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Slot Machine History 1891: Sittman and Pitt Build a Poker Gambling Machine VideoWendover Resorts Presents: A Short History of Slot Machines
These logic boards were the first version of the random number generators that slot machines and casino games use today.
At first, customers were skeptical of the video slots. Despite their lack of initial success, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the use of video slots in casinos.
International Game Technology , better known as IGT, bought out the Fortune Coin Company in IGT was able to modify the video slot machines to attract more customers and to benefit the casinos.
They added visual effects to make it look like the reels were spinning. They also made the slot machines smaller, with individual chairs so that the casinos could fit more of them on their gaming floor.
Fortunate Coin Company gets the credit for creating the first video slots. But it was their merger with IGT that made these slot machines profitable.
Atlantic City legalized casinos around the same time, so IGT had a whole new market of casinos to work with. Video slots transformed the casino industry, and casinos everywhere began offering thousands of these machines.
Manufacturers updated the graphics and the internal mechanisms, but no one considered moving away from pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Gamblers carried quart-size buckets of coins around with them. When they won, the machine would spill out a certain number of coins, filling the casino with the clinking sound of coins falling into the metal hopper.
However, slot machines never held enough coins to payout enough for some of the more significant jackpots. So, if you won more than the threshold amount, which was usually coins, you had to wait for a casino manager to come to your machine.
The casino manager would come to check your machine, verify your win, and fill out paperwork. Once all of the paperwork was complete, they would carry more coins to you, accompanied by a security guard.
In many cases, the process of collecting your winnings could take an hour or more, depending on how busy the casino was. It almost always took at least half an hour.
Waiting that long for your prize money was anticlimactic for many gamblers. You may have just won a massive jackpot, but now you have to stand around waiting and filling out paperwork.
Fortunately, MGM Corporation changed all that. In the early s, MGM was constructing the MGM Grand Casino. They had an idea to make the new casino completely cashless.
Some of the inventions that were key to the success of the project included barcode scanners, bill validators, ticket printers, and game developers.
They bought gaming technology from Five Star Solutions, a barcode printer from John Yarbrough, and a bill validator from Pat Greene.
These combined technologies created a universal interface board protocol that could be used on almost any slot machine.
After developing the Universal Interface Board UIB , MGM invited IGT, Bally Gaming, Sigma Games, and several other manufacturers to try out the UIB.
They had trailers in the Desert Inn parking lot where the manufacturers could test their games with the new software.
All of these manufacturers worked together to create the first Ticket In Ticket Out TITO slot machines. However, IGT bought the patents for TITO machines from MGM later, so IGT is often credited as the first company to offer TITO software.
TITO machines accepted dollar bills instead of coins. When the player was ready to cash out, the machine would print a barcoded ticket. That is why slot machine developers eventually added coin-clinking sound effects to most of their machines.
Political leaders initially resisted the TITO machines because they felt like they were just a step away from credit card readers at slot machines.
Gambling on credit is a sign of problem gambling, so they did not want to make that available. The system required cash to get started, so it could not be used for credit-based games.
Once they saw them in action, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the use of TITO slot machines. Ticket In Ticket Out machines spread rapidly throughout Las Vegas and other gambling destinations.
They offered many benefits for both the players and the casinos. Before TITO, casinos had to have a separate machine for pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
TITO software lets them accept multiple denominations on one machine, which means they can also expand their games collection.
The invention of video slots transformed slot machines. They are easier to manufacture and easier to modify. Now that almost all slot machines are video slots, manufacturers keep adding new features, better graphics, and different game themes.
While manufacturers continue to find new ways to add excitement to their slot machines, the fundamental machine is similar to those that emerged in the s.
Many things have remained the same, but there are a couple of new features that are worth noting. One of the most significant upgrades for slot machines came in IGT was again the company with the cutting edge.
It uses an electronic system to connect several slot machines to each other. They collected a portion of each bet that was made on each of the linked machines to create a super jackpot.
These super jackpots significantly increased the potential payout for customers. Bigger payouts attract more customers, so the casinos also benefitted.
Here are some of the most impressive jackpot wins ever. Megabucks was the first progressive slot machine, and it is still responsible for almost all of the highest record-breaking jackpot wins in casino history.
Another significant change for modern slot machines came in , from a software development company called Williams Interactive, or WMS.
It features several different fish symbols for the highest payouts and fishing equipment like tackleboxes, fishing poles, and bobbers for the smaller prizes.
Some of the symbols may have fishing lures on them. If you get three lures on any of the reels, you can trigger the bonus round. They do not have to be on a pay line.
When you enter the bonus round, you get to pick your fisherman, who will cast two to four times. The fisherman will cast the line, and the screen will show you an underwater scene with several fish.
He will catch one fish for each cast, and each fish has a different prize attached. Depending on the outcome of your bonus round, you can earn multipliers and bonus credits.
You can even trigger a fishing competition where you compete against the computer. The addition of the second-screen bonus round added a lot of variety to games that previously had nothing other than spinning reels.
It also came at a time when computer games and video games were becoming increasingly popular. Younger gamblers are far less interested in slot machines because they are far too repetitive.
The computerized software that operates video slots makes it easier for game developers to incorporate different graphics and features.
These graphics are an excellent way to incorporate themes and design elements that make the games more appealing to players.
You can still find fruit symbols on many slot machines, but modern slots tend to have specific themes. Today, you can find slot machines based on pop culture references, animals, space, knights, and fairy tales.
Ancient mythology from China, Egypt, and Greece are all surprisingly popular themes. That might be because one of the most popular themed slot machines ever was Cleopatra.
IGT released their Cleopatra video slot machine in It has five reels and twenty pay lines. It also gave players the chance to win fifteen free spins and offered a 3x multiplier.
These features attracted experienced players, but they also made it easy for beginner slot machine players. Cleopatra is still one of the most popular slot machine games today, and it has inspired several other variations.
Slot machine themes allow players to feel like they can have a different experience, even though the game itself is fundamentally the same.
But all of those land-based casinos had a new competitor to deal with: online casinos. The first mechanical slot machine was the Liberty Bell, invented in by car mechanic, Charles Fey — of San Francisco.
The Liberty Bell slot machine had three spinning reels. Diamond, spade, and heart symbols were painted around each reel, plus the image of a cracked Liberty Bell.
A spin resulting in three Liberty Bells in a row gave the biggest payoff, a grand total of fifty cents or ten nickels.
Other Charles Fey machines include the Draw Power, and Three Spindle and the Klondike. In , Charles Fey invented the first draw poker machine.
Charles Fey was also the inventor of the trade check separator, which was used in the Liberty Bell. The hole in the middle of the trade check allowed a detecting pin to distinguish fake nickels or slugs from real nickels.
As the popularity of these machines grew, so too did the voice of their resistors. Initially it was the clergy, on supposed grounds of morality, who did their best to halt the growing popularity of these machines.
Sometime after, the lawmakers followed suit and by San Francisco introduced a ban, making over 3, slot machines redundant.
Trivia: Initially the fruit only machine was developed in a bid to work around toughening rules surrounding gambling. In fact, officially, this machine was but a chewing machine dispenser.
Officially no gambling here, a cheeky move. Recognising a good idea when they saw one, the Industry Novelty Company carved out their slice of the action by one upping MNCC.
In a stroke of genius, placing the cherry firmly upon the proverbial cake, their move was to replace certain fruits with pictures of the chewing gum packets that could be won.
No doubt their biggest idea of , these brainiacs devised a system which meant that players fortunate enough to line up the jackpot symbols on their reels would witness the machine spew coin, after coin in a frenzy of total excitement.
Together, the efforts of the gentlemen mentioned above had created the machine that would take the world by storm, a machine that with time, would infiltrate every pub, bar and club.
As the s rolled on, the machines popularity had soared within the United States. The s were something of a hey day. A time when the slot machine ruled.
A time when these machines found their way into just about every holiday resort and bar. It was a key loophole that allowed major rivals like Caille Brothers, Mills Novelty Company, and Bally to muscle in.
Despite the fact slot machines were banned, production continued and popularity increased. Fey and his team couldn't keep up with the demand.
He kept refusing to sell the rights to big manufacturers, though, and soon other inventors began to create their own knock-off versions. Slot machines really boomed from this point and were popping up across hotels and venues around the country.
They soon began to be known as 'one-armed bandits' because of their levers on the side. Chicago-based manufacturer Herbert Mills made his own version of the Liberty Bell , The Operators Bell, that used three reels of different fruit symbols.
This is where the term 'fruit machines' originates from. The Mills Novelty Co. During the Prohibition period, machines began dealing out flavored chewing gum and candy rather than cash.
From this point, slot machines continued to be produced and appear in hundreds of different venues. The swinging sixties saw the rise of electromechanical slot machines.
Bally was the first company to create a slot machine with electric reels, called Money Honey. The game still needed to start with a mechanical lever, but the electric reels were a game changer.
It weighed a staggering lbs and was able to handle paying out hundreds of coins in one go. It was hugely popular.
Las Vegas-based Fortune Coin Company developed Fortune Coin, the first ever video slot, and gave everything a futuristic leap. Some players found it took a bit of getting used to, though, as they were more familiar with the mechanical spinning reels.
It was later modified and cheat-proofed with the addition of random number generators RNGs when it was bought by IGT in