From small, card operated box to all singing all dancing interactive experience
The term ‘slot machine’ originally referred to any automatic vending machine or gambling device where the user would insert coins, then pull a lever to activate many spinning wheels and symbols. Depending on their alignment, the player would be awarded a varied quantity of coins.
The first slot machine was invented in Brooklyn during the mid-1800s and used playing cards instead of coins. A user would insert a card and pull a lever to randomise cards in a small window. The machine would not dispense coins as a prize. Instead, players won items from the establishment who owned the machine.
By 1895, another type of slot machine emerged, the liberty bell, which was invented by Charles Fey, a car mechanic based in San Francisco. Considered an upgrade from the early version, this one featured three spinning reels with several symbols painted on them, plus a liberty bell. If three of these were aligned in a row, the largest payout was given.
A significant innovation in this machine was the trade check separator which detected whether fake nickels or real coins were being used. Ultimately, the demand for this machine was massive. So much so that the small shop manufacturing them could not keep up. Despite various manufacturers attempting to buy the manufacturing and distribution rights from Fey, he refused.
The first person to make slot machines a real commercial success was Herbert Mills. In 1907, he started to produce his version of a slot machine which included his trademark fruit symbols, still visible to this day.
Built from cast iron, the machine contained three metal reels with ten symbols painted on each. When the lever was pulled, and the symbols stopped, a jackpot was awarded if the same three symbols lined up.
1934 saw further changes, and the horse racing game PACES RACES became available. This was the first electronic slot machine in existence which was popular. After this, an electromechanical device was introduced, enabling players to insert multiple coins on a single bet and win smaller amounts but more frequently.
In 1964, ‘21’, an electric gambling slot machine was introduced, followed by other devices allowing the play of roulette, horse racing, poker and dice games. Following this was the first electric slot machine in 1975 by the Fortune Coin Company. Then after this, video gambling machines by IGT.
So why have slot machines become so popular over the years?
As you can already see, gaming has expanded hugely as a result of more and more slot machines becoming available over the years. Back in the 70s, casinos only earned 50% or less of their revenue through slots. Today, this number has risen to between 70% and 80%.
Bright lights, catchy music & bold colours.
The fact that slot machines have become so popular is by no means a fluke. With the correct combinations of sounds, colours, flashing lights and payouts, gamers are rarely left unimpressed. Plus, technology is always evolving, like new screens, greater interactivity and complementary incentives for loyal customers. We believe these are the main reasons customers are enticed to play slots over and over again.
The presence of a slot machine is what makes it attractive to a customer – lights, sounds and colours all play a part.
Lights, Sound and Colour. It has been shown that primary or pastel colours for slot machines and graphics are the most enticing—also, the playing of game soundtracks in a major key. That’s why slot games tend to be based on nostalgic themes such as popular movies or well-known music artists to help entice the customer more.
New Technology. A study completed by Trask indicated that displaying games on curved screens can increase gameplay as much as 80% because it makes the game more accessible and also looks great. Interactive, touch screen displays also help make the game more immersive and fun.
Player Tracking. Slot machines can track player behaviour easily. Importantly, they can also be used to work out which types of gifts to reward the customer with for their loyalty. The Right Level of Payouts. Many slot machine games will have regular payouts with the chance to play for a much greater amount. The large prize offering helps attract new potential players who want to try their luck.
In addition to the above, the use of bonus games is another reason why slot machines are considered to be so popular. As well as the emotional appeal of certain brands.
Will mobile gaming apps ever replace slot machines?
There is a chance that new technologies like mobile gaming apps may replace traditional slot machines. Although, many online slot machines are created similar to a traditional slot machine so the customer has the same emotions no matter if they are playing online or on a physical slot machine.
Mobile slot games are on the rise with many users now playing these games in their spare time. Mobile games like slots 888 are becoming extremely popular due to the convenience and accessibility. Many players can access casino games anywhere at any time, whether it be in the comfort of their own home or on the commute to work, as most casino sites are now mobile friendly or have their own mobile apps.
Not only do consumers like convenience and accessibility of a mobile casino game, many also believe these apps to be more secure. Casino sites have created their apps to have secure payouts with the user’s payment details all which can be kept safe in an ‘e-wallet’ for each transaction, gaining the customers trust. A mobile app can also send daily updates and notifications to remind users before a big game that includes big bonuses and payouts.
The future of slot machines
The slot machine has come a long way since its first invention in the mid-1800s. Back then, it was a rather basic affair which was operated using playing cards and didn’t even dispense prizes. Of course, a big step in its evolution is when it was made electronic. So, what could the future of slots look like? With new technologies like improved interactivity, curved screens, and the use of mobile gaming, we are excited about the future!