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The Fascinating History and Evolution of Slot Game Machines

The Fascinating History and Evolution of Slot Game Machines

Slot game machines are the most popular casino games ever made. Whether online or land-based, there are thousands to choose from. But where did they start? In this blog, you will find an overview of how the primary slot machines came into existence and the way they have evolved over the years.

Liberty Bell by Charles Augustus Fey

Charles Augustus Fey is often named as the inventor of the first slot machine. The game used simple symbols to create winning combinations, using a mechanical system. There is no exact date of when his first machine was created. In this machine, he reduced the complexity of reading a win. This was achieved by replacing the existing 5 drums with 3 reels. He also replaced the playing cards with just 5 symbols and a liberty bell. The highest payout was awarded for 3 bell symbols, and as such, the machine was named the Liberty Bell. 

Operator Bell by Herbert Mill

Slot game machines were officially banned in 1902. But the Liberty Bell continued to be manufactured. As cash prizes were prohibited, the age of the fruit machine commenced. These machines used fruit symbols, and prizes were paid out in chewing gum and sweets of the corresponding flavour. In 1907, Chicago based manufacturer Herbert Mills produced a slot machine called the Operator Bell. This was the first machine to use the BAR symbol.

Money Honey by Bally

The first fully electromechanical slot game machine called Money Honey was introduced by Bally in 1964. The reels were operated entirely electrically, but the game was still started by pulling the lever. The game was hugely popular and led to the increasing dominance of electromechanical slots.

First Video Slot by Fortune Coin

The first true video slot was developed in 1976. The slot was manufactured in Kearny Mesa California by the Las Vegas-based company Fortune Coin. The game used a modified 19 inch Sony TV for the display. They created a bespoke cabinet to transport these games, which went on to become a great success. After some cheat-proofing and modifications, the video slot machine got approval from the Nevada State Gaming Commission. The company and the technology that they created was later purchased by renowned developers IGT, who still exist till date.

Reel Em by WMS

A revolution came in the history of slot games in 1996, with the release of “Reel ‘Em” by WMS Industries Inc. This was the first video slot to feature a second screen bonus round. When the bonus round was triggered, a completely different screen was displayed, where the bonus game took place. During this time, slots became increasingly popular at casinos.

Online Slots and Virtual Reality

The rise of the internet in the mid-’90s brought with it the development of the first online casinos and slot games were also a part of it not before long. Just as the land-based casinos, slot games very quickly became more popular than traditional casino games.

In the beginning, the style of the games remained similar to land-based slot machines, with the same number of reels and the same type of symbols. However, software development removed restrictions, and soon there were many new types of games emerging, with interesting themes. 

Nowadays, there are online slots with more than 5 reels and unconventional layouts. There are a wide variety of themes, and endless different symbols to be seen, along with innovative bonus rounds and special game features.

With the boom of technology, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality slot games are bound to become more mainstream in the future. Some developers are experimenting with these games at the moment.

Slot Machine History Marches On

Slot machines have come a long way from the humble beginnings of the Liberty Bell Slot machine to the vast line-up of online slot game machines and online slots tournaments available at online casinos today. Though the term “one-armed bandit” will always remain with us, his arm is slowly becoming history as technology is progressing but with a history of over a century slots will continue to be popular.


Name: The Fascinating History and Evolution of Slot Game Machines
Author: Cosmic Casino
Published Date: 05/01/2020

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