How online slots evolved from classic fruit machines to today?

by Dorian Ryland

Online slots have come a long way since their humble beginnings as fruit machines in brick-and-mortar casinos and pubs. While the basic concept of spinning reels to line up matching symbols for a payout remains the same, the technology, variety, and accessibility of slot games today would be unrecognizable to the early slot players.

Slot machines have been around since the late 19th century. The first primitive “slot” was invented in Brooklyn, New York in 1891 by Sittman and Pitt. It had five drums holding up to 50 card faces and was derived from poker. Players would insert a nickel and pull a lever to spin the drums and hope to get a good poker hand. Winnings were paid at the bar instead of directly. Soon after, Charles Fey created the first true slot machine in 1895, called the “Liberty Bell.” It had three reels displaying symbols like horseshoes, hearts, diamonds, and the Liberty Bell which gave the highest payout. Fey’s slot machine had an automatic payout system, making it much more popular. The three-reel format with fruit symbols became a hit, leading to the “fruit machines” that dominated slots for decades.

Up until the 1960s, slot machines were completely mechanical. The advent of electromechanical slots ushered in a new era of slot play. Instead of pulling a lever, players simply pressed a button to activate the reels. It allowed for new features like multiple paylines and bonuses. The mesmerizing spinning reels also became a quintessential part of the casino ambiance. Bally Technologies released the first fully electromechanical slot, Money Honey, in 1963. It was a big hit, offering up to 500 coins without an attendant having to refill. The electronic age of ฝากถอนขั้นต่ํา1บาท slots had begun.

The next evolutionary leap came with video slots. The first video slot, Fortune Coin, was developed by Walt Fraley and released by Fortune Coin Co. in 1976. It used a modified Sony TV monitor to display the game graphics and accepted bills instead of coins. When video slots debuted on the casino floor, they became an instant sensation. The visual graphics, sounds, and bonus features provided an exciting new playing experience that rejuvenated slot floors. IGT acquired Fortune Coin in 1978 and began producing video slots in earnest, releasing Draw Poker in 1979. The video slot era truly took off when Bally launched the landmark Money Honey in 1984. It offered multiple paylines and bonus payouts, paving the way for modern multiline video slots.

The computer revolution reached the slot floor in the 1990s. Computerized slot machines drove a rapid expansion of slot games, with sophisticated graphics, complex bonus rounds, and progressive jackpots. IGT debuted the first themed slot, Wheel of Fortune, in 1996. Its use of an adaptable bonus round with a spinning wheel captivated players. The machine’s tie-in with the popular TV game show also proved the value of branded slots. Instead of mechanical reels, computerized slots could randomly generate virtual stops, allowing for endless possibilities. It paved the way for slots with hundreds of potential winning combinations.

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