Have you ever looked at a slot machine and wondered how it all began? Have you ever asked yourself who invented this glorious game that makes up a large portion of the revenue for casinos everywhere? If you have felt any curiosity whatsoever about the origins of the most popular gambling pastime in the world, then read on.
It all began in 1895 with a car mechanic named Charles Fey, an immigrant man who would change the face of entertainment forever with his invention, a slot machine called the “Liberty Bell.” The game featured 3 reels that had diamonds, hearts, spades, and one liberty bell painted around them. Players had to line up 3 bells in order to win the jackpot, which was worth $0.50. Fay soon found that he was having trouble keeping up with demand for his original product, and before he knew it, a Chicago arcade game manufacturer was producing a product very similar to Fay’s; it was called “Operator Bell,” and it was the next generation in slot machine entertainment.
The “Operator Bell” slots game was like Fay’s machine in many ways, but it had been updated to include 10 symbols on each reel, and was more portable than the original slot machine, which had been several hundred pounds of cast iron.
After a long period of unrest on the topic of gambling in the United States, the state of Nevada reintroduced the industry of gambling in the 1930’s, and slot machines have been an integral part of the industry since then. Fey had created a gaming giant that would continue grow and change until it became some of the incredible video slots games available today, both in traditional gaming establishments and online.
Slot machines were long considered a novelty; they were something to keep the wives and girlfriends of wealthy card players occupied. Soon slot machines took casino floors by storm, and it became apparent that it was too easy to cheat…This revelation led to the invention of electromechanical slot machines by Bally in 1963, called “Money Honey”; it was the first slot machine to offer a bottomless hopper and an automatic payout of up to 500 coins without the help of a casino attendant.
In 1996, slot machines took a twist that Charles Fay could have never imagined with the invention of “Reel ‘Em” by WMS Industries. “Reel ‘Em” was the first slot machine game to ever boast a second screen bonus game that allowed players to accumulate additional winnings through a second game triggered by the correct combination on the reels. Of course, this immediately changed the face of slot machines once again, and started a trend that continues today.
Slot machine players can now enjoy their favorite slots games in a casino or from the comfort of their own home through the use of online casinos. Next time you decide that you need to spin the reels in your favorite slots game, imagine how excited Charles Fay would be at the entertainment that grew from his influential invention.