What Has Been the Evolution of Slot Machines Over the Years?

Sam Watson
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What Has Been the Evolution of Slot Machines Over the Years? 

What is the first thing that strikes your eye when you go into a casino? Many people throughout the world immediately think of slot machines when they hear the word “gambling,” because they have come to represent the whole gambling industry and are the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word. You could imagine that bonuses and jackpots available to players have always been a part of the game, but the reality is quite different. 

Slot machines, like any other sort of technology, have evolved with time, and the initial slot machines were built in quite different ways than the ones used today. However, one thing stays constant: slot machines are available to draw crowds and persuade you to have a shot at earning large sums of money. This is the only constant thing. But what were the original slot machines like, and how did these iconic fixtures of the casino world evolve? 

Early examples of slot machines 

The first slot machine was invented in 1894 by Charles August Fey, an American inventor. As a result of his efforts, slot machines are now available to us. The following year, he displayed one of his machines in a local tavern, where it was an instant hit. After seeing how successful his first slot machines were, Fey quit his job as a mechanic to open a factory that would produce more slot machines similar to the ones he had designed.

By 1989, he was the proud owner of a thriving business known as “Card Bell.” “Card Bell” was the first company to produce three-reel slot machines with an automatic payout system for jackpot winners. The slot machines we are familiar with now are nothing like the devices he created. The players would pull a lever, causing the machine’s five drums to revolve and display a fully random poker hand. Horseshoes, bells, and sets of playing cards were among the first symbols to debut on slot machines. According to reports, only four of the original slot machines are still in use today.

The great majority of previous slot machines were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco. By 1910, there were over 3000 slot machines in San Francisco alone, but their popularity grew over the next several years across the rest of the United States as well. By 1950, however, almost all of these activities were illegal. Even though the majority of them were managed by organized crime groups, nothing could stop the progress of these devices, which led to the development of slot machines similar to those found in casinos today. 

The slot machine electromechanical 

The visual progression of slot machine design was also affected by technological progress. The debut of the electromechanical slot machine, which offered players an altogether new type of gambling experience, is often recognized as a watershed moment in slot machine history. Customers could choose from a variety of new incentive options, such as three-coin multipliers. These slot machines were also significantly simpler than those seen in casinos today, and aside from multipliers, they had no other true features to speak of. Because they were mechanical, they were required to be started by pulling a handle. This was done entirely by hand. The first electromechanical slot machine offered a maximum payout of 500 coins, which was unprecedented at the time. 

Video slot machines were popular in the 1980s

When satellite and cable television first entered the market in the 1980s, the gambling industry around the world began to experiment with new slot machine techniques. This was the point at which people began to enter the digital world without even realizing it (the beginnings of this phenomenon occurred in the late 1970s). This marked the start of the information era. During this time, the first progressive jackpots became widely available in Las Vegas and other major cities across the United States. Video slots began their slow march to dominance in the early 1980s and finally took over totally. This is why there are so many different high jackpots now, yet winning millions of dollars at a slot machine was practically impossible back then. Today, though, there are so many different enormous jackpots to choose from that it’s difficult not to win. However, in the second decade of the twentieth century, gambling laws in the United States and around the world were substantially more lax, resulting in the potential of slot machines rapidly spreading over the world. 

The development of the online slot machine 

When the internet finally took off, most likely in the early 2000s, it provided an excellent platform for the development of online slot machines. As more gamblers relocated their activities online, casinos began to offer a wider range of online slot games. Even though Bill Gates was not the primary developer of online slot machines, he was an essential figure because he was the one who made computers and the internet available to the general public. During this time, major corporations such as Microgaming and Playtech began operations. Online slot machines have evolved at a dizzying pace as compared to their forefathers. The availability of these jackpot pools increased the popularity of online slot machines, which were already popular due to the presence of big reward pools. 

Prepare for virtual reality slots, which will be the slot machines of the future

However, times are always changing, and all of us here are excited to see what the future holds for us. When we evaluate how slot machines have evolved in the last 100 years, it is hard to anticipate how they will evolve in the future. Virtual reality development will almost probably be one of the next steps in this evolution. The topic of whether virtual reality will play a large part in the future world is still being debated; nonetheless, the first virtual reality slots are now accessible and are gaining popularity. Websites like Slots Million are still in their infancy, but it is expected that they will become rather popular in the not-too-distant future. 

Last but not least 

There is no way to predict what the future holds for slot machines, nor can we guess how slot machines or online casinos will evolve in the next years. Many individuals believe that virtual reality will play an important role in the future. However, if we can learn anything from the last century, we may expect enormous developments.

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