Over 100 years has passed since the first ever slot machine, the “Liberty Bell” was launched. The biggest developments have occurred between the late 1970’s and today mainly due to the advances we have seen in computer technology.
We are sure to see even bigger and greater changes in the years to come as the game maker push the limits of what’s possible in terms of jackpots, features and game design. One thing is for sure – the age of the video slot is only getting better.
Below you will find a time line of the changes and developments that have occurred in the world of slot machines
1897 : The Invention
Charles August Fey, a car mechanic from San Francisco invents the “Liberty Bell” mechanical slot machine. It had four symbols on the three reels and was somewhat easy to cheat as the handle controlled the reels. For this reason the top jackpot was a rather small fifty cents.
1898 to 1909 : Popularity Grows
While there were no major changes to how slots worked several new companies began making games with specifications the same as the Liberty Bell but with different appearances. It was a fast growing industry as the demand for new games was high.
1909 : Prohibition
The early years of the 1900’s brought a setback to the slot manufacturers. The anti gambling campaigners managed to get the games banned, first in San Francisco, then Nevada and finally the whole of California. Of course as we know now this was just a temporary setback.
1964 : Electro-mechanical Slot Machines
Bally Manufacturing releases “Money Honey” with some major differences between it and it’s predecessors. Firstly the inside working were now electronic parts rather than springs. Secondly they added sounds, lights, the option to bet multiple coins and a hopper for coins.
1975 : First Video Slot Machine Hits Casino Floors
Walt Fraley invents the “Fortune Coin” video screen game. At the time it was not popular as players where skeptical about the technology and did not trust the virtual reels over the wide spread spinning reel slots.
1976 : International Game Technology
Seeing the potential of the video slot and the advantages, IGT purchases the Fortune Coin manufacturer and uses their technology to bring out a host of new games. They grow to be the second largest slot manufacturer and focus on video reel slots.
1979 : Video Poker Becomes Popular
It was the invention of video poker that really caused the video slot popularity to grow. Players quickly took to video poker machines and the manufacturers started to introduce the first wave of video slot machines.
1980 to Today : Innovations, Linked Progressives and Bonus Games
Since the early eight slot machine makers have continually added new and exciting features to video slots. These have included the linking of jackpots in state and country wide progressives and the addition of the bonus game. By linking the jackpots casinos have the ability to have multi-million dollar jackpots that grow fast and hit frequently.
Today you will be hard pressed to find a video slot that does not have some sort of bonus. From free games to pick a box and to game show themes video slots have come a long way compared to Charles Fey’s first invention – the Liberty Bell.
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