Slot Machine History – With Steampunk Illustrations

Slots Machine Options

Worldwide, slot machines are one of the most lucrative and accepted form of gaming. In America gamers refer to a slots competition as a “slots machine” while in Canadaplayers often call it “the slots.” British players label the game as a “fruit machine” and in New Zealand and Australia the players describe playing “pokies” or playing pokies on a “poker machine.” Whatever the name, players enjoy the suspense that a good slots game offers. These exciting games offer plenty of additions that heighten the anticipation with extra free spins, scatters, bonuses and multipliers. All of these extras add to the slots game’s suspense as gamers play for real money.

Steampunk Slot Machine
Steampunk Slot Machine – Pokies on Steam Power.

Beginning of Slots

Most people credit Pitt and Sittman as having built the original slots machine in New York in 1891. The machine had five drums which displayed a succession of poker hands but the machine did not include any type of playback mechanism. Venues which placed these early machines in their establishments featured prizes in the form of drinks, cigars or other rewards which the owners could easily provide and which pleased the players.

In 1895 Charles Fey invented the first mechanical slots machine which he called the “Liberty Bell.” Fey was a car mechanic in San Francisco. He wanted to build a machine that would answer the problem of how to create a machine that could make an automatic payout for any possible winning combination. Fey built his Liberty Bell slots machine with three spinning reels and he painted symbols on each reel. The symbols included the diamond, spade and heart symbols along with a picture of the Liberty Bell with its crack showing. Fey envisioned that his machine would solve the question of how to pay automatic payouts.

Fey’s first slot machine was made from over 100 pounds of cast iron. Spins that resulted in the appearance of three Liberty Bells provided the largest payoff. There were no fruit symbols which became common in slot machines later on, but in addition to the card suit symbols and the Liberty Bell the machine displayed stars and horseshoes. The grand payout on that first slots machine was ten nickels — fifty cents, a substantial sum of money in that period.

Fey also invented the trade check separator which he incorporated into the Liberty Bell slots. The trade check separator had a detecting pin which was able to distinguish fake slugs or nickels from real coins, an obvious necessity to allow the machine’s owner to ensure coin verification. Saloons and bars rented the Liberty Bell slots machine from Fey at a 50-50 split of the profits. Most of Fey’s machines were destroyed in the 1905 San Francisco earthquake but today interested individuals can see Fey’s first Liberty Bell slot machine at the Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant in Reno which is presently owned by Fey’s descendents.

The success of the Liberty Bell slots machine gave rise to an increased demand and by the early 20th century, new inventors were examining ways in which they could build on the Liberty Bell’s winning strategy. In 1907 a Chicago manufacturer of arcade machines, Herbert Mills, began to manufacture a facsimile of Fey’s Liberty Bell. He called his machine “Operator Bell” and he incorporated fruit symbols — lemons, cherries and plums — into his paylines. These symbols later became an industry standard. Reels on Mills’ slot machines were spun by side levers which activated the spin when pulled. There were three reels on these early slots machines and when any one symbol lined up on all three reels, the machine dispensed a payoff in coins.

Gaming was considered illegal in most of the United States during those years and gambling laws made it difficult for slot machine owners to operate their machines. A number of slot machine owners circumvented these laws by offering candy and gum as slots prizes.

Slot Machines Become Electro-Mechanical

In 1963 the Bally Manufacturing Corporation developed the first serious slots innovation since Herbert Mills’ Operation Bell slots machine. The Bally electromechanical slot machines had a bottomless hoppers and automatic payouts of up to 500 coins, eliminating the need for a machine attendant and reducing the possibilities of cheating. This machine, named the “Money Honey” quickly gained popularity among both players and gambling venues. From that point on pokies machines with levels became obsolete.

Slots machines were first introduced to Las Vegas in the ’40s at the Flamingo Casino. The continuing expansion of Las Vegas casinos spurred the 1976 development of the first video slot machine which was developed at the Fortune Coin Company of Las Vegas. The new slots machine, called “Big Bertha” was built using a 19-inch Sony Trinitron color receiver and mounted in a full size cabinet. It was powered by a five-horsepower electric motor and had eight reels of 20 symbols each. Gamers deposited dollars and half-dollars when playing Big Bertha pokies. The Nevada State Gaming Commission approved the machine and these video slots were acquired by other downtown Las Vegas casinos where they quickly became a popular attraction for the visiting casino gamers.

Pokies and Microchips

Selfdealing pokie machine
The Self Dealing Steampunk Pokie Machine

In addition to Big Bertha, the seventies saw the increased usage of random number generators and microchips to determine the reels’ spins. Pokies continued to advance with the development of the microchip and by the 80’s all casinos used microchip-powered slots. For both the casinos and the players, the advantages were significant. Casino profits rose because it was much cheaper to manufacture these new slot machines. Computerized slot machines featured more reels and the microchip’s random number generator directed the computer program. Flat top slot machines offered a predetermined payout for various combinations while progressive slots jackpots grew according to the amount of coins played and their value. Other changes included the jackpot which, in progressive slots, could be won by any slot in the group. Progressive slots also featured readouts which showed the player’s current jackpot total.

Land-based casinos today operate machines which players can operate with quarters or dollars although other slots game options exist including deluxe editions that play off $100 dollar bills and simple nickel pokies. Some casino slots machines allow players to play more than one coin at a time and others offer multiple paylines.

Online Slots

The biggest change in pokies play since the 1980s is the development of the online casino with its online slots options. In 1994 Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act which opened the way for licenses to be granted to online operations. Online software providers such as Microgaming and Cryptologic were soon established. ICI Internet Casinos Inc., the first Internet casino, opened in 1995, providing online slots experiences for people who wanted slots entertainment and excitement while gaming from the comfort of their own home.

New online slots options continued to emerge in conjunction with the development of the Internet. Gamers approached online casinos with trepidation at first. They were wary of the casinos’ commitment to fair and secure gaming and were skeptical about the veracity of online banking transactions. Regulatory bodies such as the Kahnawake Commission and eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) were established to ensure that online casinos were supervised by internationally accredited player protection standards organizations. Once players learned that they could rely on these agencies to oversee online casinos, the online casino world began to flourish.

In 1996 Microgaming sold their Internet casinos and started to focus on Internet casino technologies. They began to offer themed pokies which proved to be a big success among online players. The technology of Microgaming’s slots software has continued to develop over the years. Today Microgaming creates online slots in download and Flash (online play) versions.

Online casinos were forced to pull out of the American market after the passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006 (UIGEA) which forbade the transfer of money from American banking institutions to online casinos. However players from other regions including Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand continue to enjoy the competition and excitement of online slots.

Mobile Slots

The newest development for slots players is the introduction of mobile slots. Players with personal handheld mobile devices are no longer tied to their desktop or laptop

portable and mobile steam punk slots game
The Portable Steampunk Slot Machine

computers when they want to play slots. Many online casinos have opened up a mobile casino which allows players to play their favorite slots game any time and in any place that they have an Internet connection. Mobile slots players can play their slots games by downloading the mobile casino or playing directly online. Players have all of the same convenient banking options, casino promotions and casino support for mobile pokies as they have at the online casino but have the added option of playing directly online their personal smartphone or downloading the mobile casino into their WAP mobile phone.

Message on Internet Gambling

The fun of internet gambling continues as more online slots are released by the online casino every week. It is no wonder that online gambling has taken off as the latest slots feature incredible themes and huge jackpots. What people really like is that with the mobile online casino websites, they can play their favorite games from anywhere and they can play at any time. As long as you have an internet connection on your smart phone of mobile, you can play real money games including the latest slots. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, the play is realistic, exciting, and fun. But what people really want is the chance to earn huge money prizes that are available if you get lucky playing one of these games. Any spin can be a big winner with these games.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.