The history of slot machines dates back to the late 19th century. In 1891, Sittman and Pitt, a Brooklyn-based company, created the first poker-based gambling machine.
Their innovation laid the groundwork for future slot machines, and the next notable achievement came in 1895, when a man called Charles Fey, a San Francisco mechanic, released The Liberty Bell. This was a very simple machine that used just three reels.
In 1963, Bally Technologies’ Money Honey was released, and it was revolutionary, as it was the first fully electromechanical slot machine. This inspired several other companies to enter the industry, and in the early 1970s, the first video slot was released. It was developed by a company called Fortune Coin Co., and it was revealed in 1975.
Fruit Symbols and the Liberty Bell
Some early slot machines paid out chewing gum instead of cash. The fruit symbols on the reels represented the flavors of gum you could win.
The fruits are a really interesting piece of slot machine history, in our opinion. When you play slots online in Michigan, for example, you’ll find hundreds of games with fruit symbols. Unless you know the real history behind them, you’d have no idea they represent the flavors of chewing gum you could win while playing early slots!
But why the bell symbol? Well, it was a symbol that appeared on Charles Fey’s game, and if you lined up three, you’d get the biggest payout! The Liberty Bell soon became intrinsically linked to slots and it’s something you’ll continue to see in slot machines released today.
Online Slots and Their Impact on the Industry
The transition from video slots to online slots was a natural progression as the internet began to transform pretty much every industry in the world back in the 1990s. With the internet came online gambling, and this offered game developers even more options in terms of development.
Microgaming, a pioneer in online gaming software development, played a crucial role in this transition. In 1994, they introduced the first online casino software alongside the first online slot – and even today, they continue to be one of the world’s major names in the online gambling world.
The rise of mobile gaming further transformed the industry, with developers optimizing online slots for smartphones and tablets. The convenience of playing anytime, anywhere has attracted an even broader audience to the world of online slots.
What’s Next for Slot Machines?
Slot machine history is an interesting topic, there’s no denying that. However, what does the future hold for slots? Well, no one can say for sure, but there are some exciting possibilities on the horizon.
What we are seeing right now is a fundamental shift in the way players play video slots. Firstly, it’s clear that players are generally going in search of high variance machines with much bigger win potential. This has caused game developers to start producing games that can produce non-jackpot wins of up to 200,000x!