History of Slots

Whether you like them or not, play them often or rarely, video slots are a staple at every online casino. In this post we're bringing you a bit of history of slots how the famous “one armed bandits” came to be and eventually became what they are today.

Slots are one of the more recent additions to the casino when compared to other games like Roulette or Blackjack. Nonetheless their origins go back to the 19th century so it’s not like they were invented yesterday either. The roots of original slots stretch back to 1891 and New York when Sittman and Pitt Company designed a gambling machine considered by most to be the predecessor of all modern slots. It had five drums with fifty card faces and was based on poker, therefore the poker combination determined the pay-out. The drums would spin each time a player inserted a nickel and pulled on the lever. One interesting thing to point out here is that these early slots did not actually make cash pay-outs, instead those who would win were given free drinks ate the, cigarettes or a cigar. In essence the slots of the early days were more of an addition to bars than gambling machines.

Sittman & Pitt Slot

It would not be fair if we didn’t mention Charles Fey, the main guy in history of slots machines. Fey, a German immigrant to the US created the first machine called Liberty Bell in San Francisco. With three reels and twenty symbols it was actually very similar to current versions of slots.

In the 1930s Mills Novelty Company made significant changes to its slot machines which made them resemble today’s version even more. They primarily changed the aesthetics making the exterior of the machines more colourful and attractive. At this time, their popularity surged and by the 1940s casinos were scrambling to add slots machines to their collection. One interesting thing to note here is that hotel owners meant the slots to be attractions for wives and girlfriends while the male patrons played the more “manly” games.

Mills Novelty Company Slot

It was until the 1950s that slots were purely mechanical and this is the time when the first electro-mechanical slots came into existence. It was surprising perhaps that the pinball manufacturer Bally, in 1964 introduced the “Money Honey” slot, powered by electricity and with new sound effect. This would eventually lead to Bally cornering the market with about 90% of the slots in use manufactured by them.

The 1980s brought another big change in history of slots. This time it was the rise of the computers that changed them. No longer were slot machines restricted to just a single game or accepting only coins. The new slots could accept bills, allow players to choose between various games on the same machine and for the first time had bonus games.

The popularity of slots continued and was even surpassed with the dawn of online casinos. The first slots available for play online appeared in the late 1990s and were at first the same games you could play in land based casinos. It didn’t take long however for software providers to realize they need not be limited to existing games and started making slots solely for the online market. This has led to giants like NetEnt or Microgaming offering hundreds of games with various features from bonus games to wilds to scatters etc. So today and player can play in the comfort of their home, at casinos like Casino Adrenaline and have a chance to become a millionaire without ever actually stepping into a land based casino. So good luck and have fun!


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