The history of slots

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Liberty Bell slot

Liberty Bell slot (1895)

No online casino can exist without slots nowadays, but when was the first slot machine developed and how did it all start? Read the history of slots.

The first slot in history was developed in 1891 by Pittman and Pitt in New York. But this slots game was completely different from what we are accustomed to these days. The game had 5 drums with 50 cards and was based on poker. The aim was to spin the best possible poker hand. The first slots had no mechanism to pay out prizes. Often these machines were to be found in cafes, the prices were not cash, but things like free drinks or a cigar. According to this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_machine

Because in history it was very difficult to develop a mechanism that could pay out winnings automatically on a game based on poker — they considered a

Bally Money Honey slot

Bally Money Honey slot (1963)

simpler design. This design was invented by Charles Fey of California, it looks a lot more like the slot we know nowadays. This slot was called Liberty Bell, it had 3 reels with 5 symbols: hearts, clubs, diamonds, horseshoe and a bell. The development of this slot took place sometime between 1887 and 1895. The Liberty Bell was a huge success and was followed by many other developers. After several years, the slot machines were generally prohibited in the state of California. However, Charles Fey still created a lot of slots for customers located elsewhere.

One-armed bandit

We are just going to take a leap in time and arrive in 1963, this year the first electronic slot saw the light of day. Bally developed this slot and it was

First video slot

Fortune Coin Co. video slot (1976)

called Money Honey. Special at the time was that it could pay out up to 500 coins automatically, without the assistance from an employee. Money Honey is also known by the distinctive lever on the side, also called a one-armed bandit.

Video slots

The technology of the display screen made it possible to develop the traditional slot machine in a new concept. In 1976 Fortune Coin Co. designed the first video slot and put them on the casino floors for the first time in Las Vegas. Fun fact is that Fortune Coin Co. was purchased a few years later by IGT which we today still know as a game developer of online slots.

Video slots did not only provide new features due to the graphics, they also make it possible to offer a much larger jackpot. A traditional slot with 3 mechanical reels and 10 symbols can of course run a lot less different combinations than a video slot with 5 reels and 40 symbols per reel. There are more combinations possible, so the chance of winning the jackpot is smaller. Logically it will take a lot longer before the jackpot is hit, therefore it has more time to grow.

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