What Is The History Of Slot Machines?


Slot machines have been a staple of casinos around the world. If you’ve ever been to one, or even if you’ve only seen one depicted on TV or in a movie, then you’ve likely seen slot machines.

They are one of the most notorious gambling machines and there are many people who enjoy them, and many who think they are a fast way to lose money.

What Is The History Of Slot Machines?

But how old is the slot machine? When was it first created? How has this invention changed over the years? If you’re wondering about these questions, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’re going to give you a brief history of the slot machine, explaining everything you’ll need to know for a good overview.

We’ve also made sure to include a short FAQ at the end of this article to help answer any extra questions you may have left over at the end.

So let’s take a look at the history of the slot machine!

What Is A Slot Machine?

A Slot Machine (sometimes also called a ‘fruit machine’ or a ‘poker machine’) is a gambling machine that allows gamers to engage in a game of chance.

This means that each time money is inserted into the machine, there is a chance to win a prize. 

Slot machines typically consist of a screen that displays three distinct reels. When currency is inserted into the slot, and the game begins, these reels will spin.

If the gamer playing is presented with a match of three of the same symbol, they will typically win a prize. 

The History Of Slot Machines

The Earliest Slot Machine 

Gambling has been part of human society for a very long time. Although it’s hard to explain its exact origins, it’s likely that humans have always wagered in one way or another.

However, modern gambling consisted mostly of card games for much of modern history. However, this began to change in the late 19th century with the creation of gambling machines.

The first that we can trace back to is the gambling machine created by Sittman and Pitt in Newyork city in 1891. This was a machine that attempted to simulate aspects of poker.

It had fine rotating drums that covered a total of 50 cards. Although this is a very basic version of the slot machines we know today, we can see where some aspects of modern design come from.

These early machines were very popular and many bars throughout New York purchased them as a way of entertaining patrons.

The Liberty Bell Machine 

A few years after this initial invention, the earliest version of the slot machine was created by Charles Fey. It was known as the Liberty Bell and is very similar to even modern iterations of the slot machine.

The Liberty Bell machine featured three reels that would show symbols and award a cash prize depending on what matches the gamer in question gets.

Although the earliest poker machine by Sittman and Pitt was popular, the Liberty Bell machine really skyrocketed in popularity.

Even though they were banned in California, the demand for them was so high that Charles Fey struggled to keep up with them.

From this point onwards, other companies began to manufacture Liberty Bell machines to capitalize on their profitability. 

The Progression Of Slot Machines 

Slot machines gradually progressed in terms of complexity and features, with companies beginning to understand the value of electrical components and more complex features that would make the game of chance more engaging.

It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that video slot machines were created. Video Slot Machines features video graphics that would make the entire experience a lot more engaging. 

It’s worth noting that over the course of the 20th century there were many different types of slot machines created.

Although the three-reel Liberty Bell model is still used today (in terms of basic design) there were many other inventions that changed how a slot machine works – including five reels and even bingo machines (see also “Best Themed Slot Machines“). 

Later Advancements

What Is The History Of Slot Machines? (1)

The next massive advancement in slot machines was undoubtedly the progressive jackpot (see also “What Triggers A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?“). Progressive jackpot machines (see also “What Is A Progressive Slot Machine?“) created an increasing jackpot, with a portion of any lost inserted currency being added to it.

Any player at any time has a chance to win this jackpot, making them an even more exciting gaming machine. 

Today, there are a huge variety of different slot machines that you can find. If you go to any large casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, you will find entire rooms full of slot machines.

They are an integral part of a casino and are much more interactive and colorful than their ancestors.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Slot machines have changed a lot over the years, but they have always been created with a similar design ethos in mind: a simple game of chance to enthrall gamblers.

We hope that this article has explained everything you wanted to know about slot machines and that you’re now a lot more confident about their origins.

If you still have some questions, check below for our Frequently Asked Questions section. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Have Slot Machines Been Regulated Through Time?

Because slot machines are considered gambling, they are often regulated by governments across the globe. For example, certain states in the early 20th century made moves to completely ban them.

This even happened with the Liberty Bell Machine in California, shortly after it was created. However, it’s important to note that slot machines are legal in most parts of the United States today, as well as many parts of Europe. 

Are Slot Machines Dangerous?

Slot Machines can be addictive for those predisposed to them. A good rule that gamers and gamblers like to keep in mind is to never gamble more than you can afford to.

This idea can be used with slot machines, as the smaller sums of money used to play can add up, if you’re not careful! 

Richie Thames

Hi, my name is Richie Thames and I have been a software developer for 12 years. I have worked on some of the most popular online slot machine games, including ones you still see in online casinos today. While there is no simple trick to win the jackpot, there is power in learning about your game before playing. With several decades of experience under my belt, I created this website in the hopes of helping newbies on their journey. Please, enjoy my website, and I hope you learn something valuable about the art of gambling. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next jackpot winner?

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