Slot machines are about 120 years old, during which time they have gone through many changes. Today, these spillemaskiner online are accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a stable internet connection.
However, that wasn’t the case when these machines first came into existence. So, what’s the actual history of these incredible machines, how they came into existence, and how they operated before the inception of casinos.
The Story Begins
Slot machines first appeared in 1887, after German-American car mechanic Charles August Faye (1862-1944) invented the very first slot machine. This slot machine was powered by dimes and was called the Liberty Bell. Charles Fay assembled these machines by hand in his auto repair shop and then rented them out.
The Liberty Bell was a three-disc automatic machine (with three reels). These discs worked independently of each other at different speeds. The reels featured suits of cards and bells. The structure of the “Liberty Bell” for many years determined the appearance of slot machines. The game required small coins, which were inserted into a special tray. These machines were an instant hit and were placed in bars and pan shops throughout California. However, the issue with Liberty Bell was that it did not have a payment mechanism, so the shop owner paid the winning money to the players. The maximum winnings that could be obtained were equal to 10 coins of 5 cents. Such a slot machine soon received another name – “one-armed bandit,” as the player was very quickly left with nothing.
The Rising Action
Around 1891, the first poker machine appeared, which featured playing cards on five reels. If a coin fell into the machine, the reels began to spin, when a winning combination fell out, the player received money from the owner. Soon, such gambling machines began to be produced on a massive scale. They returned three coins of 5 cents instead of one, which tempted the players. This mechanical machine was the forerunner of modern poker machines.
Mechanical slot machines soon became very popular, despite all the design imperfections. About a year later, Charles Fi opened a jackpot machine factory. In such devices, when the weight of the coins reached a certain weight, the flaps opened, and the winnings spilled out. However, they did not last long since it was enough to hit the car harder to get the prize.
Soon in 1897, slot machines were banned in California. This happened because taxes were neither paid on coins from machines nor on the winnings. A law was passed which prohibited gambling, and slot machines were converted into machines to sell candy and gum. By the way, those symbols (cherry, plum, pear, the inscription “bar”), which are currently present on the reels of slots when playing, are a reminder of these difficult times. Slot machines in the UK are even called “fruit machines.”
Major gamblers found the machines very profitable and asked Charles Fye to sell the rights to manufacture and distribute the machines, but he refused. Then, in 1907, the Chicago industrialist Herbert Steefer Bell began to produce automatic machines similar to the Liberty Bell. By 1910, slots appeared in almost every city in the country, attracting more and more people. The spread of slot machines in Europe began after Fay’s slot machines were stolen by Novelty.
A New Beginning
By 1949, slot machines appeared in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hilton. At the very beginning, they were supposed to entertain the girlfriends and wives of wealthy casino players who played roulette or cards. However, slot machines soon took over casino players as well.
Slot machines are constantly being improved. For example, modern slots are played without a reel and a lever. Instead, a computer chip is built into the machine; the slot has a control button and a monitor depicting rotating reels.
In the mid-1980s, slot machines and table games were roughly equal in popularity. Although by the 90s, slot machines were confidently leading among gambling, slot machines brought their owners a huge part of the profit at their expense.
It is not surprising that slot machines have won the love of the people. After all, to get a big win, you only need a relatively small fee and, of course, luck.