Aug 21, 2023

Evolution and History of Slot Machine

A slot machine, known as a “one-armed bandit,” is a popular gambling machine that has drawn players’ attention for many years. Its origin slot machine was invented in the late 19th century, when Charles Fey created the first mechanical slot machine, “Liberty Bell,” in San Francisco, USA. So, who invented slot machines, and the very first slot machine to appear in history was developed by whom?

In the United States, Charles Fey, a technician from California, invented the first slot machine named “Liberty Bell” in 1895. This device had three rotating reels with different symbols and a mechanism for paying out winning combinations. The Liberty Bell laid the foundation for the gambling industry’s growth.

📌Interesting Note: Slot machines are also called pokies, short for “pokies machines” in Australia and New Zealand. Pokies made their debut in the late 19th century. “Barbarian Queen” pokie is the most played in Australia. But who invented pokie machines? It was created by Aristocrat Leisure in 1986, and ever since then, it has become trendy.

Over a century since the first slot machine one-armed bandit in San Francisco in the 19th century, slots have evolved from mechanical masterpieces to a digital dominance of online gambling, with electromechanical slots introduced in the 1960s. The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and Germany were popular spots for mechanical and electromechanical slots.

The first video slot machine appeared in the 1970s, and as of the mid-1990s, the internet had made it possible for worldwide access to online slots. Due to favorable regulations, the UK, Malta, and Gibraltar became centers for online gambling.

Year by Year: History of Slots:

1891 – The Precursor

In 1891, Sittman and Pitt created a prototype of a contemporary pokie machine modeled after poker and continued the history of slots. Players inserted a nickel and pulled a lever to spin drums with 50 card faces. The machine’s early development established a spinning reels principle and an element of chance.

1895 – The the First Slot Machine

The name of the first slot machine is “Liberty Bell,” invented in 1895 by Californian mechanic Charles Fey, which gave rise to a modern pokie machine. The Liberty Bell had three rotating reels with images of stars, playing card suits, and horseshoes as symbols. A lever had to be pulled to start spinning reels and align symbols for a payout. The biggest payout, 50 cents, was obtained by getting three Liberty Bell symbols.

The popular concept of automated payouts and straightforwardness gained popularity, but California’s anti-gambling legislation prevented immediate cash awards, instead awarding winners complimentary gifts. The Liberty Bell’s positive market response led Fey to increase machine production, expanding machines to bars, saloons, and other amusement venues.

1907 – Fruit Symbols

In 1907, Chicago manufacturer Herbert Mills introduced the “Operator Bell”, replacing poker-based icons with fruit symbols like cherries and melons (which was the next step in the history of slot machines). This improvement simplified winning combinations and made a game less complicated. Mills’ gaming machine introduced a staggered stop function for automatic payouts, enhancing the experience. Adding fruit symbols further established a lasting association between these symbols.

1963 – First Electronic Slot Machine

Bally’s 1963 launch of the first electronic slot machine, “Money Honey,” revolutionized gaming development by incorporating electronic components, enabling an automated distribution of up to 500 pennies. The success of Money Honey in the market led to the rapid adoption of electronic ones, enhancing reliability, intricate elements, and higher bets. It was another step in the evolution and history of slot machines.

1976 – Video Slot Era

In 1976, California developed the first video slot machine, revolutionizing history by displaying spinning reels and symbols visually and introducing exciting animations to gameplay. Nevada State Gaming Commission approved video slots, confirming their legality in casinos. In 1978, International Game Technology (IGT) acquired rights to produce and market these machines, introducing improved visual effects and technology-enhanced gameplay.

The 1990s – First Online Casino

The first slot machine ever made development saw a significant boost in the nineties with the advent of online casinos. The introduction of Microgaming in 1994 made gaming accessible from home. Microgaming’s “Cash Splash” was the first online progressive jackpot slot, introducing cutting-edge elements and fostering the expansion of online gaming. Accessibility and safe payment options fueled this growth, introducing various themes.

1996 – The First Second Screen Bonus

In 1996, WMS Industries Inc. introduced “Reel ‘Em,” a groundbreaking gaming machine with a second-screen bonus function, enhancing gameplay engagement and odds of winning by offering a bonus game on different screens. WMS Industries Inc.’s innovative strategy increased casino revenue, accounting for nearly 70% of income.

The first slot machine (1887) used symbols like a heart, diamond, spade, horseshoe, and liberty bell. Machines from 1902 used fruit symbols like cherries, oranges, melons, apples, and bars. Starting from 1976, with the invention of computer graphics, symbols like crown, star, 777, gem, and clover became prominent. Jack, neon reels, starburst, wild, and scatter symbols have become the most used.

Bell Fruit Gum Slot Machines

Bell Fruit Gum, the early mechanical gambling machines well-known in the first decade of the 20th century history of slot machines. These machines, developed by Industry Novelty Company to circumvent gambling laws, used fruit symbols instead of poker symbols. Bell Fruit Gum slots paid out prizes while evading strict anti-gambling laws, demonstrating a significant advancement in gaming development.

Nickel-in-the-Slot Machines

Early coin-operated machines called “nickel-in-the-slot” allowed customers to input a nickel coin in exchange for a particular service / good. These devices first appeared in the late 19th and provided various services, such as selling short-form entertainment like peep shows and vending products like gum, cigarettes, and postcards.

Since its creation, slots have become increasingly popular, and the introduction of online slots has only increased their appeal. A quick synopsis of their voyage is given below:

Offline Slots

Late 19th century: Charles Fey invented “Liberty Bell” in 1895, ushering in the gambling history of slot machine. In casinos, bars, and other entertainment venues, mechanical and electromechanical games started to gain popularity in the early to mid-20th century.

Online Slots

In the mid-1990s, Microgaming introduced the first online casino, Gaming Club 1994, with various gaming machines. One of the oldest online progressive jackpot slots, “Cash Splash,” was first made available by Microgaming in 1996. The late 1990s: A greater variety of online slots was offered thanks to the entry of Cryptologic and Playtech companies.

Who Invented Slot Machines And When? Charles FeyLiberty Bell1895📌Interesting Note:Popularity:Features:Mobile Dominance:NowadaysFirst Slot Machine Evolution Line: History of SlotsUnited States: The United Kingdom:Australia: Japan: Germany: Year by Year: History of Slots:1891 – The Precursor1895 – The the First Slot MachineLiberty Bell,1907 – Fruit Symbols 1963 – First Electronic Slot Machine1976 – Video Slot EraThe 1990s – First Online CasinoMicrogaming 1994 Microgaming’s “Cash Splash” 1902“Operator Bell” in 1907BAR 1908 In 1964, 19781996 – The First Second Screen Bonus1996, 70% of incomeShort Pokies History: Alternative to The First Slot MachineElectromechanical Era Of Early 20th Century:Video Technology Of the 1970s – 1980s:Digital Transition From the 1990s – present:5 Top Intriguing Facts About History of Slot MachineLargest payout:IGT is the leading provider of free online pokies:Liberty Bell – Pigeon Feathers: Metal, Paper, Chips: The Development History of Slots Bonus SymbolsThe first slot machine (1887) Early symbols (1890s – 1950s): Wild symbols (1960s and 1970s):Scatters (1980s – 1990s):Second-screen bonus symbols (1990s – Present):Expanding and stacked symbols made gameplay more dynamic (2000s–Present).Cluster payouts and cascading symbols (2010s-Present):Persistent symbols and multi-level bonuses (2010s-Present): Bell Fruit Gum Slot MachinesNickel-in-the-Slot Machines“nickel-in-the-slot” First Gambling Evidence: History of Slots PlayersAncient Dice Games: China: Betting in Rome: Cards and the Middle Ages: Greek and Romans: Offline VS Online: Compressed Output History of Slot MachineOffline SlotsOnline Slots