The History of Slots

Slot machines were once thought of as a game for women. When you walked into a casino you would see the wives or girlfriends working away at the slots hoping for a jackpot while the men played the table games. My, how the times have changed.

Today you see men and women together enjoying the slot machines and the jackpots, in most casinos. Many casinos connect the slot machines and a portions of each play goes towards the jackpot, so if no one wins for some time the jackpot can get quite large.

So who is the individual we have to thank for such a popular game?
His name is Charles Fey and was born on February 2, 1862 and was the last of 16 children. Charles Fey became an electrician and moved to San Francisco when he was 23 years old in 1885.

In 1894, Charles Fey invented the original three-reel slot machine and began manufacturing them in San Francisco. The Liberty Bell was his first one; it had three reels and twenty symbols.

Today you can see machines with five reels and hundreds of symbols. Slot machines are coin operated and the reels rotate when the lever on the side is pulled. Slot machines also known as "one armed bandits" have become one of the most popular games in casinos.

Slot machines gained popularity in the 1930's when Bugsy Siegel installed them in his hotel the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas. Today slot machines account for approximately 60 to 65% of the average casinos profit.

There are 2 basic kinds of slot machines; flat tops, also know as straight slots, and progressives. For the most part the slot machines are the same; the difference is that the flat top has a predetermined jackpot amount. The amount typically is shown on the slot machine cabinet or screen.

Now a progressive slot machine has a jackpot that continuously grows it automatically takes a percentage of each coin played and adds it to the jackpot. Many casinos have their progressive slot machines connected so the jackpot grows to an incredible large amount.

During the 1900's anti-gambling laws began to come into effect slot machines were illegal in many places making it a difficult period for slot machine manufacturers. There were a few important people in the history of slot machines.
Charles Fey, of course being the inventor, then there is Herbert Stephen Mills of Mills Novelty Company, he took Fey's Liberty Bell and made improvements such as adding more symbols.

During the 1960's because of slot machines being so easy to cheat on, electronics machines were introduced. Then came video slot machines introduced by Fortune Coin Company later bought by William Redd of International Game Technology.

Since then slot machines have been continuously gaining popularity. Rarely will you walk in a casino and not see people at these machines, with smiles on their faces hoping the "one armed bandit" will reward them in a big way.