The Journey that Technology has Given the Humble Slot Machine

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Today, we have a seemingly endless supply of different online slots games to play, with different games based around a whole range of different themes. From fruit machine lookalikes through to comic book hero-themed games, or ones that link in with TV shows and box office movies, we could find a new game to play every day for months on end.

Every time you login to online casino sites, such as bgo, Lucky247 and Coral, there always seems to be a new slot featured and each of them has its own special theme and bonus features. And if you sign up to play slots at, you not only get a 200 per cent bonus when you put your first deposit in, but you also get 180 free spins on Starburst, one of the most popular slots around today.

Today’s slots world is a massive leap from the days when the world’s first successful slot machine was manufactured and marketed back in 1895. The Liberty Bell was a game designed and patented by an inventor called Charles Fey in San Francisco. Previous attempts at producing a mechanical game that was similar to the card game poker had proved unsuccessful. This was mainly due to the fact that the prototype machines either had too few or too many symbol combinations.

Fey based his machine on a lottery game known as Policy. The maximum payout on the Liberty Bell was $5, a sizeable prize back in the 1890s. He trialled the first machine in a saloon for two weeks and it was so popular with the customers that he felt confident enough to quit his job and open a slots machine factory. Other manufacturers followed Fey’s lead and the slots industry really took off.

Since the first Liberty Bell, it’s always been advances in technology that have aided the evolution of the slots machine. The first machines worked, but they were relatively easy to cheat on. People used to jam the reels using blocks of wood, so the manufacturers had to develop more sophisticated machines so that it was harder to ‘fix’ the reels.

In the 1970s, when video slots first made an appearance, there was a slump in slot popularity as people felt that they could not trust the machines to ‘play fair’. There was a suspicion that because the reels were not physically real, the games’ odds would be fixed against the player. Only when video poker took off did consumers begin to feel that they could trust video slots.

Of course, today, the technology used in slots games means that it is a completely different experience. The games have amazing graphics and soundtracks and bonus rounds take you through to whole new levels – the possibilities are endless compared with a physical slot machine. And thanks to gambling regulations and licensing, players know that they are getting fair odds on the games that they play, otherwise the online casinos would not be able to stay in business.

It is difficult to predict where slots will go from here – apart from being ever more sophisticated in terms of gaming experience. But it is pretty sure that Fey could not have imagined where his invention would one day lead.


Picture Credit: cclibertybell by Gary Soup Caption: The Liberty Bell is so important in slots history that there’s even a memorial plaque for its birthplace in San Francisco