Slots are one of the most popular casino games in the world. But have you ever wondered how they came about? Well, no need to keep wondering. You can take a look in this post.

What Is A Slot?

A slot refers to a gambling device where players need to insert coins or tokens and pull a lever or push a button to set the machine’s reels in motion. Players win depending on how many symbols line up and how they line up. Well this is the case with traditional mechanical slots anyway. Nowadays everything is done electronically or over the internet. All deposits and withdrawals take place electronically.

Development of the Very First Slot Game

Contrary to popular belief, the very first slot was actually developed in 1891, years before Charles Fey’s version, by a company called Sittman and Pitt. Instead of the reels as we know it, this slot contained five drums and 50 playing cards. This slot was mainly found I bars and cost only a nickel to play. To set the reels in motion players first had to insert their coins and then pull the lever. Players won if they managed to line poker hands up on the reels. To give the house the advantage, two cards were removed from the slot. Since this early version of the slot machine did not have a payout system yet, wins had to be collected at the bar. Prizes included free drinks and cigars.

Charles Fey’s Version of the Slot Machine

Charles Augustus Fey created the first slot machine as we know it in 1894. It had an automated payout system. To create an automated payout he had to reduce the complexity of the winning combinations. This was done by replacing the original five drums with three reels, and the playing cards with only five symbols: spades, hearts, diamonds, a liberty bell, and horseshoes. The maximum payout was awarded to players who collected 3 Liberty Bells across the reels. The Liberty Bell slot machine became extremely popular and it was not long before it was copied by other slot machine manufacturers.

Fruit Slots

The ban on slot machines in 1902 meant that paying out cash prizes was no longer an option. This led to the creation of the first fruit slot machine by the Industry Novelty Company. To sidestep the law they replaced the card suit symbols with fruit symbols that corresponded with different flavoured chewing gum. They also referred to them as chewing gum dispensers. The prizes were indeed chewing gum.

The Mills Novelty Company copied the fruit slot but added an icon resembling a pack of gum (which later became known as the BAR symbol). They were also the inventors of the jackpot in 1916. The jackpot was based on the principle that a specific symbol combination on the reels cashed out all the coins in the machine.

In a nutshell, this is what led to modern slots as we know it.


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