The Evolution of Slot Machines


Slot machines tend to hold a specific place in the hearts and minds of gamblers. The simple and straightforward game has brought in several elements that have changed the face of gambling. As a result, people are drawn to this particular game, and the list of admirers consist of beginners. But if one has to rewind and look into how the slot machine has changed over the years, how far behind would we have to go? By doing so, will we be able to decode the evolution of slot machines? Well, there’s only one way to find out, and that is to rewind to the good old days.


Debates about who created the first slot machine is still under progress without reaching a proper conclusion. But historians believe it to be Charles August Fey, who invested the first automatic payout device. Around the same time, a company based out in New York, known as Sittman and Pitt created a game that Fey may or may not have inspired Fey. However, Sittman and Pitt’s game cost a nickel to play, and it had five drums with ten cards each. Later, the company removed ten of spades and jack of hearts since it was easier to have 50 cards instead of 52.

Back in the day, tabletop devices did not have automatic payments; thus players had to collect winnings from the bartender. So to counter the same, Charles August Fey created a similar machine with an automatic payment system, but the exact date of his invention is not known. For the machine to make winning combinations simpler, he used three reels with only five symbols. Later this machine was called the Liberty Bell since that was one of the symbols. Since Fey never patented his design, numerous other devices began to be manufactured.



Gambling was known to have a rough patch with the law since countries from around the world did not find the activity to be ethical. As a result, slot machines were outlawed in the 1900s, but manufacturers refused to give up. Instead, they offered prizes instead of coins, and in most cases, this meant a return to the days of automatic payment systems. With a couple of other inventions, liberty bells were replaced with fruit symbols and later in 1916; the world was introduced to a version of the jackpot.


Eventually, things changed for gambling with the law and slot machines became popular. They moved ahead to be a part of gambling houses and later the online market. The many elements of slot machines that we see today are all part and parcel of its initial stages and how it managed to attract a large crowd.

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