In 1891, the beginning of the history of slot machines was designed in New York by Pitt and Sittman that had five drums that would display poker hands. It had no payback mechanism, so the places in New York that bought them paid in prizes of their own, usually free drinks. Online Slots would not come for another century.
Then came Charles Fey. He made the first slot, the Liberty Bell, in his basement. The slot machines didn't get widespread success until years later when they were put in the Flamingo Hilton hotel in the Las Vegas strip.
Fey's first slot machine was different than anything made today. It was over 100 pounds of cast iron, and lacked the fruit symbols common associated with slots. Instead it had star, horseshoes, and suits from playing cards, like diamonds and spades. The Liberty Bell gave a fifty cent payout to winners, which was substantial in its day. The Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant in Reno still has the very first Liberty Bell designed by Fey. The establishment is owned by his grandchildren, who preserve Fey's legacy in the history of slot machines.
Then Fey made the Operator Bell Slot machine. This slot features the famous fruit design, and became the standard for slot machine aesthetics. The history of slot machines was changed forever. As anti-slot machine sentiments began to raise, Fey had to be clever, and he designed many machines to work like vending machines. This would later be to the bane of owners of vending machines, as the public often confused the two, and police capitalized upon this when they needed good press. The Bell-Fruit Gum Company, who is reputed to have stolen a slot machine from Fey, were the first to mass produce machines that dispensed gum for every pull in order to mask the nature of the slot machine. This is where the BAR symbol comes from. It was an effort to market their gum.
The anti-gambling movement, piggybacked on the temperance movement proved to be trouble for Fey. Slot machines be came illegal in San Francisco in 1909 and in Nevada a year later.. By 1911, they were banned by the state of California. By the thirties, it was politically popular to be anti-gambling, and especially anti- slot machine. In the typical hubris of self-aggrandizing politicians, New York Mayor LaGuardia had a photo op on barge dumping New York City's machines at sea. Most of the machines weren't even slot machines, and were nothing more than common vending machines. The city had confiscated many legitimate vending machines in order to score a public relations coup. It was a black day in the history of slot machines..
"Bugsy" Siegel, the notorious organized crime figure, also figured prominently in the history of slot machine. Bugsy built the Flamingo Hilton on what is now the Las Vegas Strip. "Bugsy" invested in slot machines to fill space in the casino and keep the girlfriends and wives of his rich players occupied. He saw them as a novelty, and didn't take them too seriously, but the women who played them did.
It wasn't until the late 60's that Bob Dylan went electric, but in the early sixties, Bally made sure the slots of Las Vegas did. Slot machine history evolved as Bally overcame the vulnerability of the mechanical slots by making electronic ones. Electronic slot were much more secure than old mechanical and while not perfect, were much harder to cheat. They became much more widespread in the casino floors, and were less and less associated as novelties. Electric bells, and motorized coin hoppers became standard during this period. Now there were many different Slot Machine types
The seventies brought about another revolution as companies began using microchips and random number generators to determine the spin of the reels. Pulling the arm became an anachronism as the machines no longer required this to work. As the microchip advanced, so did slots. By the 80's, all the casinos went to microchip-powered slots, and casinos experienced tighter profits as the machines were infinitely more inexpensive, and the history of slot machines continues on. These advances allowed the porting of code to online slots as well.
You don't need to spend hours in a stuffy casino to find a slot machine that pays good odds. You can play one of our online slots from the comfort of your home.
The Slot machine gained popularity across the United States and later, the world. Slots now account for 70% to 80% of casino revenue. Slot machines today are no longer mechanical. They are completely electronic and come in a million different varieties, but the premise of them all is the same. The software in online slots are the same as a one-armed bandit in Las Vegas. Online slots are the next stage in the evolution in the history of slot machines. Serious players should check out our online casinos and see for themselves.
Now all you need to to learn how to play slots and you are on your way.
Stuart Geyer - Section Editor
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