A Brief History of Slot Machines – Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at the very early beginnings of slots machines dating back to the late 1890s, when Californian Charles Fey invented the first simple 3-line, 3-row mechanical slot machine that would be recognizable to us 130 years later. This concept remained pretty much the same for decades, with the machines getting bigger, different themes and symbols and sometimes more reels being added, but still manually operated by pulling a lever (the so-called “one-armed bandit”).


That all changed in 1963, with the first fully electromechanical slot coming onto the casino floor. The slot’s name was Money Honey and although it still had a lever to pull, this was purely to maintain familiarity with gamblers as it was now an unnecessary action, and which was eventually done away with.


More changes came in 1976 when the first true video slot, manufactured by Fortune Coin in California, hit the casinos on the Vegas Strip, after being tested at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. A modified Sony Trinitron TV screen (remember those?) was mounted in the conventional slot machine cabinet and all the functions were contained on logic boards.


The next leap forward came in 1996 with the release of “Reel ‘Em”, the first slot to feature a bonus game on a different screen. Slots were developing at a fast and furious pace, with a huge range of different themes, gameboard configurations, and hundreds of different slot games were brought to the market. Land-based casinos were seeing up to 70% of their revenues coming from slot machines.


Around the same time, home computers and the internet became accessible for practically anyone – actually, the internet is arguably one of the most life-changing innovations in human evolution. And it certainly has been for the gambling industry! While land-based casinos were still thriving as more and more countries relaxed their gambling laws, so too did the idea of online casinos become popular and so began to proliferate.  


Initially, online casinos offered traditional games such as poker and blackjack, followed by slots, which quickly became the most popular as slots traditionally require no particular skills to play. On top of accessibility and ease of play, the growing number of slots games was also a big draw card, and today an estimated 2,000 different slots can be found online! 


Yet another very attractive aspect of playing the slots is the chance to win really big. Many slots now have in-built jackpots, with progressive jackpots being the massive money-spinners. Lucky players have walked away with millions won on a progressive jackpot. Even limited jackpots can land you a tidy sum like $5,000 or $10,000. 
Not only is the sheer variety of slots impressive, guaranteeing almost endless entertainment and infinite variety, but the stunning graphics, novel themes, unconventional layouts and weird and wonderful bonus play screens offer players an immersive experience that is light years away from the slot machine’s very humble beginnings. What’s more, the development of smart phones has revolutionized online gaming, where you can now play anywhere there’s connectivity.


It seems there is no limit to how much and how far slots can evolve, given the continuous advance of technology and the miraculous extent of human imagination and creativity. In the meantime, celebrate how far we’ve come and enjoy trying out and playing some of the many slots on offer at DuckyLuck Online Casino!

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