Slot machines are undeniably one of the most important features when it comes to casinos. Enormous banks of space are occupied by these melodic machines, with people often queuing to play the more popular ones. Without them, casinos may seem very solemn and even intimidating to the average Joe. Gambling can be a serious business with great strategy, high stakes and laser-like concentration. But on the flip side it can be light-hearted, entertaining and fun too.
There are many stories as to the origin of these machines, but what we do know to be true is that they first made their appearance in the late 1800’s after being invented by a Californian gentleman by the name of Charles Fey. Using the standard card symbols instead of decorative icons we see today, these machines slowly grew in popularity offering pay-outs in the form of prizes like beverages and cigars instead of cash.
In 1898, Fey created a slot machine called “The Liberty Bell”. This machine resembled the ones we have today and comprised of three reels with a variety of icons – the chief symbol being an illustration of a cracked bell. At that stage what really made this machine uniquewas that it not only had a coin slot but also a pay-out chute and a large lever on the left.
It didn’t take long before duplicates of the machine were being manufactured by others who saw the potential, with its first real competitor, the “Operator Bell”, being produced in 1907 by Herbert Mills and finding its way into many saloons, barber shops, cigar shops and bowling alleys.
The next few decades saw modifications along the way, resulting in an enormous growth in popularity. In 1964 a major development took place – one that would make it far harder to cheat, make the machines more secure and thus allow for larger prizes and jackpots. The electronic micro-processor was introduced.
Jump ahead to 1976 with the creation of the first video-based slot machine. Making use of a specially modified Sony Trinitron receiver mounted in a bespoke slot machine cabinet, this machine had its trial run in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Once further modified to eliminate tampering, approval was given by the Nevada State Gaming Commission and become a popular feature in many casinos – in particular those of the Las Vegas Strip.
Modern day slots are rather impressive, to say the least. With a vast number of games, graphics and characters, they are far more attractive than their 19th century predecessors. Online casinos, such as Indio Casino, create even more of a ‘wow factor’ because of the wide variety of games on offer, as well as high definition graphics, generous pay outs and real-time support.Online casino games have evolved greatly since their legalisation in 1994 when the Free Trade & Processing Act was passed in Antigua and Barbuda which gave permission for companies across the globe to open online casinos.
Slots have come a long way since their inception and its easy to see why they account for approximately 70% of an online casino’s revenue. Who knows what they will look like in 50 years, but one thing is clear: they have stood the test of time and are here to stay.