A Brief History of the Slot Machine

From fifty cent payouts and spring mechanisms to the exciting multimedia gaming experience featured in Colorado Casinos today, the classic slot machine has come a long way in the past 100 years. The moment these “one-armed bandits” came on the scene in the late 19th century, people couldn’t get enough of this game of chance. Wherever there was a machine, there was a crowd hungry to hit the jackpot.

The original classic slot machine, named the Liberty Bell, was released in 1908, and was so wildly popular that production couldn’t keep up with requests. Liberty Bell played three reel strips on one line that featured hearts, spades, diamonds, horseshoes and the game’s namesake, a Liberty Bell. Over 30,000 barber shops, bowling alleys, stores, and saloons around the United States made the big fifty cent payout if you landed three bells on their machines. There were also variations that paid out bubble gum based on the fruit appearing on the reels, which is how the popular cherry, melon and bar symbols originated.

The first fully electromechanical slot machine was developed by Bally in the early 1960s. This basically ended the golden era of the classic slot machine. No matter what age, slots players felt a certain nostalgia for the simple one-line video slot machines where they’d line up three matching symbols and hear the sound of the coins falling into the drop bucket. These days most of the casino’s floor is occupied with video slots, utilizing the best of computer technology and offering second screen bonuses creating an even more exciting experience. Despite more sophisticated developments and advancements in technology, there is still that nostalgic thrill of sending the reels spinning and chasing the win.

The classic slot machine has come a long way from its first incarnations at the end of the 19th century. A simple machine with a manually controlled handle, four symbols and three reels had transformed into a multimedia experience that continually tantalizes slot players around the world. These new machines made winning even more exciting with flashing lights and celebratory sounds.

The gradual development of the video slot and poker machines really started taking off in the early 1980s, replacing classic slot machines as the casino standard. Using video technology gave the machines the ability to link together to build progressive jackpots and include bonus games.

Another notable development is the capability to use the video screen to create interactive bonus games that have come to define game play as much as the art itself. Common themes include second-screen mini games of increasing levels, free spins bonus games, and selecting objects for additional prizes, giving these machines more of an interactive video game atmosphere.