The First Slot Machine
The original Liberty Bell slot machine had three spinning reels that featured pictures of playing cards. On each reel there was also a picture of a cracked Liberty Bell. The game was played by pulling the lever at the side of the machine. This set the reels in motion. The player would watch the wheels spin around and eventually come to a stop. If the reels stopped with the three Liberty Bells lined up, the player won the grand jackpot of 50 cents. The machine caught on like wildfire and the culture of slot machines had begun. The original slot machine invented by Charles Fey can still be seen in a restaurant in Nevada.
Slot Machines and Fruit Machines
In 1902, slot machines were banned in many states in America, but this did not deter Fey or any of his competitors. Instead of pictures of playing cards on the machines, they introduced pictures of fruits and candies. If the slot machine showed three pictures of chewing gum or some such item on a line, the player would win an actual packet of gum. This was a way around the gambling ban, but still allowed players to enjoy the thrill of the slots game. From this improvisation, slot machines became known as Fruit Machines, a name that is still widely used in the UK.
For many years, slot machines were totally mechanical. They were operated by pulling a lever at the side of the machine. There has always been a great amount of satisfaction in pulling the lever of a slot machine and feeling the pull behind the motor, as it made the player feel that he was actually controlling the game. The pull on the lever sent the reels in motion, and it also wound up a clockwork-type motor which timed the braking of the reels and when the payout could be released. This type of mechanism was ingenious and was not superseded for many years. The slot machine became known as the "one-armed bandit," referring to the lever that was pulled as being the one arm.
Advances in Slot Machine Technology
Eventually, modern technology caught up with the traditional slot machines and fruit machines. In the 1960s, the first electromechanical slot machines were invented. The most famous of these is Bally's "Money Honey." By the 1980s, the electromechanical machines were replaced with the electric machines which, as technology advanced, were replaced by the true electric machines which were powered by electric microprocessors. This type of casino slots
machine allowed bigger bets to be placed, which meant there would also be bigger payouts. Slot machines continued to grow in popularity and one could see slot machines in practically every leisure club all around the world.
With the introduction of the Random Number Generator, slot machines gained even more popularity. The Random Number Generator is a computer that is programmed to simulate spinning reels and to produce a totally random outcome to the spin. With the introduction of the Random Number Generator, the traditional one-armed bandit machines soon began to disappear. The slot machine could now be operated with just the press of a button. This new technology opened up a whole new world of slot machines,as manufacturers could now develop slot machines with every imaginable type of theme and symbols and with multiple payout lines. Slot machines have become so popular that they now make up about 70 percent of casinos' floor space and revenue.
The Random Number Generator also permitted the development of the progressive jackpot slot machines
. With progressive slot machines, multiple slot machines in the casino, or even in different casinos, are connected electronically. Every coin that is played on any of the connected machines causes the jackpot to grow. The progressive jackpot has no limit; it just grows and grows until somebody wins.
Online Slots Are Born
The biggest advance in slot machine history since the invention of the Liberty Bell was probably the invention of the online casino
. The online casinos really took off in the 1990s. And naturally, online casinos, like land-based casinos, have adopted slot machines as their flagship game. Many thousands of people now play slots online
from the comfort of their own homes. Online slots
offer everything that the physical machines do and more. The lights and colours of the online slot machines
beat any land-based game, and as long as the online casino you are playing at is licensed and certified you can be sure it is a fair game.
There have been numerous instances of progressive online slots games
paying jackpots of over a million dollars in real money. This is due to the fact that the Internet allows the progressive online slots games from different casinos to be linked together, so that thousands of online slots players are feeding into the jackpot until one lucky player wins at the slot machine and takes it all home. Conversely, online slot machines also offer low bets; coin sizes can be as little as 1 cent which allows the average player a good game with very little investment.
Online slot games offer multi-reel and multi-line payouts; the Cashapillar online slot machine actually has 100 paylines. The possibilities are vast with online slot machines changing every day with the introduction of more advanced computer technology. Online casinos are able to change their graphics and slot machines very easily, providing much more variety for the player. All Slots Online Casino
, for example, has over 200 different online slot games
and continues to add new slot machines
Online Slots Tournaments
The next big step, after the development of the online slot machine
, was the online slots tournament
. In an online slots tournament
, slots players from around the world are linked to one another electronically as they compete to accumulate the most coins in their Coin Box and win prizes. The biggest tournament in slot machine history was the $500,000 World Series of Slots, which took place in All Slots Online Casino.
Slot Machine History Marches On
Slot machines have come a long way from the humble beginnings of the Liberty Bell Slot machine in a mechanic's garage to the vast array of online slot machines and online slots tournaments available at online casinos today. The term "one-armed bandit" will always remain with us, but his arm is slowly becoming history as technology progresses and more and more people play slots online. Slot machine history marches on.