It has been over 115 years since gambling machines have been invented. Their popularity has been high from that time and it keeps on growing to this day. The first gambling machine has been invented in 1891 in Brooklyn by Sittman and Pit. The machine used 50 symbols painted on 5 drums. The symbols were the same as the ones found on playing cards. In order to play all you had to do was to insert a nickel and pull the handle. This made the drums turn and the symbols to turn.
Payouts depended on the symbols you would get, and since the symbols were the same found on cards, winning payouts were based on poker hands. If you got a winning combination you did not get a cash payout. Depending on your combination you would get different goods from the bar. Because of the symbols the machine used and the large variety of poker hands a player could get, automatic cash payouts were just not possible.
Two cards that you would never find on these machines were the 10 of Spades and the Jack of hearts. A large variety of winning hands use these cards and they were removed on purpose in order to lower the player's odds.
In 1899 in San Francisco Charles Frey developed a slot machine known as "Liberty Bell". The design of this machine has been the predecessor to all modern slot machines. Frey's machine had 3 spinning reels and on these reels 5 symbols were painted.
The symbols were the same as the symbols found in a deck of cards plus horseshoes and Liberty Bells. Automatic cash payouts were now possible because of the machine's simple design. The best combination was 3 Liberty Bells. This was the jackpot and it consisted of 10 nickels. A "Jack" meant that you did not get a winning combination.
Later on other symbols were introduced. Symbols like cherry or melon are now traditional. They were initially used on slot machines that gave payouts in the form of chewing gum. The symbol indicated what flavor gum you would get. The BAR symbol which is now also a classic was initially the logo of the Bell Fruit Gum company.
1964 is the year when Bally Manufacturing starting from Frey's initial design came up with the first electro-mechanical slot machine. They were the first in over 50 years to make a significant change to Frey's design and improve the slot machines. This machine used electrical components instead of springs and levers. It had flashing lights and interesting sounds. Also it offered the possibility to place multiple coin bets and gave better jackpot payouts. The machine quickly caught on and enjoyed massive popularity. Its development brought a whole new appeal to the game.
In the mid 1970 Bally Manufacturing developed the "Dollar Slot Machine". The casinos really liked this machine and placed them on the casino floor in carousels. They also increased the jackpot. This is the time when slot machines turned from secondary gambling games to primary profit games. More and more people enjoyed playing slots and the machine became one of the main profit sources for the casinos.
1980 brought the development of the first video poker slot machine. Created by the Sircoma Company, this particular type of machine was at first looked upon untrustingly by the players. But its popularity quickly sore and it is still popular today. Lots of online or land based casinos still offer this game.
The mid 1990's brought another significant change to the way we play slot machines. Now you could place bets by using bills, not coins. This meant that you could play a lot easier and spend more time at the slots machine.
In 1992 a machine that offered multiple games was created by Bally Gaming. Now you could play at such machines where you got to choose what type of game you wanted to play.
In the late 1990's the first machines that offered bonus rounds were introduced. This meant more chances for the player to get a payout. There was also a bonus jackpot that you could get while playing a bonus round. And many players really wanted to win that jackpot.
Nowadays you do not even need cash to play slot machines. Slot machines now accept tickets or even cards, so coins or bills are not necessary. Most machines have user friendly software that you can operate very easily. Buttons and handles are also unnecessary since the introduction of touch screen technology.
Online slots are now more popular than ever. There are new variations coming out every week, so the offer of online slots games is very large. Playing online offers other advantages, such as the great sign-up offers you get from online casinos. Most of the online slots games do not depend on skill. Except for a few bonus games, luck plays the most important part in slots.
The internet is now a common thing. Most people have an internet connection nowadays, and many of them have a high speed connection. That is why online casinos have so many visitors. You may have never even seen a land based casino or even gambled in one. But online casinos are always available from wherever you are and have a great offer of slots games. More people can now enjoy the excitement of playing slot machines, and they do not even have to leave their home.
We are waiting to see what the future will bring to slot machines in both land based and online casinos.