Slot Machines: Then and Now
Today, we take it for granted that there are slot machines available for us to play. The game machines in casinos and pubs are often digital, only partially mechanical, or require only the click of a mouse in order to turn the reels of a virtual slot machine. We often forget that slot machines have been around for much longer than computers and the internet.
To learn all about slots we have to go back to 1887 when a German engineer by the name of Charles August Fey emigrated to California. He spent 10 years creating the first slot machine that he named the Liberty Bell. The mechanical machine was incredibly progressive for its time. In its solid case, it housed three cylindrical rollers, each equipped with four symbols. In addition, there was a slot for coin insertion as well as a hand lever, which triggered the game mechanism.
Money could not be won at the time but other prizes were made available. However, when gambling was finally legalised players could then win money. This machine was relatively easy to beat as the rollers did not spin fast and could also be stopped by manipulating the handle. For this reason, the maximum profit was set relatively low at half a dollar.
Other slot machine inventors followed quickly – The poker machine | The idea of having an own game machine grow very fast, and it quickly became clear that the technical masterpiece could be a glorious feature in pubs. It was 4 years later, when entrepreneurs Sittman and Pitt from Brooklyn in New York developed a new gaming machine. This machine was based upon poker and like its predecessor, it was designed with no pay-out facility but a good hand would win the player either cigars or beer at the bar. The poker machine – a predecessor of what we now call video poker machines – had 5 reels and could not include every card from the deck and players could not win as easily as with Fey’s machine.
The Money Honey – The first electronic game machine | In 1963, it was finally time for a new invention. The manufacturer Bally had developed the first electronic game machine in the world and called it “Money Honey”. This laid the foundations for today’s computer-operated slots.
Today’s slots and gaming machines | Even the today’s digital slots still mimic the mechanical rollers of that time. The course of the game machines was theoretically always the same: Before you can play, a certain bet must be placed. Nowadays, the random symbols are no longer mechanically determined in most cases, but are generated electronically by a computer. Although in casinos and some pubs you have the possibility to play on electromechanical game machines, but most of the machines are fully automatic and digital. The player can even choose one of many games on the display, which follows a slightly different game system or only has other symbols.
With the advent of online gaming and casinos that combine the appeal of traditional game machines with interactive storylines, cut-scenes, bonus rounds, and mini-games. In the end, game machines provide great fun and through the development of online slots, this type of gambling has enjoyed a new lease of life and will remain a popular form of entertainment for years to come.