Slot machines are frequently the face of the gaming and entertainment provided by casinos, and they allow players the potential to win hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in monetary awards. Slot machines are at the forefront of a multibillion-dollar industry. These machines first gained popularity on the Las Vegas Strip in the late 20th century. After decades of development and improvement, the modern era has given them a platform to be adopted into the digital age as the future of online gaming, which keeps gaining popularity.
Slot machines provide players the possibility to broaden their horizons and live the life they can only imagine. Still, their popularity has not always been firmly rooted in society. Examining slot machines’ development throughout history reveals how they have changed in the twenty-first century.
A vintage slot machine
The invention of the Egyptian engineer Hero of Alexandria, whose development of the first vending machine inspired the slot machine we see in casinos today, can be credited with the development of the modern slot machine, which has ancient roots. Instead of dispensing snacks for the on-the-go, Hero’s vending machine was intended to distribute a controlled amount of holy water from a temple. This deed would serve as the fundamental building block for later vending machines, swiftly followed by slot machines for use in gaming.
Even though modern machines still rely on Hero’s early invention, the lever, they have undergone a tremendous transformation in both capabilities and look from the 19th century to the present. The same lever method as the older vending machines was employed, costing a nickel to play. This time, the lever was built so the player could input their money and pull it to play; dropping the nickel would release the lever.
The early slot machines created by Sittman and Pitt did not have a direct pay-out mechanism like those in use today; as a result, any rewards, including non-monetary ones that would have been offered, were instead paid to the winner at the bar. Based on the game of poker, the Sittman and Pitt machine used fifty card faces that were distributed across five different drums that players would spin to create poker hand combinations, which would determine who won. According to a report from San Francisco News, this limitation regarding an automatic pay-out system was due to the complexity of the different outcomes the machine could generate.
Modern-day Slot Machine Evolution
Despite the development of the Sittman and Pitt machines, Charles Augustus Fey is frequently credited with creating the first slot machine. Between 1887 and 1895, he produced his device with an automatic payment system. Fey was also the first engineer to employ the now-famous five symbols: the Liberty Bell, hearts, spades, horseshoes, and diamonds. This resulted in a significantly less sophisticated machine that could handle an automatic pay-out system and replace the five drums on the current devices with three.
Unfortunately for Fey, even though his new design revolutionized the slot machine industry, he failed to patent it as his own. As a result, other manufacturers using the Sittman and Pitt blueprint at the time switched to the Fey design, and the popularity of these machines skyrocketed.
The introduction of video displays to slot machine screens by the Las Vegas-based Fortune Coin company later in the century, around 1976, was a significant factor in adopting these machines throughout Las Vegas. After the Nevada State Gaming Commission, also known as the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, approved the video slot machines, they quickly gained popularity and spread across the Las Vegas Strip.
Fortune Coin’s status as a casino juggernaut was solidified by IGT’s acquisition of the video slot machine. IGT is one of the world’s top gaming companies. The ‘Bonus Round,’ a second screen that followed the original jackpot and allowed for more prizes to be won, was launched by WMS Industries Inc. in 1996 and quickly became one of the most well-liked innovations to these video machines.
Slot machines in the modern era
Casinos have also changed due to the emergence of online technology and the digital age as they move online. Online casinos used to house a small selection of traditional games like roulette and blackjack, but they now host various gaming alternatives, including slot machines. The digital revolution has given online gamers new opportunities, from the first online jackpot, Cash Splash, presented by Microgaming, to the jaw-dropping banks offered by some online casinos today.
These online casinos, like Jackpot Casino, not only provide players with the possibility to win significant, but also extras like deposit bonuses, free spins, and daily cashback—benefits that generally are not available to users of traditional slot machines. Online casinos like Jackpot Casino set the standard for slot machine games in the online gaming industry with their VIP loyalty features. Travel and tourism are still significantly influenced by traditional, physical machines, particularly in locations like Vegas, where the environment’s thrill is just as alluring as the jackpots themselves.
It is simple to understand how the development of slot machines has led to new technologies in the internet gaming industry that provide games that don’t require a player to spend time or money traveling to casinos and instead allow them to play from anywhere, at any time. However, it raises the question of whether society will witness the Las Vegas Strip ceding control to internet casinos with their simple-to-play and reachable slot machines in the future. Will mobile devices ever wholly replace lever-activated machines? Regardless of the response, one thing is sure: slot machines, in whatever form they may take, are not going anywhere. While players can continue to win sums that can change their lives, and online casinos can provide these players with ever-expanding privileges and bonuses, slot machines will always exist alongside more traditional casino games.