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History of Slot Machines

The ever-popular slot machine is a gaming staple the world over. From the time the first ones were invented, through the entire history of slots, they have become increasingly popular and addictive. They range from penny and nickel slots to the quarter or fifty cent slots. Many less-skilled gamblers enjoy the fun without so much risk on the slots. Less skill is required by slot machines.

Slots got their start in 1891 when a type of slot machine was developed in New York. This machine was a tad different than the slots we know today. It worked with drums that rotated that had different cards on them. When a nickel went in the slot, the drums moved to give the player a set of cards. The point was to get a good poker hand. These popped up in bars everywhere. The prize was not given by the machine; instead the bar tender would offer free rounds or a pack of smokes for a winning hand.

“One-armed bandits,” as early slot machines were known, were pioneered by Charles Fey in San Francisco in the late 1800s. These were called such because of the lever that had to be pulled to play. The machine’s actual name was the Liberty Bell. There were three wheels with five symbols each. Getting a set of three matching symbols was the way to win; certain symbols were more valuable. This machine had an automatic payout system built in.

Charles Fey did not stop there. He invented many a slot machine. Some notable ones were the Klondike, The Draw Power, and the Three Spinde. Fey was also the first to make a draw poker slot machine game. His designs included the “trade check separator” which could identify real money instead of fake coins or other items. The business arrangement instituted by Fey was to rent the machines to bars and split any profits.

Beginning in the thirties, electric gambling machines started cropping up. These came in many varieties, including other types of games of chance. With the advent of casinos in the United States, slot machines found another home. Slot machines can be found in other venues as well. Many race tracks possess slots to occupy their customers between races.

Today’s casino slot machines come in many varieties. Nearly all of them involve dropping a coin or token into the slots and pushing a button to spin the “wheels.” These wheels are mostly digital nowadays. The wheels incorporate symbols that must be matched with others to win. Getting three cherries or three stars will win a prize. An advantage of the digital age is that online casinos with internet slots are now being widely played.

Many of these slot machines incorporate a theme from a famous movie, television show, or even a celebrity. They are often themed with music and décor. There are traditional reel slots and ones with digital screens. The way the payout is calculated depends on the type of game being played.

Slot machines have become a favorite among gamers. They are easier to win than most card games that require skill. They can also be less costly. Since their invention in the late 19th century, slot machines have flourished as one of the most prolific ways to gamble.

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