July 25, 2021

History and Evolution of Slot Machines

Emily Thompson
Written byEmily ThompsonWriter
Researched byPriya PatelResearcher
Localised byEthan LimLocaliser

If you’re serious about playing online slots or slot machines, for that matter, understanding these machines is important. Throughout the years, the popularity of slots has shot over the roof. The entertaining game you’re playing today traces its origin back to 1887 with a simple 3-reeler. Then, technology took over with more interesting themes and mammoth payouts. Keep reading!

History and Evolution of Slot Machines

Slot History

Charles Fey is considered the father of slot machines after inventing the Liberty Bell in 1887. Fey created an automatic payout machine by making it easier for the device to read a win. To do this, the Bavarian-born inventor replaced the existing five drums with three reels.

Also, he introduced symbols in place of playing cards. The symbols he introduced include the liberty bell, horseshoes, spades, diamonds, and hearts. As such, this machine was called the Liberty Bell.

But it was until 1976 to 1978 that the first actual slot machine was developed. A Las Vegas-based company called Fortune Coin invented a device using a 14-inch TV panel for display. Shortly after, the Nevada State Gaming Commission approved the machine after it passed all the necessary tests. IGT later acquired the company in 1978.

Another milestone was in 1996 when WMS Industries Inc. introduced Reel Em. This machine is considered the first one to have a double-screen bonus round. In other words, a different screen was displayed after triggering the bonus round. As expected, an additional payout could be won.

The Rise of Online Slots

With the sudden rise of the internet, slot machines expanded to join the fast-expanding online world. Remember, the mid-’90s was when online casinos started sprouting up like mushrooms everywhere. But back then, only classics like blackjack and roulette could get a sniff inside any online casino.

Even with that, land-based casinos remained trendy joints among video slot fans. Up to today, the first thing you’ll see in any online casino in Macau, Las Vegas, and Monaco is a slot machine.

Meanwhile, the first online slots were very similar to brick-and-mortar slots in terms of design. These games retained identical symbols and the number of reels. But nowadays, online slots boast attractive layouts and structures, thanks to advanced computer programming.

How Slot Machines Work

If you’re a seasoned casino player, then you must have doubted that slot machine at some point. So, are online slots rigged? Typically, modern video slots use a computer program called Random Number Generator (RNG) to select spin outcomes randomly. This machine generates billions of results per second, whether the device is functioning or not. So, online slot machines are safe and fair.

And how much can a player win from modern slot machines? Video slots come with something called RTP (Return to Player). This is a percentage that regulated online casinos use to determine how much a player gets over time. For example, if a game comes with 96% RTP, it means the player will get $96 for every $100 wagered if they win. In return, the casino’s cut is $4.

Jackpot Slots

You’ll likely see a jackpot or two when playing on reliable casinos like ScratchMania. That said, Microgaming released Cash Splash, which is the first online video slot jackpot. While the payout wasn’t so high, this was an industry-changing innovation.

Soon after, the company came up with Mega Moolah, which holds a record-shuttering €17.9 million payout.

Another worthy mention is Mega Fortune by NetEnt, which has also paid out more than €17 million. With game developers increasing by the day, a new wave of jaw-dropping jackpot games is about to hit the market.

About the author
Priya Patel
Priya Patel

Hailing from New Zealand's picturesque landscapes, Priya Patel is the research dynamo behind OnlineCasinoRank's in-depth insights. Her meticulous approach to data and trends has revolutionized how gamers perceive and navigate the online casino landscape.

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