History of Slot

The first gambling machine, which can be approximately called the forefather of today’s slot machine was developed, by two gentleman— Sittman and Pitt— from the town of Brooklyn in New York, U.S.A.The operation of the first gambling machine was based on the game of poker and it was designed to consist of five drums and a fifty card faces. These machines almost immediately turned out to be popular and shortly at least one poker slot machine was installed at each of the bars and pubs in the city. It operated in a very interesting way. Players would look forward to a good poker hand and pop in a nickel. Then they would give a pull at the lever, that set the drums as well as the cards held in a spinning motion. After a few moments it would come to an abrupt stop and the payline would decide the combination for winning or losing, as the case might have been. However, no mechanism was available for a direct payout. Under such circumstances, a free bear might be on offer for a combination of a couple of kings, or cigars or drinks might be paid out for by a combination of royal flush. Prizes were completely settled on whatever was available at local joint. Certain manipulations were made, so that the odds were in most cases in the favor of the house: for instance, the card number ten from the stack of spades and the jack from the stack of hearts were characteristically removed from the deck, in order that the chance of winning a royal flash was reduced by half. In order that the player’s chances of winning are further reduced, the drums were also sometimes re-arranged.

Charles Fey, who hailed from San Francisco, California, U.S.A., had invented the first one-arm bandit. Its formulation was based on a very simple automatic mechanism. So far, players and operators of slot machine had faced a serious practical problem in making automatic payouts. This was because there were innumerable winning combinations possible in the original game based on poker cards, and the machine could not be made to decode each of these separately and fish out the coins accordingly. In order to make things simple, Fey developed a machine popularly known as the Liberty Bell. The machine derived its name from one of the five symbols on the three spinning wheels. These symbols were horseshoes, spades diamonds, Liberty Bell and hearts. Thus ten cards were now substituted by five symbols: the five drums were replaced by three reels. So the intricacies involved in the slot machine were now significantly done away with. This simplicity of the machine helped Fey in formulating an efficient payout mechanism which was completely automatic. Ten nickels, which was the largest amount of payoff, could be achieved by hitting three bells within a row. The Liberty Bell became hugely popular in next to no time and generated a sizeable industry of mechanical gaming that flourished and spread widely. After a few years the usage of these gambling machines was prohibited in his home state, California. But Fey was still struggling to sustain with the requirement for the game in other places.

There was another earlier edition of slot machine. It offered flavored with fruit chewing-gums as a form of payout for the winnings which were achieved by hitting the photos of the flavors that appeared as symbols on reels. This is the kind of machine which is responsible for giving us our famous melon and cherry symbol of today. We have another common symbol in modern day slot machines— it is the symbol of BAR: this owes its origin to an early emblem of the Gum Company named Bell-Fruit.

It was only in 1964 that the first slot machine operated electromechanically made its appearance. It was an innovation by Bally and was popularly known as Money Honey. It was the first of its kind to have a hopper without a bottom, and a completely automatic payout system that could support up to 500 coins without any help from the attendant.

Reel 'Em In, which was developed by WMS Industries Inc. in 1996, was the first video slot machine that offered a second-screen bonus round.