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History of Slots

Posted on June 4, 2015 | Comments Off on History of Slots

The best online slots are some of the best, most enjoyable casino games around, with amazing graphics, 3D action, movie-like plots and, on some progressive slots, jackpots that reach EIGHT figure sums. But where did it all begin? Here we take a brief look at the history of slots to answer that very question.

Slots started in the USA, with the earliest slots being invented at the end of the 19th century. The east coast pips the west coast when it comes to slots, with Sittman and Pitt – of Brooklyn – developing a poker-based game in 1891 that can make a genuine claim to be the world’s first ever slot. Within a few years a San Francisco company owned by Charles Fey developed a slightly simpler, yet paradoxically more advanced, slot featuring the very same Liberty Bells and fruit symbols that are still prevalent on many slots today.

These early slots bore only limited resemblance to the very best online slots of the modern world, with Sittman and Pitt’s machine featuring five drums and playing cards that could be used to create any winning hand at poker. Prizes ranged from a cigarette to a beer or whisky and all were manually paid, primarily because the huge range of winning combinations made automated payment too complex.

Fey’s machine featured just three reels and only five symbols and with fewer winning “hands”, automatic payment was possible. Slots evolved very gradually from those early Liberty Bell machines until the 1960s, when Bally created the first electromechanical slot, thus removing the need for the side lever that manually spun the reels.

These machines facilitated automatic payouts that were much larger than what had come before and dominated the slots industry until the early video slots of the 1970s. These were little more than a monitor attached to a box but as computing technology advanced split-screen slots developed, with the same screen able to feature the reels and then also further bonus rounds, introductions and features.

In the 1990s the internet came along and since the early days of online slots and online casinos the rate of change and development has increased markedly. Now, as mentioned, the best online slots are hugely intricate, with involving graphics and sound, whilst mobile slots, jackpots in the millions of dollars and ever more immersive games are increasingly the shape of things to come.

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