In the world of casino games, slot machines are the most famous of them all. They trace back to when Sittman and Pitt developed the first machine in 1891. It cost a nickel to play, and the machine was famous in many bars. House advantage began way back as two cards were removed from the machine to increase house advantage for the bar. Prizes were mostly non-monetary and would be anything from cigars to free drinks from the bar.
Charles Augustus Fey developed a machine that catered to automatic payouts between 1887 and 1895. He replaced the previous five drums with three reels. He also came up with five symbols that replaced the initial playing cards, including a liberty bell which the machine was soon named after. Since Fey did not patent the idea, many other companies copied his design.
The Operator Bell Machine
In 1902, there was a ban against slot machines, but this did not hinder their production as, at this time, they had become quite popular. The machines during this era utilized fruit symbols, and payouts included chewing gum and candies of a matching flavor to the symbol. The Operator Bell machine came up during this time, created by Herbert Mills in Chicago.
The First Electromechanical Slot
More developments came up in 1964 when the first electromechanical slot came into existence. The machine was released by Ballys and ran on electrical power even though starting the game with a lever remained. Its design allowed automated payout with real coins.
The Development of Video Slots
In 1976-1978, the first-ever video slot was created by a company known as Fortune Coin from Las Vegas. The company made a few modifications to make the machine cheat-proof, and soon after, they received approval from the gaming Commission in Nevada. It became a popular game in Las Vegas and gradually improved from what initially used an improved 19-inch Sony screen. In 1978, IGT acquired the company Fortune Coin.
The next development came in 1996 with a video slot machine featured an additional bonus round on a second screen. The innovation known as Reel Em was a product of WMS Industries Inc. The bonus round provided an opportunity for extra payouts. By this time, the casino business was quite popular due to slot machines which brought in more than half of the casino's revenue. Today's machines are upgraded versions of what was available during this era.