Slot machines have brought plenty of joy to the lives of many. After all, ho would have guessed all those years ago, in 1895, the world’s first slot machine would become such an iconic object. Known fruit machines in the United Kingdom, as slot machines in the United States, and poker machines or ?pokies? in Australia; such devices have a really long and colourful history to be told. At 777spinslot, we have crafted an amazing infographic about slot developers which tells the story from the very beginning to 2016.
2016’s slot machines have actually come a very long way from the original one-armed bandit that offered gum for prizes. In 2016 slot players can pick from a wide range of online slots provided by companies that have started dominating the industry with the onset of the Internet. Many gamblers visit casinos only for slots. Truth be told, slots are the most exciting and interesting aspect of the gaming experience.
Early Years: The Era of the Liberty Bell and Charles Frey
The very first slot machine was actually a mechanical device based on poker. It was the answer to the question how to automate the famous card game. In 1895 Charles Fey, a German immigrant, developed a machine with three spinning reels and this very first slot machine had five symbols: hearts, diamonds, horseshoes, spades as well as the Liberty Bell. It was also called the ‘one-armed bandit’.
Around the same years, the Liberty Bell became the first jackpot symbol and three of these in a row was the absolute highest payout for Liberty Bell slots. The same machine gave payouts in the form of fruit flavoured gum and for this reason the fruit themed symbols are still very common today.
The Liberty Bell machine was so popular that Fey could not keep up with the demand. In 1907, Herbert Mills created another machine called the Operator Bell, and many bell machines were getting installed in saloons, cigar stores, as well as other locations.
The next stage in the actual slot machine history was the introduction of Fruit Machines by Bell-Fruit Gum Company in 1912. The card symbols on the reels were replaced by fruit images such as: cherries, watermelons, apples, bars, oranges.
The Next Generation
Harry Williams founded WMS Industries two years before WWII ended, in 1943. The same company is now called WMS Gaming, the mamooth slot developer which boasts incredible casino games.
About twenty years later, in 1963, Bally Technologies Inc developed Money Honey, the ?first electro-mechanical slot machine in the world. It marked a new milestone in the development of slot machines – they went from mechanical-only components to electrical components that were also integrated into the design and this meant highly enhanced gameplay in addition to multicoin bets which gave higher payouts.
With increased jackpots and cosmetic changes like flashing lights this new type of slot machines quickly became popular among casino gamblers.
Before the onset of the electro-mechanical slot machines, card and table games were the most popular games, but slot machines were a few steps from conquering the world of gaming.
The 80s and 90s were marked by the emergence of microchip technology which led to exciting improvements in the world of slots. The world?s very first video slot debuted in 1975; Walt Fraley developed the slot called Fortune Coin which was ahead of its time. So much so that at first gamblers were really mistrustful of the new technology and computerised reels on the screen.
The patent for Fortune Coin was bought by IGT in 1976 and with further development and clever marketing these new type of slot machines ensured that slots games would thrive.
This technology allowed owners to link multiple slots in multiple sites. On the same note, the first progressive slot machine was invented in 1986 by IGT; this slot machine received the name Megabucks.
The Era of the Internet
The popularisation of PCs, the creativity of software developers, and the rise of the Internet gave birth to a new phenomenon ? online slots. Just as their name suggests, such slots are played online and a player can access a game from their computer, while sitting at the desk or in the couch.
The 90s marked the onset of 7 major slots developing companies, among them Novomatic, and Incredible Technologies. The 21st century brought even more players to the market – Microgaming, Play’N’Go, Igrosoft, Konami, Playtech, Nextgen Gaming, Ash Gaming.
The last decade of the 20th century marked the onset of a few gambling commisions, such as Antigua and Barbuda. In 2001, Isle of Man, Alderney, and Gibraltar begin to grant licenses. The 2005 marked the creation of the UK Gambling Act and other software developers entered the market, among which Amaya is the most notable one.
The US passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, and in 2010 there were over 865 online casinos on the Internet. Nowadays, there are more than 60 developing companies all over the world.
Short History of The Most Notable Slots Developers
- 1943 ? 1968: Aristocrat, WMS Gaming, Bally Technologies
- 1980 ? 1990: Novomatic, IGT, Incredible technologies
- 1991 ? 2000: Microgaming, Playtech, Igrosoft, Play?n?Go, Belatra, Tain, OpenBet, MegaJack, Real Time Gaming, Mazooma, Net Entertainment, Ainsworth Game Technology, BetSoft Gaming, Ash Gaming, Nextgen Gaming, Konami
- 2001 ? 2005: Amaya, SGS Universal, Blueprint Gaming, Unicum Gaming, World Match, Gamesys N.V., NeoGames, Ensis Technologies, GloboTech, 1X2 Gaming, Wazdan, Probability, Evoplay, GamesOS
- 2006 ? 2010: Endemol, Relax Gaming, GameScale, Push Gaming, Merkur, Viaden Media, CGTV Games, Genesis Gaming, Evolution Gaming, Leander Games, Cayetano Gaming, Rival Gaming
- 2011 ? 2016: NuWorks Gaming, Omi Gaming, Big Time Gaming, Elk Studios, Barcrest, Odobo, Quickspin, Cryptologic.