Evolution of Slot Machines

Slot machines, also known as fruit machines, poker machines, or one-armed bandits are a staple of casinos around the world. They are considered the first stop many visitors of such establishments take to get in the gambling mood. Yet for the real fans, the enjoyment lies somewhere else: in wandering through the halls of the slot trying as many machines as possible to find the one with the best prizes. Whatever the case is, it is almost impossible for casino goers to not take at least one spin.

That is probably why most online casinos like Bet365 Casino Bonus also include these wonders in their catalog. However, there are certainly huge differences between the machines that first came to light back in the 19th century and the ones we have today. Therefore, we figured it is time for us to take a quick look at the history of these popular gambling devices.

First steps

The first ancestor of the slot machine was invented in 1891 by a Brooklyn-based company called Sittman and Pitt. Back then it was called a gambling machine and its characteristics, though a novelty for the time, were rather simple and did not give prizes automatically. As it was based on poker, each of its 5 drums contained 10 playing cards and it required a coin for the activation. It quickly became extremely popular in bars and taverns even though they usually did not give cash prizes because gambling was illegal in most States of the US. Instead, owners used to offer cigars, free drinks, and other types of merchandise according to the type of hand punters managed to form.

Slot machinesThe next step was the Liberty Bell, patented in 1898 by Charles fey in San Francisco, California. Considered the real precursor of slot machines, this invention, though it kept the lateral lever, did not use a deck of cards like the previous ones but symbols like hearts, diamonds, and horseshoes, as well as the Liberty Bell that gave it the name, which also served as the highest paying symbol. Yet the changes did not stop there. The number of symbols was reduced to five, and the drums were changed by reels, reducing their numbers to three. Those changes decreased the number of combinations and make it possible for the machine to have the truly revolutionary feature: its automatic payout mechanism.

After that, the designs changed according to the manufacturers. Icons like fruits and other symbols that are now classics were introduced little by little, yet the basic mechanism like the lever that gave it the name of one-armed bandit stayed in most of the cases.


As we mentioned before, the relationship between slot machines and poker is as tight as it gets from the very beginning. Therefore, it is no surprise at all that almost a century after the invention of the one-armed bandit the next step was precisely a poker-based game with similar characteristics but using electronics instead of mechanical components. We are talking about video poker. The machine came to life in the mid-1970 and rapidly made its presence known throughout casinos in Las Vegas and other parts of the world. It solved the main limitation that the gambling machine had: the inability to automatically pay the rewards by leaving calculations necessary to determine the value of a hand to the basic computer system that the machine incorporated.

Though at first, the video poker machine was not as popular as initially expected, it did not take long for manufacturers to realize that the electronic components could be used to create a new type of slots, one that would have more diverse designs and new and exciting features. That possibility opened the door to multiple developments not only for slot machines but for the casino industry in general. For example, those were the very first basics for what would become electronic games and ultimately gave birth to online casinos several decades later.

Today, video poker online continues to have a strong fan base, especially because it can be played on different devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. However, online slots have certainly taken the crown as the most played casino game. There is a true myriad of options, so much that a bettor would not be able to play all of them during their lifetime. Among the reasons for its popularity, besides the variety, we can count the great range of betting limits that go literally from 1 cent to hundreds or even thousands of dollars for each spin.

Providers are also constantly developing and implementing new features and game-play elements to differentiate their products from the rest and offering demo versions where you can try the one video slot for free before deciding whether to use it or not. As a consequence, you can trust that regardless of your preferences, the chances of getting an online video slot that suits your taste are extremely high.

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