Slot Machines – Then and Now

Slot machines are always fun to play, however not many people know  about some of fun facts behind the origins of this exciting game.

Before the end of the 19th century, the term “slot machine” was primarily used for all automatic vending machines. It was only in 1895 that the first ever gaming slot machine was designed, known as Liberty Bell, a mechanical machine with 3 spinning reels. This original slot machine, known to most as the “one armed bandit”, introduced the original slot machine symbols; diamond, spade and hearts. The creator behind this slot machine was a San Francisco mechanic, Charles Fey who rented out the machine to saloons and bars.

The use of fruit symbols; lemons, plums and cherries appeared in 1907 by Herbert Mills who created a knock-off of Fey’s Liberty Bell, called the Operator Bell. Two years later; 1909, Stephen Mill modified Fey’s original design by adding ten new symbols to each reel. He also made the machine more compact to make moving and installing machine easier. This knew great success as well and in no time took over machines designed by Fey.

Over the years the slot machines became increasingly popular and their use by gaming and entertainment establishments spread exponentially, however there were some drawbacks associated with the technology – primarily the amount of space that the machine took up on the floor, as well as how much noise it made. Players’ could also cheat on the slot machines found back in the days which led to the creation of electronic micro-processors in 1964, which also enlarged jackpots and awards.

The introduction of electronic micro-processors in 1964 led to the next innovation in slot machines technology. This advancement was demonstrated in 1974 with the creation of Fortune Coin – a video based machine created by Walt Freely. Video slot machines were not welcomed at first, as people found it hard to trust a technology they couldn’t understand and therefore many preferred to stick to the reels. This perception changed with time as it usually does whenever a new technology is introduced and its adoption grows. Since then there has been an explosion in the number of slot machine variations with  many different symbols, pay-lines, jackpots, bet sizes, bonuses and even extra side games – leading to a big boom in the popularity of video slots.

This brings us to the next generation of slot machine gaming; the online digital era which we currently find ourselves in.

In the same manner that slot machines are popular at brick and mortar venues, they are equally as popular in the online gaming world, at online casinos. It didn’t take long for online casinos to disrupt the land-based gaming industry due to the high availability and convenience that online gaming venues provide, in addition to attractive player rewards made possible by the lower overhead cost of online casinos.

Gaining widespread adoption in early 2000’s gaming technology vendors such as IGT, Microgaming, Bally Technologies, Eyecon, Play’n Go, Play’n Go and others have introduced to the online gaming world a vast selection of exciting and fun slot machine games.

Despite the widespread popularity of virtual casino gaming, some users are still apprehensive about trying the games out for themselves. Fortunately, free slot machines such as those available within the grand casino gaming app allow novice gamers to gain experience and increase their comfort level with playing slot machines online, without having to gamble with real money.

If you’re interested in learning more about the fun facts and history behind online gaming check out one of our previous articles.


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