The Comprehensive History of Slot Machines

Image source - casinoobserver.com

Slot machines are a common staple in every casino around the world. They have been played by billions of people worldwide and have since moved into online versions. With their flashing lights and colourful imagery, slot machines provide the fun and excitement to every first time gambler.

The Origin

The humble slot machine first appeared in the form of a gambling machine developed in 1891. It contained five drums holding 50 cards faces and was based on the popular gambling game poker. Players would insert a nickel into the machine and pull a lever which would spin the drums. Each player would hope for a good poker hand.

Image source - casinoobserver.com

Image source – casinoobserver.com

 

However, there was no direct payment method, so cards like double Kings would win them a free beer while a royal flush would give the player cigars or drinks. Each prize was dependent on what was on offer at the location that the machine was situated.

The Developments

It was around 1887 and 1895 that a much simpler machine was designed by Charles Fey. This new machine contained five symbols and used three reels instead of five drums. This new machine was called the Liberty Bell, with three bells in a row producing the biggest payoff. The Liberty Bell slot machine proved so popular that it was copied worldwide by a number of slot machine manufacturers.

Image source - athena-casino.ro

Image source – athena-casino.ro

Other early machines included the Trade Stimulator which gave out fruit flavoured chewing gum with pictures of the flavours as the symbols of the reels. These food slot machines was an early way for manufacturers to bypass the gambling laws.

In 1963, the first electromechanical slot machine was produced called the Money Honey. Money Honey was the first machine to allow for an automatic pay out of up to 500 coins. The development and popularity of this type of machine led to the side lever becoming redundant.

Image source - www.arcade-museum.com

Image source – www.arcade-museum.com

The first video slot machine was produced in 1976 by Las Vegas based Fortune Coin Co and was purchased by IGT (International Gaming Technology) in 1978.

Today slot machines can be played both in casinos and online through the likes of vendors such as Paddy Power’s online casino.