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Slots: History of the Game

Posted on December 11, 2015 | Comments Off on Slots: History of the Game

Online slots are great fun but, of course, slots weren’t always played online (or on mobile for that matter). Here we take a look at the history of slots and their evolution from bars to cell phones!

The First Ever Slots

The first ever slots were developed around the end of the 19th century, with companies on both the east and west coast of America laying claims to having developed the first ever slots. Probably the first ever slot was invented by Sittman and Pitt in New York in 1891. Based on poker hands, winning spins were paid manually, with prizes of drinks or smokes.

Around the same time and probably a year or so after this, a Californian man, Charles Fey, developed a machine with fewer symbols that thus facilitated automatic payment of prizes. Rather than playing cards and poker, the game used just four fruit symbols and a Liberty Bell and three reels rather than the five drums of the earlier slot.

Slots Go Electric

Until the 1960s slots remained mechanical in nature, with the reels spun via the side lever. In 1963 Bally, founded by Raymond Moloney in 1932, developed the first ever electromechanical slot, Honey Money. This breakthrough allowed very large wins to be played automatically and also meant the side lever (the one arm of the one-armed bandit) was no longer physically necessary.

Video Slots

In 1976 Vegas-based Fortune Coin Co developed the first ever video slot. This crude machine used an adapted Sony receiver, a TV effectively, and paved the way for modern slots.


In the 1990s, just before the development of online slots, slots were developed that used more than one screen to facilitate bonus rounds. The second screen was displayed on the machine’s main screen but had different functionality and moved slots from simple spinning reels to the more complex gameplay we see today.

Online and Mobile Slots

In the mid-1990s the internet really took huge leaps forward and this enabled slots to be played online. The technology was essentially very similar to that of the earlier video slots, with the internet simply the conduit for the games. In much the same way, modern cell technology and data connectivity have moved games forward, with mobile casinos evermore popular.

Of course, online and mobile casinos are not the only recent developments and improved technology has also allowed games to become better looking, with more advanced sounds and more enticing bonus features, as well as more involving game play.

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