Since its invention in the late 1800’s the slot machine has become, without a doubt, the single most popular gambling game in the world. A thrilling mix of sensational lights and sounds, these engaging machines now not only dominate land based casinos, but have invaded the online world as well, meaning there are more people playing these feisty idols of entertainment than ever before.
Before Slot Machines There Was Poker Machines
By the late 1800’s gambling had become a widespread past time throughout America, appearing in many different forms and permutations from one city to the next. In San Francisco one form of gaming called drop card machines had become quite popular indeed. These mechanical devices consisted of fifty cards attached to 5 rotating drums. Just short of a full deck, the cards on the drums were usually missing the Jack of Hearts and the Ten of Spades. The games were operated with coins, and players would win free drinks, cigars, or other house goods depending on the winning poker hands that appeared with each rotation of the drums. These primitive poker machines were obviously similar in concept to today’s slot machines, and are credited for inspiring the slot machines’ inventor Charles Fay.
Charles Fay Invents The First Slot Machine
Slot machines, as we know them today, first made their appearance in San Francisco in the early 1900s, after being invented and popularized by Charles Fay. A Bavarian immigrant borne in the city of Vohringen in 1862, Fay was the last child in a family of 15 other siblings. In 1885, at the age of 23, he moved to The City By The Bay and started a machinist position at the California Electric Works. It was there that Charles Fay met Theodore Holtez, the man who would become his future partner in the creation of the first real slot machine.
Since then, during the 1930’s and 40’s especially, slot machines spread across America as a hugely popular form of gaming for all classes of people. Bugsy Siegel famously introduced machines to his Flamingo Hilton hotel in Las Vegas, originally only as a way to entertain wives and girlfriends of high rollers. But it soon became evident that the money coming in from the slot machines was rivaling that of the table games! By the mid 80’s slots had moved up the ranks to about equal popularity with the traditional rulers of the gambling industry, Table Games. But by the time the 90’s rolled around, it was clear to both casino owners, and casino goers, that slots had without a doubt taken center stage.
The Modern Slots
Until only recently, all slot machines were mechanical. There had been many improvements and impressive bells and whistles added, both literally and figuratively, but no mater how complicated some appeared to be, they were definitely mechanical on the inside. Despite the romanticism surrounding these noisy relics however, they were prone to may problems, including mechanical failure, and security was routinely being compromised by folks with even basic knowledge of mechanics. But since the 1980’s, electronic slot machines have become the standard. Using a microprocessor to control the calculation of the spins make the machines basically invulnerable to breaches of security, and almost immune to breakdowns. What’s more, electronic slots also offer an even more dramatic accompaniment of special effects, and the value of prizes they can offer is limitless.
Slots and The Internet
Wide spread accessibility to the Internet brought with it a whole new area for, not only slots gaming, but all forms of gambling. Online casinos offer people the chance to play slots in the convenience of their own home, on their own terms, and in a way that was never possible before in history. Today online gaming is a multibillion-dollar industry, and is considered around the world as a safe, legitimate, and extremely convenient way to enjoy the timeless amusement the slot machine. The only question is: What form will they take next?