The gaming arm of the gambling industry is worth multiple billions. And the driving force is and has been for quite a while, slot machines. Like many other gaming and gambling elements, slots have enjoyed quite the journey. And their evolution has been key to the continued growth of one of the fastest-moving sectors around.
Believe it or not, you’re going to find that inspiration for slot machines came out of Egypt centuries ago, when engineer Hero of Alexandria brought a vending machine of sorts to life. They were designed to pump out predetermined amounts of holy water via a lever, which are now synonymous with the physical versions of slot machines that found a home on the Las Vegas Strip. The lever was included in the first-ever slot machine created by Sittman and Pitt, a company operating out of New York.
The machine created by Sittman and Pitt was designed to play poker rather than what we now associate with a typical slot machine. Therefore, many attest that Charles Augustus Fey developed the first authentic slot machine, one that would feature five symbols, including hearts, spades, diamonds, horseshoes and bells. Slot machines were born at this moment, and the evolution of one of the most popular forms of gambling was well and truly underway.
By 1976, Fortune Coin, a Las Vegas company, developed and introduced video displays to slot machines, which proved to be a real game-changer. From here, playing the slots became one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Sin City, with the Las Vegas Strip littered with punters who wanted to try their luck. But, the evolution of slot machines didn’t stop there, with IGT, one of the big players in the industry, purchasing Fortune Coin and developing slots further by adding bonus rounds to games.
Of course, the most significant moment for slot machines came when the Internet arrived. Slot machines quickly became what everyone now knows as online slots, and they’re by far and away the most popular form of content at online casinos today, bar none. Slot machines were always, in the main, comparable only to themselves. But, now you could go as far as saying video games are very much like online slot machines.
The move for slot machines into the online world also made the games more accessible. Not only could punters log on and play without having to head to a casino or licensed premises, but they could also do so whenever convenient, as online gaming sites operate 24/7. It was the beginning of a new era, and one that consistently grows at a rapid rate today.
Looking back at the older slot machines and the games that are available to play right now, they’re just not comparable. The gameplay is more complex. The visuals are stunning. There are immersive bonus features and huge prizes to be won too. And the great news is that this story is far from over, with even more to come as technology advances in the next few years.