History of Slot Machines

History of Slot Machines

Slot machines are games played at casinos, both land-based and online. These electronic machines provide more than 50% of the revenue earned by casinos. The game is known by several names across the world. For instance, it is known as pokies in Australia and New Zealand and fruit machines in the UK.


First Slot Machine Invented in Late 1880s — Liberty Bell

A San Francisco resident in the United States, Charles Fey, invented the first machine in 1887 named Liberty Bell. The machine was a simpler version of the electronic slots available today. Fey developed the device which contained 5 symbols and 3 spinning reels. The symbols were a Liberty Bell, hearts, diamonds, horseshoes and spades.


The machine offered ten nickels, the highest payoff, when three symbols of liberty bell appeared in a row. This machine became a large success which led to the birth of the gaming industry in the country. Fey got a number of orders for the machines from across the country even after their ban in San Francisco.


Manufacturers Copy Liberty Bell’s Design

The success of Liberty Bell led to the invention of similar machines. By the early 1900s, Operator Bell, a new machine, was invented by a Chicago resident, Herbert Mills. Many variations of this machine were installed in the city’s popular places such as barber shops, saloons, cigar shops and bowling arenas. The first Liberty Bell machine is still on display at a restaurant in Nevada, Las Vegas.


Some of the machines provided chewing gums with different fruit flavors as winnings. This is how the symbols of melons and cherries, prevalent in slots all over the world, were included in these machines. Using food items as winnings was a smart way to avoid issues of legality of gambling with money in several states in the US.


First Electronic Slots Developed in 1963 — Money Honey

Bally Technologies introduced the first electronic machine in 1963 and called it Money Honey. Although the company had introduced semi-automatic machines in 1940, this was the first machine that was fully automated and did not require a supervisor. The maximum payout by Money Honey was 500 coins.


Video Slots Introduced in 1976

The invention of the video slot machine in 1976 was a group effort overseen by Fortune Coin Co, which was based in Las Vegas. In California’s Kearney Mesa, Black, Cerracchio, Reukes, Beckman and Greene developed the first video slots. A Sony Trinitron of 19 inches was used as the display. The functions of the machine were carried out by logic boards. The first few video slots were in stalled at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Once the Gaming Commission in Nevada checked the games for fairness, the machines were approved and became well-known in most of the casinos in the state.


Online Slots

Today, with sophisticated technology, several online gaming developers have built virtual slots that can be played over the internet at online casinos. Players no longer have to travel to a land-based casino to enjoy the thrill of slots. Online slots also provide features like jackpots and bonus features that offline machines do.