The History Behind Slot Machines

Among the many games offered by casinos online and offline, slot machines are among the most popular. As a matter of fact, casinos make approximately 70 percent of their annual profit for those who choose to try their luck on the video slots. But before video slots became the industry standard, the mechanical slots led the pack.

The Beginnings of Mechanical Slots

In 1891, the first mechanical slot machine was invented in Brooklyn, New York. This machine took the card concept behind poker by having 50 different cards glued to five reels. Players would insert their coin and simply pull down the lever, which caused the reels to turn. Those who won would be offered some type of payment or compensation by the casino. However, the winning odds were not in the players’ favor as certain cards were sometimes removed to make winning select hands nearly impossible.

The “Liberty Bell” Slot Machine

Several years later in 1899, a man named Charles Fey from across the nation in San Francisco, California developed a new slot machine dubbed the “Liberty Bell.” This machine contained three rotating drums that displayed five different symbols – a heart, diamond, spade, freedom bell and horseshoe.

Thankfully, identifying a winning combo on the Liberty Bell proved to be easier than on its New York counterpart made in 1891. Because of this, Fey developed the first slot machine payment system, with three liberty bells netting the biggest prize. Subsequently manufactured slot machines sometimes offered other prizes such as chewing gum that fell from the machine’s drums.

The Introduction of Electromechanical Slot Machines

In 1954, the first electromechanical slot machine hit the casinos and soon after, many video slot machine varieties made their debut. Because the early slot machines of this type offered a single play for only one cent, the popularity of this gambling game soared.

Once the per-game price increased, slot machines accepted all types of payment from tickets to checks to paper money. In order to combat the dip in the game’s popularity, the major casinos decided to bring back the one cent slots as a way to attract new players, which worked like a charm.

If you consider yourself to be a frequent gambler who enjoys a wide variety of games, it is important to keep tabs on the up-and-coming developments introduced by the makers of slot machines as well as the casinos. And if you have never entertained the idea of playing the slots, now is a great time to do so; the payouts are constantly getting bigger and better.