Although up until the recent explosion of online slot games at sites such as cozino, many of us only associated seeing slot games and fruit machines in our local pubs, bars, chip shops or even those little service station mini-casinos, their history actually dates way back before then.
From the poker machine that simulated the famous card-playing pastime, invented in the late 19th century, up until the video slots of today, there have been many developments and cultural milestones for the humble fruity.
The first ever slot machine
Back in 1891, a New York-based company of avid gamblers and mathematicians, Sittman and Pitt, developed a machine that would become widely acknowledged as the first slot game. Containing a total of 50 playing cards, it could be found in many bars even back in the 19th century, and playable for one nickel.
Two of the cards were removed from the deck, with 50 being the number instead of 52, in order to give the house an edge. Wins were not paid out of the machine as such a mechanism was yet to be invented – more on that later – so prizes would be collected at the bar in the form of free drinks or cigars. Not bad for a nickel.
Were slot games ever banned?
The short answer to this is yes. Of course, with the changing gambling laws in the United States of America, came a banning of all slot games.
It is expected that such operations, as well as illegal poker matches and the like, still went on, but officially, they were no longer giving out monetary prizes. This is when the fruit machine was born, with the more innocent looking, fun for children alternative to the alcohol, cigar and cash prizes of before, starting to give out candy and gum for winnings.
When was the electronic fruit machine first invented?
Skip forward to the swinging sixties, and gambling laws had changed certain parts of the US and the United Kingdom was more lenient, as ever. In 1964 came the first electronic fruit machine or slot game, with all such machines being purely mechanical until this point.
Created by a company called Bally, their name is forever etched into gambling history. The reels were now electronically turned but still by the mechanism of the lever. The first slot in question could pay out up to 500 coins.
From the nineties to present day slots
With the nineties came access to the technology that changed video games forever, and with this came video slots.
Now capable of spinning on a screen rather than a mechanism inside a machine, the possibilities became more and more endless. Already popular in Las Vegas, the capital of the gambling world, the fruit machine went from strength to strength in the 20th century, where it would eventually end up online.
Nowadays, slot games are found online and in many shapes, sizes, and colors, with payouts reaching enormous numbers. They have come a long way since the days of Sittman and Pitt.