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Welcome to part five of LadyLucks’ blog series on slots! So far, we’ve brought you almost everything there is to know about the world of slot machines, from the history of slots to the maths behind the machines.
In this 5th part of our ultimate guide, we will talk about the slot evolution from its creation to the one we know today.
Online slots are one of the most popular casino games in the world.
Here at LadyLucks, we love an online slot. But how did we get to where we are today?
A Brief History of the Slot Machine
Before we get into the nitty gritty of online slots, let’s go over a brief history of the rise of the slot machine. We talked about some of this in more detail in part four, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of revision, is there?
There are at least two different accounts concerning the original invention of slot machines.
One states that the first device was the ‘Liberty Bell’ machine, invented by an American named Charles Fey in 1887. It was relatively simple, featuring just three reels and five symbols: a Liberty Bell (hence the name) along with a horse shoe, a heart, a diamond, and a spade.
The alternative version is that Fey didn’t develop his machine until later, in 1895, and that the first device was in fact inaugurated in 1891 by two men named Sittman and Pitt. This machine was loosely based on poker, although there were only 50 cards used. These 50 cards were featured on five spinning drums (10 on each), which would display a five-card poker hand on each spin. The better the hand displayed, the more a player could win.
There were some similarities and differences between these two devices. Both required a player to pull a lever to start the reels or drums spinning, and it was this aspect that led to slot machines being known as one-armed bandits.
The basic principle of both was also the same – in that players inserted a coin and won wads of cash in correlation to the grade of spin they managed to produce.
One of the main differences between the two was that the Liberty Bell had a mechanism that automatically dispensed coins depending on the result of the spin, while the machine developed by Sittman and Pitt did not. There were many more possible combinations due to the five reels instead of three and the use of playing cards instead of just a few symbols.
It was perhaps this key difference that made the Liberty Bell the more popular of the two. Although both devices were produced in numbers and installed in bars, saloons, and other venues, it was the Liberty Bell that really started the slot machine boom.
Other companies soon began to manufacture their versions of these early devices, and the slots industry was well and truly established.
The slot evolution continues after these early advances, though. Read on to find out more…
The Slot Evolution
The early machines served a purpose and certainly attracted the attention of plenty of avid proto-gamblers. They were, however, somewhat basic. Over time they became more and more sophisticated with a number of improvements made.
There have been a number of notable developments in the history of slot machines. A particularly significant one occurred when a Chicago-based manufacturer was the first to use fruit symbols on the reels. This became something of a standard, and even to this day many games still feature fruit symbols. In many parts of the world, slot games are still referred to as fruit machines.
Perhaps the most significant development was many years later, in 1963, when Bally Manufacturing made Money Honey model.
Money Honey was the first fully electronic slot machine, and it changed the industry dramatically. Games could be started by pressing a button rather than pulling a lever, and several new features were introduced. These included being able to hold reels for the subsequent spin or nudge reels to try to make winning combinations.
The electronic games evolved even further in the following years, and soon video-based slots appeared. Physical reels weren’t used, and instead, everything was displayed graphically on a screen. This led to the introduction of second screen games that featured additional bonus rounds where the reels displayed would change to a different screen at which further payouts could be won.
The next big development was near the end of the 20th century, when online casinos started to populate the Internet. LadyLucks would like to say a special thank you for this particular development, as without it we wouldn’t be here today! (And wouldn’t that be a shame?)
More about the Computerised Era
So, we’re now up to speed on how we got to where we are today. But, let’s look at the evolution of the computerised era in a little bit more detail.
The start of the 1980s saw the birth of the computerised era of slot machines. Sircoma, a new company in the field, produced a video poker slot machine which caused a sensation in the industry. At first, many players were wary of the video aspect of the machine, as they felt that they could not fully trust the fact that they could not see the reels spinning. These apprehensions soon disappeared when the success of the machine became apparent.
The computerised era also meant that players were presented with a wider range of choices and options. Machines now accepted bills so players no longer needed small change in order to play. Ultimately this meant that players could spend longer at the machine and less time in money changing queues.
Other machines were developed which allowed a player to choose from a selection of games from the same machine. These slot machines were becoming an all-inclusive gambling destination and which meant that players did not need to walk around the casino floor looking for different games. Bonus features were also added which enabled a player to have a chance to win more money, besides the already staggering jackpot prizes that most of the slot machines offered.
Today, slot machines make up about 30% of an average casino’s profits, which is the result of multiple calculated changes to the machines – In the 1930s for example, slot machines were completely quiet during play, whereas modern day iterations go positively ballistic when a player wins big to generate a kind of quasi-hysteria.
Slot machines generally include very flashy lights and attractive casings in order to make them even more attractive. The coin trays at the bottom are almost always made from metal and are very large in order to catch all the coins that fall out during a win, and the machines that generally provide more frequent wins are strategically placed in highly visible spots on the casino floor in order to further attract the crowds.
These days, slot machines use random number generators which are pre-programmed and correspond to patterns of symbols on the reels. Generally slot machines accept a maximum of two or three coins but some multiple coin playing machines offer a range of options. In some machines, the number of coins paid out is proportional to the number of coins deposited. Some will not even pay a jackpot if only one coin is deposited. It is often best to play the maximum number of coins in order to increase the chances of winning.
Many machines are also moving away from actually accepting coins and the industry is becoming a cashless zone. When players hit one of the smaller winning combinations they are usually paid out automatically from the machine. The larger jackpots are paid out directly by an authorised casino employee who is informed of the winning by a light above the machine.
The World of Online Slots
Most of the early online casinos offered a range of slot games, and pretty much every single one still does today. Slots are easily among the most popular casino games, with literally hundreds of different varieties found.
These games have evolved substantially since the initial versions. You’ll now find games based on all kinds of different themes, with loads of rules and features. Some of them have progressive jackpots which increase over time, potentially growing to huge sums of money.
The companies that develop online slot games are continually improving what’s on offer and are constantly looking for ways to innovate and provide something unique. It’s fair to say that you are unlikely to ever get bored playing online slots, thanks to the number of new games regularly released.
Slot machines offering progressive slots and straight slots are now common on over 2,000 online casino sites. Most of these slot games present superb jackpot prizes and highly attractive bonus features that make them the highlight of any online casino visit.
Hundreds of online casino sites have dedicated their gaming efforts solely to slot machines and focus on the excitement and thrill of this great game. What better way to become an instant millionaire than by logging onto an online slot casino, having a few spins of the slots reels and winning the jackpot? If you are yet to discover the thrills of online casinos and especially slots, now is the time!
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So, we’ve learned that online slots have basically taken over the world. But who have been the biggest winners in this modern world of online slots?
Biggest Slot Wins of All Time
There is a feeling of excitement you hear about or even see someone score big in a casino, whether it happens at a high stakes Blackjack table, with one spin of a Roulette wheel or on a progressive jackpot offered from a simple slot machine.
Many people have seen their life change, and many wealthy individuals have become even wealthier based on a single play.
Some of the biggest casino wins in gaming history have happened online (usually in online slots) and this branch of the industry has its own unique jackpot statistics.
The first multimillion-dollar jackpot was awarded online in 2002. A progressive online jackpot in the amount of $1.59 million was awarded, and online casinos became more viable in the gaming industry than ever.
A new record was set in 2005, when a woman from Florida hit a $1.96 million progressive jackpot through an online slot game.
In May 2009, this record was shattered when a Microgaming online player scored a €6,374,434 jackpot (yep, you read that right), around $8.69 million. This staggering amount went to a business owner from Greece, who we at LadyLucks think could easily start a new business about online gambling tips based on that performance!
Now you’ve got the Slot Knowledge…
If you’ve read our whole Slot Compendium blog series, you’ve now got all the info you need to make you Mr or Mrs Knowledgeable when it comes to the world of slot machines!
From the Liberty Bell to the large offering of online slots we see today, there’s lots of fun that has been had in the world of slots and will continue to be had in future too.
You can join us at LadyLucks to be part of that fun, and maybe you’ll be the next big jackpot winner!