The history of the humble slot machine

Today’s online gamer has an almost endless choice of slots or pokies to play, and whenever you think you’ve seen them all, the casino sites bring out some new games to keep their selection fresh. Whatever your interest, you’ll find a slot to match it – click here to play 32Red games and you’ll find there are more than 300 slots games to choose from.

You can play in practice mode when you come across a game you’ve never played before. That way, you get to test it out before putting any real money down. And with the bonuses open to new players when they first join sites, there’s plenty of free casino credit available to play with too. At most casino sites, you’ll get either 100% or 200% bonus on your first deposit. At 32Red the offer’s even better than that – with a free $32 for every $10 you put down.

http://www.flickr.com/people/valeriebb/
http://www.flickr.com/people/valeriebb/

It’s hard to imagine now that slots games used to be very limited – both in the range of choice and in the features the games had. Now, you can go through to bonus rounds and different levels if you hit the right combination of symbols. You can join in progressive jackpot games which are played over several different casino sites and stand to win life-changing amounts of money. In the original slots games which were invented over 100 years ago, the best prize on offer was a few cents or a piece of fruit flavoured chewing gum!

The first successfully manufactured slots machine was the Liberty Bell, designed and produced by a Mr Charles Fey in San Francisco. Before Fey, other people had attempted to invent a machine that allowed a single player to play a game a little like poker, but had fallen at the hurdle of designing a machine that had enough symbol combinations without making it impossible to ever land a winning combination.

Fey presented his working slots machine to the world in 1895. He had based it on a lottery game called Policy and the maximum payout was $5. Due to the startling success of the Liberty Bell, Fey was able to open a slots machine factory the next year. He was soon followed by other manufacturers and the slots era began.

The reason why some machines gave out chewing gum was that they were designed for use in states that did not permit gambling – so the gum was an acceptable prize. The BAR symbol that still appears on many slots game was the logo for the Bell-Fruit Gum Company.

When Fey designed the Liberty Bell, he could have had no idea of the kind of games that his invention would lead to – the online slots of today that we can play at home or on the move whenever we want. The question now  is where will slots go from here over the next hundred years?