When were slot games invented?

Wherever you are in the world, you are probably familiar with slot machines.

You may call them by different names, but the concept is the same.

‘Slot machine’ is the US terminology; in the United Kingdom these games are known as ‘fruit machines’, in Australia they are known as ‘pokies’; and in Scotland they are often referred to as ‘puggy’.

All them are machines that enable the player to randomly spin a series of wheels – if the results present matching icons or symbols then the player wins.

Slot machines are one of the most popular games in casinos around the world, and can deliver up to seventy percent of a casino’s income.

In this article we take a look at the history of the slot machine games.

The emergence of the first slot machines in the United States

The first examples of slot machines were developed in the 1800s. The game was a derivation of the card game poker – using card faces as the symbols that had to be matched.

This was a games machine designed to be used in the bars of New York City – there was no direct pay-out mechanism, if a player scored a winning hand then they would win whatever prizes were on offer in the bar in which they were playing, such as a free drink, or a cigar.

Over time, a simplified version of the game was developed – replacing the card faces with symbols such as diamonds, spades, hearts, and horseshoes. The simplified version of the game enabled a pay-out mechanism to be built into the machines. The games became increasingly popular across the United States.

One of the key features of slot machines was the lever used to manually spin the wheels on which the winning symbols are displayed.

Electronic slot machines

Electronic versions of the slot games began to be developed in the 1960s. Since then, slot machines have become increasingly sophisticated – incorporating the use of video and a huge range of enhancements to make the player experience as enticing and exciting as possible.

Much of the development of electronic slot machines was driven by markets such as Australia where the slot machines that they refer to as ‘pokies’ (short for poker machines) has been a hugely popular form of gambling for many years.

From a player experience perspective, one of the biggest changes brought about by the development of electronic slot machines was the removal of the manual lever as this became a redundant part of the machine’s mechanism.

The move into online gaming

The natural extension of the development of electronic slot machines was the introduction of online slot machine games through online casinos.

There are a huge range of available to players – taking the best of the user features that have been developed as part of the development of electronic slot machines but also making the games a lot more interactive within an online environment.

Slot machines are fun to play, the games are quick and easy to understand, and regular pay-outs keep players coming back for more.


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