers also find their inspiration from TV shows and some of the biggest blockbuster films and bestselling books. Some of these include the likes of Game of Thrones, and the Marvel and DC Universe.
Over the years, prizes became even more lucrative. Players now have more chances to win free spins, wilds, along with big bonuses and jackpots. You can have a look at https://casino.mrgreen.com/ to see with your own eyes, about what we are talking.
Demos and Real Money Slots
Online slots have also allowed players more variety when it comes to what type of slots they want to play. Beginners have free rein to check out demos before raising the stakes on the real deal. Similarly, more experienced players are often interested to see what a new release consists of. Thanks to free slots, they can check out any new features and give it a whirl and then decide if they want to play it long term.
Naturally, real money slots are more thrilling. For starters, the thrill of the game itself entices players. As they watch the reels spin, they wonder if they’re going to land a lucrative winning combo. Additionally, they have more chances to get their hands on jackpots, bonus rounds and other exclusives. That said, we strongly advise you to always gamble responsibly. If you need more information about gambling regulations, please head to https://www.begambleaware.org/
Due to the ever-growing mobile casino market, developers have also been optimizing slots for mobile usage. Since they require higher technologies rather than just Adobe slots, not all slots may be instantly available on your mobile device, but we can assure you they’re worth the wait.
The best part about this is that everything remains the same. Both the desktop and mobile platforms work together to offer a seamless user-experience every single time.
This all goes back to the advancement in technology. With more and more developments on the rise, players have options. They can choose to pull their feet up in the comfort of their home or just take their mobile casino experience on their daily commute or even on a backpacking trip!
The Future is Bright
Without a doubt, slots have a long and impressive history. Although the introduction of online slots may have impacted slot machines in some way or another, we still owe that success to pioneers like Sittman and Pitt, Charles Augustus Fey, Herbert Mills Walt Fraley and so on.
So, where do we go from here? One thing’s for sure; we haven’t seen it all yet. The future is most certainly bright.