The history of gambling is a really interesting one that dates back almost as far as our history books even go, as the risk and reward nature of the pastime has proved to be fairly timeless.
Sure, we were not always betting on how many corners would be won in the first half of a midweek Championship game, but in some respect, gambling has existed for ages. Card games became all the rage once we graduated from caves to taverns and sure enough, the slot machine joined in the action around the end of the 19th century.
Nowadays, the slot machine is a whole different concept, with ambitious developers and thriving online casinos offering 3D experiences, captivating graphics, new and unique layouts and some big jackpots. The days of the humble fruit machine have been left way in the past, with online slots now being the most popular way to spin some reels – visit and play online slots.
But how did we get here? What was the first slot machine like and who first introduced the very concept of a slot machine? If you have ever pined for the answers to such questions, then you are in the right place, as here is a history of slot machines.
The first ever slot machine
The first slot machine dates back to the 19th century. The invention of gambling legend, Charles Fey, an American inventor from San Francisco, California, he was able to roll out the first load of slot machines he designed in collaboration with the company, Liberty Bell.
Themselves an iconic name in the gambling industry, Liberty Bell are the reason that a bell symbol has been so prolific in slot machines over the years. The first machine was purely mechanical, offering 3 reels with 5 symbols on each.
Unable to pay out automatically, winning players had to cash in their machine at the bar for a prize which, in the early days, could be cigars or free drinks.
The first fruit machine
When gambling was outlawed, the slot machine makers were given a problem to solve.
It was illegal to play games like these for any form of financial or monetary gain and so they were then aimed at children. More colourful games were made with fruit on the reels and this is where the name ‘fruit machine’ came from.
Prizes from here on would be something like gum in the flavour of whatever fruit combination the player landed.
The electronic slot machine
The electronic slot machine changed the game and casinos across America were filled with these new gambling sensations.
So popular were the initial electronic, self-paying and flashing machines, that gamblers who played them regularly were know an one-arm bandits, sometimes spending hours and hours on the machines.
The video slot game
As so to the present day, the online slot game has made for more possibilities.
Video slots are now the norm, with engaging graphics, well thought out narratives and ambitious themes being the order of the day. But the spinning of those reels still very much acts as the main attraction.