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A Look at the Evolution of Online Classic Slot Machines

A Look at the Evolution of Online Classic Slot Machines

Slot machines have always been a popular casino gaming option among casino players. Today, with the rise of online casinos, slot players can easily choose from hundreds or even thousands of different slot machines. But have you ever wondered how did it all start? If yes, then here’s an article that takes a look at the origins of slot machines and how they evolved over time.

The origin of slot machines

As with several other popular casino games, slot machines were invented a long time ago. To be specific, the origins of the initial slot machines can be dated back to the early 1880s. The world’s first slot machine, which was designed by a New York-based firm, featured 5 drums. Also, the game made use of 50 playing cards in total. Here, players would insert a coin in a dedicated slot and pull the lever to initiate the gameplay.

Another interesting thing about these first slot machines is that they didn’t offer monetary rewards. Instead, players were given other comps such as cigars and free drinks by bars that had these machines. Speaking about the payouts, they were based on the number of Poker hands one would line up on the reels.

The advent of the first classic slot machine

Charles Augustus Fey, a mechanic from San Francisco, is widely known as the developer of the first classic slot machine. While the exact date when the first classic slot was invented is unknown, it’s believed that Fey created it between the late 1880s and early 1890s.

Unlike its predecessor, Fey’s slot machine was able to offer automatic payouts to its players. To achieve that, the inventor removed the existing five drums and replaced them with three reels. Also, a set of five slot machine symbols – spades, hearts, horseshoes, diamonds and a liberty bell – replaced the dozens of playing cards that were present at that time.

In Fey’s machine, the highest payout was offered for lining up three matching bell symbols on the reels. So, it’s no wonder that the machine quickly gained popularity by the name Liberty bell. Interestingly, Fey never patented his invention, meaning the design was quickly adopted by several classic slot machine makers.

The rise of mechanical classic slots

Following the development of the Liberty Bell, another slot manufacturer named Herbert Mills created the Herbert Mills slot machine. The slot machine was also widely accepted by the slot gaming community and could be found in numerous bars, shops and salons by the end of the 1910s.

Then for five decades, slot machines followed the same mechanical design. Here, players had to pull the lever to initiate the gameplay. The inclusion of the lever gave players the feeling that they had control over the slot game and its result (though the outcome was random). Also, the lever was the reason why slot machines were also referred to as “one-arm bandits” by many slot fans.

The development of electromechanical and video slots

1964 was the year when the slot gaming world saw the introduction of the first fully electromechanical slot machine. Developed by Bally, the slot machine featured fully-electric reels, though players had to pull the lever to set the reels in motion. Also, it came with a bottomless hopper, which made it possible to offer automatic payouts (up to 500 coins). Owing to its efficient features and increased slot paylines, the electromechanical slot became the largest slot machine of that time and quickly replaced the classic slot machines of the early 1900s.

In 1976, manufacturer Fortune Coin created the first video slot machine. Developed using a modified 19-inch TV set, the game was first featured in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Then after getting approval from the Nevada State Gambling Authority, the video slot was made available at several land-based gambling venues across the state. 

The growth of online slots

The internet boom of the late 1990s led to the development of the first online casino. Initially, only a handful of casino games such as Blackjack and Poker were offered. But it didn’t take long for slot games to become available on internet gambling sites.

At the start, online slot games were quite similar to slot machines offered in land-based gambling venues. However, the rise in computing power and other technological advances allowed developers to be more creative with their online slot offerings. Today, one can find slot games that come with mesmerizing themes and soundtracks and have a variety of bonuses and other great features on offer.