The history of slot machines begins somewhere around 1887 (although some sources indicate until 1899), when an American of German descent, Charles Fay (Charles Fey) created and demonstrated a mechanical automaton named “Liberty Bell” (a symbol of independence USA). This machine had three drums, each of which had 10 characters from the set: peaks, tambourines, worms, horseshoes and the actual bell of freedom. The principle of payment and the game was also quite modern – the player inserted a coin of 5 cents and pulled the lever, the drums spun, stopped, and the player received a win. The maximum payout was 10 coins, the payout percentage was 75%.
Initially, Fei himself collected slot machines and rented them to bars and saloons for 50% of the profits. At that time, serious restrictions on gambling were already in effect in the United States, so sometimes winnings were quoted in beer mugs, not coins, and because of this Faye could not patent his device. Nevertheless, his business grew to a factory and flourished, machine guns were very popular. And Faye himself and his imitators created new machines, with a lot of combinations, big winnings, etc.
In those states where gambling was completely banned, the slot machine was combined with a vending machine for selling candy or chewing gum. Even the actual name “slot machine” (slot machine from the English slot – a slot, in the sense where money was thrown) for a long time meant both a gaming and a vending machine. “Win” in such machines produced fruit candy, which differed in taste, hence the fruit theme in vending machines – lemons, oranges, cherries, etc.. In Britain, and until now, slot machines are called “fruit machines”. Another popular symbol “bar” also refers to these machines – it is the logo of the company Bell-Fruit Gum, the manufacturer of chewing gum.
It is clear that the machines were constantly and gradually improved – first they reduced the sound from the rotation of the drums, then they added different “bells” signaling about the win, reduced the weight of the automatic machines, improved the design and user-friendliness of the controls, switched from coin receivers to bill acceptors, and then to cards, E. etc. In addition, there was a constant struggle between producers and players who tried to deceive the machine. Coin acceptors were improved, access to drums was blocked, interlocks against mechanical influences were put, etc. On old machine guns, players tried to stop the drums in the right places or tilt / hit the machine, shifting the stopped drums. The British even made such “features” as holding and pushing on their machines.
Until the mid-thirties of the 20th century, slot machines were gradually taking over America’s drinking establishments. At the end of the forties they appeared in the lobby of the casino. Initially, it was planned that they would play wives and girlfriends of serious players, while waiting for time. Slots are really and still popular among women, but interest in automatic machines is not limited to “half” of male players. Already by the year 80, up to half of all casino revenues began to be given to slot machines, and now they account for up to 2/3 of revenue.
In 1964, Bally Manufacturing (until now one of the leaders in the production of slot machines) created the Money Honey slot – it was the first electromechanical slot. Unlike the first slots, where everything was kept mechanically, electric motors appeared there, as well as the possibility to add a light design. The same company in the mid-seventies began to combine the same slot machines in the network, which allowed to offer large dzhekoty.
In 1975, Walt Fraley created the game Fortune Coin, it was actually the first video slot. The rights to the game was acquired from him by the Australian company International Game Technology (IGT), which next year introduced several similar slot machines. True, it can not be said that the company was immediately waiting for success – the players at first did not trust automatic machines with television screens. They did not see the usual drums and were afraid that a new type of machine would deceive them. The situation changed only in the early 80’s, in 1979 the first games appeared in video poker and it was their popularity that helped also the video slots.
Since then, games have continued to evolve – graphics are improving, the number of lines is increasing, there are “scattered” symbols, free spins and a variety of bonus games. Jackpots have grown significantly, they can now be accumulated by slot machines from around the world. Undoubtedly, we will see new novelties in the future, we just have to wait a bit, history is being done now