Slots machines over the years

We’ve heard it in films, on TV, adverts, and the sounds are simply unmistakable. The famous 3 dings as the reels slow to a stop and then hopefully, a rapid beeping and flashing signal the desired outcome of a big win! It's slots, and they have been around for a while. Slot machines have quite the interesting history behind them that explain a number of modern slot features and stereotypes that we take for granted today!

So where did it all start - which was the very first slot machine?

Well that’s actually not very clear, and here’s why…

The man that is most typically associated with the invention of the slot machine with an automatic pay-out was a gentleman named Charles Augustus Fey. Mr Fey is attributed to inventing the Liberty Bell slot machine sometime between 1887 and 1895. The problem is that Mr Fey did not patent the design for his machine, and so it was copied by a multitude of manufacturers very soon. The Liberty bell slot machine is the reason that the bell symbol joined the slot reels and still features today.

The only machine that can compete for the title of world’s first slot machine is one that was produced in 1891 by the Sittman and Pitt company in New York. This was the first poker gambling machine, it featured 50 playing cards and players had to line up the cards like poker hands! It was noted that very often, the establishment would remove 2 cards from the reels to increase the house edge. These machines did not yet have automatic pay-outs.

Then in 1902, the hammer fell, and it fell hard as slot machines paying out cash were officially banned in the US! Despite this though, the machines continued to be produced. This was permitted because the symbols were switched from the common card suit symbols to fruit symbols and adding the bar symbol. Aside from this, since pay-outs couldn't be cash, players could most commonly win chewing gum or flavoured sweets that corresponded to the fruit symbol on the reels!

Fast forward to 1963 and we get to see the first ever Electronic slot machine. This was a big deal as it meant that slot machines no longer had the lever arm to start it. To the general layman, this little step forward in technology is hardly noteworthy, but to gamblers it was a game changer. Mechanical machines were notoriously possible to rig by the casinos to increase the house edge. In fact, one common sign amongst those in the know back then was that a machine was, or could have been rigged, if it featured lemon symbols. This is suspected to be where the term “lemon” as slang, came to mean as something that was defective, useless or rigged. Nowadays, things have changed.

You can find our awesome slots in our Casino section and to spice things up, we’re giving away 20 free spins to the first player that goes to our Facebook page and leaves a comment on the post for this article with the name of Mr Fey’s slot machine!

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