When visiting any major casino, there is one particular game, usually found in great numbers, that tends to stick out. Even now, in our online digital era, the game of slots continues to be a favourite. How did it begin though, and evolve to become such a popular game?
The Bell Slot Machines
In 1887, US inventor Charles Fey created the Liberty Bell coin-slot game machine. Having previously experimented with drum rollers depicting playing cards, his new game was simplified to have just three spinning reels. Each showed five symbols: diamond, heart, spade, horseshoe, and the Liberty Bell. By inserting a coin and pulling the lever, various small prizes could be won for getting certain combinations of symbols, with the grand prize going to three Liberty Bells.
A few years later he produced a second, improved version, called the Operator Bell. Soon, his machines were being sold, and featured in shops, hotels, bars, and various other establishments, all over the US.
Around the same time, New York based company, Pitman and Sitman, were also experimenting with a poker-based slot game. Like Fey, their first games used rolling drum cylinders, five in total, showing poker cards along their sides. Coincidently, this is where slots and video poker share a common origin.
In 1891, Pitman and Sitman began producing and distributing their slot machines, and to great success.
The Fruit Machines
In the following decades, the popularity of coin-slot games continued to grow. Over time, a certain type of fruit-flavoured chewing gum-dispensing machine became particularly popular, especially during the subsequent years of gambling prohibition in the US. These “fruit machines” are what gave slots the famous fruit symbols still in use today.
The First Electronic Slots
Over the next half a century, while electrical devices and machines were becoming more common, it was only in 1963 that the first electronic slot machines were first produced by a company called Bally. With the introduction of lights and a better-operating mechanisms, slots received a major jump in evolution.
By now, major casinos in places like Vegas had also taken a keen interest, leading to greater popularity than ever before.
The Age Of Video Slots
Generally though, the slots we all familiar with comes from the video slots era that began with the Fortune Coin Company in 1976. With colour television integrated into slot machines, the game went through an unprecedented surge of both popularity and development. This was aided even further by the boom in computer technology during the 1980s. Hundreds of new variants of slots where created, adding more reels, new symbols, as well as becoming fully digital.
The Slots Of Today
Since the 1980s, though the basic premise of the game hasn’t changed greatly, what has though is the technology involved, as well as the incredible amount of variety and features available in slots. More people are enjoying the game today than ever before. And with gaming sites and developers pushing things to ever greater levels of fun and excitement and even releasing live casino online entertainment, the sky seems to truly be the limit.