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Slots History

The first design of slot machines probably came out in 1891 in New York. It can be attributed to Pitt and Sittman, and the machine looked like a set of five drums put together that displays different symbols or poker hands. This first machine was very basic and rudimentary. A payback mechanism was not yet invented. Instead, winners were awarded with non-monetary prizes like free drinks. It will be many years later when a slot machine with payback mechanism will be manufactured. Such a machine is capable of feeding out cash prize to winners. It will be for another century still when the internet technology will pave the way for online slots to come out.

After Pitt and Sittman came Charles Fey. He created the Liberty Bell slots right at his basement. The Liberty Bell did not really get the attention of many casino players at first. It was a flop on its first release. It only got the attention it deserves when it was placed in the Flamingo Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas Strips. After so many years, the Liberty Bell was noticed.

This creation of Fey was unlike any other slot machine known today. To begin with, it was very heavy at 100 pounds. The material used was cast iron so that explains the weight. It also did away with fruit symbols that are like a trademark to slots. Instead of fruits, Fey made use of other images like stars, horseshoes, and suits from cards (diamonds, spades, clubs and hearts). It gave a payout of fifty cent. In those days, fifty cent was a substantial amount.

Although the Liberty Bell is now replaced with more technologically advanced slots, it still has a very big place in the history of slots. The original Liberty Bell that Fey did at his basement is now displayed at the Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant in Reno. This restaurant is actually owned by the grandchildren of Fey. They are preserving their grandfather’s legacy by keeping this antique machine.

Charles Fey also created another slot machine which he named Operator Bell. This time, he chose to put fruit designs like cherries and apples. Little did he know that his fruit designs will become classic to slot machines for many centuries to come. Fey reinvented the look of Operator Bell to make it look like just a vending machine. At this time, many groups and sectors began to raise their concerns about gambling and slots. If it looked like a vending machine, it will not be hot on the eyes of anti-slots groups.

Making the slots look like a vending machine was not a very good idea after all because the public could hardly distinguish between the two. The Bell-Fruit Gum Company allegedly stole a slot machine from Fey. The company copied the idea of a slot machine and produced a similar machine that dispensed gum when a lever is pulled. This way, it did not look like people were gambling. It also became a brilliant way to market their gum products.

Anti-gambling groups soon grew and it proved to be a big hindrance to Fey’s slot machines. In 1909, gambling was made illegal in San Francisco. The following year, gambling was also made illegal in Nevada. By 1911, California followed the footsteps of San Francisco and Nevada. Many years still passed. By the 1930s, the popular view was already anti-gambling. More specifically, the majority was anti-slot machines. The local government had to do its part to prevent an uprising from these social groups. It was common to see in the news spreads pictures of self-serving politicians who posed behind a big volume of confiscated slot machines. Some of these machines were even only vending machines. They were confiscated even at the slightest doubt. Thus, the slot machines took its blackest days in history.

Another important person in the history of slots is Bugsy Siegel. At his prime, he was a notorious figure in organized crime. He became prominent in the history of slots because of the Flamingo Hilton which he built and owned in the Las Vegas Strip. His casino house immediately attracted many players because he filled it with a great number of slot machines. Thus, there was big room for his clients’ wives and girlfriends to play and be occupied.

In the early 1960s, a man named Bally made significant progress by creating electronic slot machines. It will later on gradually replace and make obsolete the mechanical slots. His creation of the very first electronic slots might be crude and imperfect but it made it harder for players to cheat. Bally’s electric slots gradually became fixtures in the big casinos of Las Vegas. Soon after, many other casinos put these in their venues too. Bally’s invention offered big room for improvement and became the new norm in slots.

By the 1970s, slots continued to evolve along with the introduction of newer technologies. Slot machines with microchips were released. A program called random number generator was also introduced. This program is very useful to slots in making sure that the spins of the reels are randomized. Thus, it became more difficult for players to cheat. Back when slots were still mechanical, it was easy to manipulate the levers and reels, and thus control the output. Computerized machines with microchips eliminated the need of lever bars. By the 1980s, almost all casinos were already using computer slots. Lever arms were replaced with buttons and touch screens. More players got hooked in this casino game.

As if it could not get any better anymore, online slot games later on became popular in the 21th century. Along with the surge of the internet, more and more people turned to the internet to do the things they need to do without leaving their homes. They did their research, paid their insurances, and shopped online. Soon, they learned that they can also play casino online.

The popularity of slot machines could not be undermined. It accounts for at least 70% of the profits of a casino. It has come a long way and is now greatly varied. But the premise of the game stays the same. In order to win, a player must come up with a winning combination after the reels have stopped spinning.

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