A slot machine is a casino game that features spinning reels. A player places a bet and spins the reels. The goal is to land a winning combination. The winning amount can be many times higher than the bet, depending on the combination.
Created in 1891 in the United States, the first slot machine was an automatic device. Two Americans, Sittman and Pitt of New York, were the men who invented the slot machine. They decided to develop a mechanical game which would base its operation on the rules of poker. The vintage slot machine’s mechanism included five reels, each of which showed ten playing cards. The game started with a special lever that triggered the spins.
Charles Fey is considered the creator of the modern slot machine prototype; in 1905, he constructed his famous device. The name of the first mechanical slot machine was Liberty Bell – after the iconic symbol of American independence. A cast iron machine, it weighed fifty kilograms. Its three reels, which were geared with a long thin lever, soon earned the name “one-armed bandit.” The symbols on the reels depicted card suits, horseshoes, and bells (which yielded the biggest prize). The minimum bet was 5 cents, while the maximum winning amount was 50 cents. Liberty Bell became so popular that Charles Fey soon started to produce Liberty Bell machines on a large scale.
In the 1910s, at which time gambling was outlawed, Bell-Fruit Gum started to produce gaming machines that issued chewing gum and candies. There are no prizes for guessing why the gambling device was called Fruit Machine; naturally, it featured various fruits and berries on its three reels.
Another American, Herbert Mills, made a great contribution to the development of slot machines. Thanks to him, the machines began to resemble modern slot machines. The reels became larger, as did the screen size, which allowed a player to see not only the winning line but also two adjacent ones. Initially, these alterations were meant to show how close a combination was to the winning one, but over time such a turn allowed for an increase in the number of game lines.
The 1930s were the era of electromechanical slots. The Jennings company produced a machine called “Jackpot Bell.” Its reels were started not by a handle but by an electric motor; the lever served a decorative function only. Later, this model was completely supplanted by a push-button control system.
Many companies struggled with the creation of an automated system for issuing coins. This idea was realized only in 1964 with the advent of the Money Honey slot. The prize, previously provided by staff, from that time started to fall into a special tray. Some machine models were also equipped with transparent sections for coins, embodying Herbert Mills’s idea to increase players’ motivation. Money Honey’s gameplay included a backlight and sound effects. The machine could work for an extended period of time without the need for technical support, and accepted up to 500 coins of various denominations.
In 1975, the first video slot, by Walt Frauley, appeared; it soon became the prototype of modern slots. Fortune Coin represented spins only on the screen, which did not establish players’ trust. However, in a year, the game was improved. It became more popular than many mechanical slots, marking a new era of slot machines.
A line of new games conquered the market. Four years later, video poker was developed. It dramatically increased the popularity of video slots. Such poker machines were a new feature in the world of gambling.
From year to year, electronic slot machines were modernized, old casinos were demolished, and more and more luxurious buildings were built in their place. Electronic gaming was on the threshold of great changes.
Apart from the changing format of slot machines, casino owners also developed new bonus systems and jackpots. Casino mega-networks were able to accumulate huge Jackpots, stirring interest among players in multi-million dollar prizes. These jackpots could be obtained not with poker chips and extravagant bets but by simply throwing a coin into a slot.
Interestingly, the chances of hitting a jackpot were greater than zero. It became much easier to get the winnings than it was a hundred years earlier, at the dawn of the slot machines era, because the mega-network allowed for quick gameplay and the swift accumulation of a new jackpot. Just imagine: in the 1990s, slot machines outranked all other casino games, bringing in at least two-thirds of all the profits in the casinos of Nevada and Melbourne!
In 1996, an Australian company developed a system of multi-line slot machines. This meant that, with each spin, the player could bet on more than one line. Of course, this upgrade increased the chances of winning, and along with it the slot machine’s popularity.
This innovation appeared in various casinos in Atlantic City, attracting much more attention. Quick cash hunters spent more and more time playing slots, and this is not surprising because some of the slots offered 10 pay lines, with separate bets for each line.
The era of the Internet could not help but get involved in such a profitable business. Now, it is not necessary to leave the house to spend a little money in the pursuit of luck. All players have to do is type the name of the desired online casino site in the address bar and start playing their favorite slots online. You need only make a deposit and you can start playing!
Each online slot can vary, however. It is easy to understand why, given the user-friendly interface and simple rules.
Initially, slot machines were mechanical. Video slots have grown more popular over time. The mechanical slots had 3 reels, with between one and five pay lines. To start the game, a player needed only to pull a lever; that’s how the name ‘one-armed bandit’ came about. The later models also had a launch button, and the lever played a purely decorative role. The symbols of the mechanical slot machines were represented by fruits, signs, ‘bar’, sevens, and bells.
Video slots could boast not only new symbols but also a greater number of reels, plus a more attractive backlight, animation, and sound effects. Initially, video slots corresponded to the classic 3-reel model, but gradually 5, 7 and 9 reels appeared.
Nowadays, almost all modern slot machines are video slots; mechanical slot machines can be found only at a museum or exhibition. Modern technology has made it possible to add many innovations to slots and diversify their gameplay. In addition to choosing pay lines, bonus levels, and interesting modifications, modern slot machines have many additions:
Online slots are constantly evolving and diversifying. Their principles are borrowed and used in national games, for instance, Japanese gambling game Pachinko, while online gameplay continues to transform this simple game into an adventure.
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