The slot machine has become a staple of gambling, whether in land-based casinos around the world, or their digital online slot brethren. The slot machine has become the most popular and widespread form of gambling in the world and is loved by many a gambler. However, there was a point in history where the world had never heard of the slot machine, one-armed bandit, fruit machine, or pokie. We thought we’d take you on a trip back in history to the birth of the slot machine and walk you forward, so you can see how it became the worldwide casino game phenomenon it is today.
The Early Slot Machines
Before the slot burst onto the scene, American gamblers had to play the standard table games at the time, as well as enjoying sports betting. However, in the late 19th century, all of this changed and the world was amazed with a new invention.
Everything to do with slots can probably be traced back to 1891, when two people in New York, Sittman and Pitt, invented the poker machine. It was operated by pulling a lever with the hopes of creating a five-card poker hand.
However, a few years later, this was simplified by a man called Charles Fey, who was a mechanic in San Francisco. He made his machine with three reels and only five different symbols that needed to be matched in order to win. One of the symbols used was the Liberty Bell, and this became the name of the world’s first slot machine.
The fact that this game had a limited number of winning combinations available meant that it actually had an automatic payout system, which was absent from the more complicated poker machine a few years earlier. The Liberty Bell became massively popular and, as a result, Charles Fey is generally credited as the man who invented the slot machine!
Slow Slot Advances
While the Liberty Bell took the world by storm and other slot machines were created, progress was slow. There was only so much people could do with the mechanical slot machines. They could only be so complex. However, things would take a revolutionary turn in the 1960s, when the Bally Company developed the first electromechanical slot machine.
This would become the blueprint for all slot machines going forward and allowed engineers to start making more complex machines with more reels, more symbols and more game modes. By the time fully digital slot machines appeared, developers were able to give them diverse themes, symbols and bonus game mode features
The Modern Slot Machine
Today, slot machines are completely digital, whether you’re playing at an online casino or your local gambling establishment. While some players miss the mechanical feel of older slots, these new slot machines have given developers far more flexibility when it comes to designing their games.
They’re able to be far more complex with much better visuals and sounds. Not to mention all the new gameplay features and bonus rounds that can be included.
If you’re an American player who enjoys playing slot machines, this is truly a fascinating time to enjoy the industry. We wonder what Charles Fey would think if he could see what his humble little slot machine evolved into.