The history of the slot machine

The slot machine is the most popular casino game ever made. Whether land-based or online, there are thousands if not millions to choose from. They have been around since the late 19th century and have become a big part of the gambling industry ever since. 1891 The birth of the slot machine can be traced back to the late 1800s. The first-ever slot machine was produced by the New York-based company, Sittman & Pitt in 1891. The game had 5 drums with a total of 50 playing cards. The machine could be found in many bars and cost a nickel to play. The player would insert their money and pull the lever to play. Payouts were achieved from lining up poker hands on the reels. In order to increase the house edge, 2 cards were removed from the standard 52 card deck, the ten of spades and jack of hearts. This way the odds to get a royal flush was dwindled by half. The machine did not have a direct payout mechanism, so winners got their prizes from the bar. The prizes were usually free drinks and cigars. 1887-1895 Charles Augustus Fey is known as the creator of the first-ever mass-produced slot machine. There is no exact detail regarding the date in which his first machine was made, although it is believed to have happened between the years 1887 and 1895. Fey designed a machine that would allow automatic payouts. In order to do this, he needed to make it simpler to read a win for the machine. This was managed by replacing the current 5 drums with 3 reels. He also replaced the playing card system with a simpler 5 symbol system – hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes and a liberty bell. The biggest payout was awarded for 3 liberty bell symbols, hence, the machine was called the Liberty Bell. The machine built a huge popularity. And considering Fey did not patent his design, it was later copied by countless other slot machine manufacturers. 1902-1908 Slot machines were officially banned by the state in 1902, despite this, the Liberty Bell continued to be manufactured. Considering cash prizes could not be distributed any longer, the era of the fruit machine had been born. These machines used fruit symbols, and prizes were paid out in chewing gum and sweets of the corresponding flavour. In early 1907, Chicago based manufacturer Herbert Mills produced a slot machine named the Operator Bell. One year later, the machines could be found in endless tobacconists, shops, bowling alleys, and salons. The BAR symbol we recognise nowadays was introduced to the slot machine at this time and was based on the Bell-Fruit company logo. 1964 The first fully electromechanical slot machine called Money Honey was released by Bally in late 1964. The reels were operated electrically using a motor, however, the game was still started by pulling the traditional lever. For players at that time, it would have been too unfamiliar to play the game without pulling that lever. This was the first-ever slot machine with a bottomless hopper, which allowed it to give an automatic payout of up to 500 coins. The game was extremely popular and led to the increasing dominance of electronic slots. Soon after, the familiar lever was removed from newer slots. 1976-1978 The first-ever true video slot machine was developed in the year 1976. It was manufactured in Kearny Mesa California by a Las Vegas Based company called Fortune Coin. It used a modified 19 inch Sony TV for the display. The game was first made accessible in the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas. Soon after, it gained its huge popularity in the Las Vegas Strip. 1996 – Present day 1996 was the year in which the Slots industry had reached its next and most recent milestone. The release of Reel ‘Em by WMS Industries. This was the first video slot to be featured on a computer, and the Online Casino was born. One can now enjoy or learn all about slots anywhere they are with just a click of a button or a tap on the phone at websites like and many more.