Slot machines date as far back as the 1800s. During that period, gambling was a popular and common form of entertainment and slot machines existed in practically every saloon in town.
A 29-year old mechanic, Charles Fey, began manufacturing slot machines during the latter part of the 1800s. Charles was the inventor of the “Liberty Bell”, the original ancestor of the slot machine. Today, some parts of the original design are still used in modern slot machines.
In 1910, another producer of slot machines, the Mills Novelty Company, came out with an updated design to the Liberty Bell known as the “Operator Bell”. It featured the classic fruit symbols, which are used in today’s slot machines. In 1915, Mills introduced a less expensive type of slot machine to replace the original cast iron machines. These new slots were made of less expensive wood cabinets.
In the 1930s, slot machine fever spread like wild-fire. The Mills company, determined to stay on top of its game, revamped the slot machines even more. They constructed them with a silent bell to replace the noisy ringing sounds the older model machines made when someone hit a jackpot. These quieter machines also featured a double jackpot, which allowed players the chance to win twice in a row.
Notorious mafia man, Bugsy Seigel, understood just how profitable slot machines could be. He bought several of them for his Flamingo Hilton casino in Las Vegas in the late 1930s. Winners were given cash prizes as well as concessions of candy and gum. Slots continued to play an important role in the gambling industry. They were mostly enjoyed by women to provide entertainment when their highroller husbands were at the Blackjack or Poker tables. By the 1980s Slots revolutionized the gambling industry when they surpassed most table games in popularity. This development hit home in the 1990s when casinos began reporting that revenues generated from Slots alone were two-thirds of that of the entire casino.
Today, slot machines are governed by an RNG (Random Number Generator), which is used to predict the symbols that will appear when the reels are spun. Most slot machines are programmed to payout between 80 and 99 percent of coins played which includes jackpot payoffs. Jackpots have also increased from a mere couple of dollars to huge progressive jackpots.
When playing Slots, the #1 Rule to remember is….have fun. Slots machines are more for entertainment than profit, because they are pre-programed to pay out at a certain period. This means that, at some point in time, the winning symbols will all line up and payout and, whoever is playing on the machine at that time, will be the beneficiary of the payout.
Part of the appeal of Slots is that they do not require any skill to play the game; just press a button or click to spin (in the case of online Slots) and await the results. Video slots are the newest slot machine craze. They are very interactive and entertaining and sometimes go up to as many as 25 lines, which give the appeal of more chances to win. This makes them even more enticing than classic slots. Slot machines have undergone tremendous changes over the past century, but, no matter how much or how many times they have been transformed, slot machines will continue to be a cornerstone of the gaming industry.