The History of Slots

Around 80% of every casino’s lobby consists of slots. Developers produce games of chance with impeccable design and stunning visuals. How come that slots are the most popular games in the gambling industry? It can be explained by the game's simplicity. You push the lever in land-based slots or the spin button in online slots and wait for the outcome. But have slots always been that simple? The slots history is not as long as, let’s say baccarat or roulette, but it is quite exciting.

The Origins of Slot Machines

The Origins of Slot Machines

It seems that slot machines have been here since forever. But in reality, slots are yet to cross the 150 years mark. The exact year of the first slot machine release is disputable, but most gambling scholars agree that the history of slots starts in the 1890s. The exact year when the first slot machine was released depends on what you consider to be the first slot machine. Three different machines were released in three different states on three separate occasions in the 1890s. And each of them can be considered the prototype of the modern slots.

In 1890, Illinois saw the release of the automated poker game machine. It was created by Frank Smith of the Ideal Toy Company. Smith designed the machine to automate poker games. The poker machine had 5 reels and 3 rows that displayed card symbols. The reels would spin upon insertion of the coin into the machine. The outcome was either a winning or losing combination. Upon getting the winning combination, the venue where the machine was displaced was obliged to pay the player.

Merely a year later, Brooklyn-based company Sittman&Pitt presented a similar machine. Sittman&Pitt’s machine had a lever, and players had to push it after inserting the coin to start the game. It quickly gained popularity in the New York bars, where people would play it for different for free beer or cigar. It seems like it is one of the first famous slot machines. Actually, the popularity of Brooklyn’s machine overshadowed the Smith’s one so much that it’s barely mentioned anywhere nowadays.

There were several other machines like that, but in 1895, Charles Fey released his “Liberty Bell” machine. It was a one-armed bandit with three reels and symbols instead of cards. Another addition was the fact that Fey’s “Liberty Bell,” unlike previously mentioned inventions, could grant the player an instant reward. So began the story of slot machines. By the 1950s, slots were bringing 70% of the gambling industry’s revenue. Basically, the same picture as you can see in online gambling.

Transition Online

Transition Online

With the arrival of the internet boom in the 1990s, the gambling industry started its slow transition online. Surprisingly, slots weren’t the first games to be added to gambling venues' online counterparts. At first, online gamblers were offered to play Roulette and Blackjack. But it wasn’t long till slots were added to online casinos. The history of online slots begins in 1998. The first ones were the exact replicas of popular slot machines in land-based casinos. But slots started gaining popularity rapidly, soon comprising 80% of what online gambling venues were offering, and developers started experimenting with themes and layouts of slots.

Today, you can find slots that are based on blockbusters, books, and fairy tales. The layout of slots also vary greatly. Two layouts can be considered classic: 5 reels and 3 rows, or 3 reels and 3 rows. But you can also find slots with 5 reels and four rows or 6 reels and 4 rows. In certain slots, each reel can have a different number of rows that changes with every spin. There are straightforward games, and there are slots that have special features.

Special features may include a mini-game, which can be triggered randomly and can bring you cash rewards. Other features include a jackpot wheel, where depending on where the arrow stops, you can win a cash prize or another feature, or lose your current win. Still, the most common special feature is free spins. The feature gives you several spins where you can win without placing a bet.

Where to Play Slots

There are thousands of online casinos, each one having several thousands of slots. All you have to do is to register at one of the online gambling venues. However, you don’t want to play at any online casino. You don’t want to worry about your data being leaked, and you want to have guaranteed fair play.

That’s why, before registering at the casino, you need to make sure that it is licensed and regulated by a gaming authority. You should also consider the casino’s payouts and promotions. You can learn all that from the independent reviews, so check them before registering at a particular gambling venue.

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