Slot machines are a tremendous moneymaker for casinos. Many people will go to the casino just to try their hand at the slot machines, especially those who don’t normally spend a lot of time there. Individuals who do play the game regularly often are very serious about it and will develop different strategies and superstitions that they “must” adhere to. Many believe that these must be followed every time to improve their chances. The way people feel about slots today, is similar to how they were viewed when they first came on the scene.
Slot machines became a hit almost as soon as they were introduced to the public. Many of the beginning games dispensed candy, food, cigarettes and other small trinkets. The idea that one could get instant prizes from a machine was quite exciting, fun and different. Below, we will take a closer look at the history of this casino staple.
Slot machines were first developed in the late 1800s in New York City. The original ones had five reels with 10 playing cards displayed on them. The prizes given out would differ based on the shop where the machine was displayed.
Charles Fey developed the first slot machine in 1887 that was able to give out automatic payments. This initial machine, which would become the prototype for so many others, consisted of three wheels that either displayed a Liberty Bell, spade, diamond, heart or horseshoe. Persons who were fortunate enough to get 3 Liberty Bells were awarded with $.50 (10 nickels), a decent amount of money for this time period. Fey’s machines quickly became a hit.
The early 1900s however, presented a major challenge for owners of slot machines as anti- gambling laws and rhetoric began to take hold. In some places, the machines were banned all together, including Nevada, San Francisco and then eventually the entire state of California.
While Fey’s machines were giving out money there were other machines that would soon be developed which gave out other types of prizes such as candy, food and gum. The symbols used in these machines where fruits. Starting out, many were used to promote the products of a particular candy company. This turned out to be a fantastic way to couple a very popular playing model with advertising. These machines were also able to avoid being shut down when anti-gambling laws took effect because they gave out food instead of money.
In the 1970s, slot machines received a huge upgrade, with the number of available features exploding. Progressive jackpots were introduced. Persons could now push a button instead of pulling down a reel and the machines become electromechanical. The new few decades would result in further developments of the slot machine. The models introduced in the 1980s and 1990s are very similar to what people are used to seeing and playing today. The technology has obviously improved. The sound effects have become more impressive as have the graphics. There are now also video slot machines which offer multiple pay lines and bonuses.
Further advances in technology have made the games available online. Today, millions of people log into their favorite online casino and play slots. This allows them to play when, wherever and for how long they want.