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History Of Slot Machines The Liberty Bell Slot Machine VideoThe History and Evolution of Slot Machines with Dr. David Schwartz
Will we someday see a billion-dollar progressive jackpot? Based out of London, I began freelance writing for the UK section of GamblingSites.
Having worked in the gambling industry for over 10 years, I now have the pleasure of adding this site to my list of accomplishments as a casino writer.
Who Invented Slot Machines? What will happen to slot machines in the future? The newer, more sophisticated electromechanical design allowed machines to feature new and improved payout tables that included three and five coin multipliers.
These new payout multipliers proved to be very popular as players could decide how many coins that wanted to insert before pulling the handle.
The payouts would then reflect the number of coins inserted before the win, with more coins producing bigger payouts. It is interesting to note that, due to the exclusive electric operation, a button could have just as easily triggered the reels.
Money Honey was also the first slot machine to feature a bottomless hopper, allowing automatic payouts of up to coins, all without the need for an assistant.
Money Honey proved to be so popular, it sparked a revolution in the slot machine industry and ushered in the age of electronic slot machines.
In , the very first video slot machine was introduced to mixed reviews. The game was housed in a full-sized slot machine cabinet and went through a trial period at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
The new video slot, designed and developed by the Fortune Coin Company got its approval from the Nevada State Gaming Commission.
Slot machines were invented in the s by Charles Fey , a mechanic from San Francisco. The first slot machines needed an attendant to make the payout.
In Fey created a slot machine that paid out coins, which became incredibly popular. A coin hopper is a container where the coins that are immediately available for payouts are held.
When a certain preset coin capacity is reached, a coin diverter automatically redirects, or "drops", excess coins into a "drop bucket" or "drop box".
Unused coin hoppers can still be found even on games that exclusively employ Ticket-In, Ticket-Out technology, as a vestige. The credit meter is a display of the amount of money or number of credits on the machine.
On mechanical slot machines, this is usually a seven-segment display , but video slot machines typically use stylized text that suits the game's theme and user interface.
The drop bucket or drop box is a container located in a slot machine's base where excess coins are diverted from the hopper. Typically, a drop bucket is used for low-denomination slot machines and a drop box is used for high-denomination slot machines.
A drop box contains a hinged lid with one or more locks whereas a drop bucket does not contain a lid. The contents of drop buckets and drop boxes are collected and counted by the casino on a scheduled basis.
Free spins are a common form of bonus, where a series of spins are automatically played at no charge at the player's current wager.
Free spins are usually triggered via a scatter of at least three designated symbols with the number of spins dependent on the number of symbols that land.
Some games allow the free spins bonus to "retrigger", which adds additional spins on top of those already awarded. There is no theoretical limit to the number of free spins obtainable.
Some games may have other features that can also trigger over the course of free spins. A hand pay refers to a payout made by an attendant or at an exchange point "cage" , rather than by the slot machine itself.
A hand pay occurs when the amount of the payout exceeds the maximum amount that was preset by the slot machine's operator. Usually, the maximum amount is set at the level where the operator must begin to deduct taxes.
A hand pay could also be necessary as a result of a short pay. Hopper fill slip is a document used to record the replenishment of the coin in the coin hopper after it becomes depleted as a result of making payouts to players.
The slip indicates the amount of coin placed into the hoppers, as well as the signatures of the employees involved in the transaction, the slot machine number and the location and the date.
MEAL book M achine e ntry a uthorization l og is a log of the employee's entries into the machine. Low-level or slant-top slot machines include a stool so the player may sit down.
Stand-up or upright slot machines are played while standing. Optimal play is a payback percentage based on a gambler using the optimal strategy in a skill-based slot machine game.
Payline is a line that crosses through one symbol on each reel, along which a winning combination is evaluated. Classic spinning reel machines usually have up to nine paylines, while video slot machines may have as many as one hundred.
Paylines could be of various shapes horizontal, vertical, oblique, triangular, zigzag, etc. Persistent state refers to passive features on some slot machines, some of which able to trigger bonus payouts or other special features if certain conditions are met over time by players on that machine.
Roll-up is the process of dramatizing a win by playing sounds while the meters count up to the amount that has been won. Short pay refers to a partial payout made by a slot machine, which is less than the amount due to the player.
This occurs if the coin hopper has been depleted as a result of making earlier payouts to players. The remaining amount due to the player is either paid as a hand pay or an attendant will come and refill the machine.
A scatter is a pay combination based on occurrences of a designated symbol landing anywhere on the reels, rather than falling in sequence on the same payline.
A scatter pay usually requires a minimum of three symbols to land, and the machine may offer increased prizes or jackpots depending on the number that land.
Scatters are frequently used to trigger bonus games, such as free spins with the number of spins multiplying based on the number of scatter symbols that land.
The scatter symbol usually cannot be matched using wilds, and some games may require the scatter symbols to appear on consecutive reels in order to pay.
On some multiway games, scatter symbols still pay in unused areas. Taste is a reference to the small amount often paid out to keep a player seated and continuously betting.
Only rarely will machines fail to pay even the minimum out over the course of several pulls. Tilt is a term derived from electromechanical slot machines' " tilt switches ", which would make or break a circuit when they were tilted or otherwise tampered with that triggered an alarm.
While modern machines no longer have tilt switches, any kind of technical fault door switch in the wrong state, reel motor failure, out of paper, etc.
A theoretical hold worksheet is a document provided by the manufacturer for every slot machine that indicates the theoretical percentage the machine should hold based on the amount paid in.
The worksheet also indicates the reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout schedule, the number of reels and other information descriptive of the particular type of slot machine.
Volatility or variance refers to the measure of risk associated with playing a slot machine. A low-volatility slot machine has regular but smaller wins, while a high-variance slot machine has fewer but bigger wins.
Weight count is an American term referring to the total value of coins or tokens removed from a slot machine's drop bucket or drop box for counting by the casino's hard count team through the use of a weigh scale.
Wild symbols substitute for most other symbols in the game similarly to a joker card , usually excluding scatter and jackpot symbols or offering a lower prize on non-natural combinations that include wilds.
How jokers behave are dependent on the specific game and whether the player is in a bonus or free games mode.
Sometimes wild symbols may only appear on certain reels, or have a chance to "stack" across the entire reel. Each machine has a table that lists the number of credits the player will receive if the symbols listed on the pay table line up on the pay line of the machine.
Some symbols are wild and can represent many, or all, of the other symbols to complete a winning line. Especially on older machines, the pay table is listed on the face of the machine, usually above and below the area containing the wheels.
On video slot machines, they are usually contained within a help menu, along with information on other features. Historically, all slot machines used revolving mechanical reels to display and determine results.
Although the original slot machine used five reels, simpler, and therefore more reliable, three reel machines quickly became the standard. This limited the manufacturer's ability to offer large jackpots since even the rarest event had a likelihood of 0.
Although the number of symbols eventually increased to about 22, allowing 10, combinations,  this still limited jackpot sizes as well as the number of possible outcomes.
In the s, however, slot machine manufacturers incorporated electronics into their products and programmed them to weight particular symbols.
Thus the odds of losing symbols appearing on the payline became disproportionate to their actual frequency on the physical reel. A symbol would only appear once on the reel displayed to the player, but could, in fact, occupy several stops on the multiple reel.
In Inge Telnaes received a patent for a device titled, "Electronic Gaming Device Utilizing a Random Number Generator for Selecting the Reel Stop Positions" US Patent ,  which states: "It is important to make a machine that is perceived to present greater chances of payoff than it actually has within the legal limitations that games of chance must operate.
With microprocessors now ubiquitous, the computers inside modern slot machines allow manufacturers to assign a different probability to every symbol on every reel.
Then, a series of gears would clamp down on each reel to make them stop, similar to the brakes on your car. Those slot machines relied entirely on simple machines to operate.
Some companies started experimenting with electrical slot machines in the s, but they still used the levers to operate the machine.
Bally changed all that when they introduced the first entirely electromechanical slot machine. It was called Money Honey. There was still a lever involved, but it was mostly for show.
Customers were used to using the levers to activate slot machines, and many of them believed that they could affect the outcome of the game by pulling the lever in the right way.
So, Money Honey kept the lever, but it did not actually control the game. The reels used electricity to spin. Another feature that made Money Honey stand out was the fact that it had a bottomless hopper.
The hopper allowed it to make payments of up to coins. The combination of its electromechanical design and the bottomless hopper gave the Money Honey slot machines something that no other slot machine could offer up until that point.
Money Honey slots had a 3-coin and 5-coin multiplier that paid customers larger prizes when they played with 3 or 5 coins. These multipliers were the predecessor of modern-day pay lines.
You can increase your chances of winning by playing all of the pay lines on a particular slot machine.
The payout is proportional to the number of coins you insert or the number of pay lines you play with. Bally changed the slot machine significantly when they invented the Money Honey game.
Not only was it the first electromechanical machine, but it also offered higher payouts and coin multipliers. These features made it far more similar to the slot machines that we use today than its predecessors.
But, the revolution of the slot machine was just the beginning. Fortunately, the next innovation in the slot machine industry came quickly.
Less than 13 years after the first electromechanical machine, slot machines got a facelift again with the invention of video slot machines. Fortune Coin Company took one of the most famous inventions of the s, the color television, and incorporated it into their slot machines.
They used a inch Sony TV to display the spinning symbols, instead of the physical reels that had been used since It was a four-reel slot machine with three pay lines called Fortune Coin.
These logic boards were the first version of the random number generators that slot machines and casino games use today.
At first, customers were skeptical of the video slots. Despite their lack of initial success, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the use of video slots in casinos.
International Game Technology , better known as IGT, bought out the Fortune Coin Company in IGT was able to modify the video slot machines to attract more customers and to benefit the casinos.
They added visual effects to make it look like the reels were spinning. They also made the slot machines smaller, with individual chairs so that the casinos could fit more of them on their gaming floor.
Fortunate Coin Company gets the credit for creating the first video slots. But it was their merger with IGT that made these slot machines profitable.
Atlantic City legalized casinos around the same time, so IGT had a whole new market of casinos to work with. Video slots transformed the casino industry, and casinos everywhere began offering thousands of these machines.
Manufacturers updated the graphics and the internal mechanisms, but no one considered moving away from pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Gamblers carried quart-size buckets of coins around with them. When they won, the machine would spill out a certain number of coins, filling the casino with the clinking sound of coins falling into the metal hopper.
However, slot machines never held enough coins to payout enough for some of the more significant jackpots.
So, if you won more than the threshold amount, which was usually coins, you had to wait for a casino manager to come to your machine.
The casino manager would come to check your machine, verify your win, and fill out paperwork. Once all of the paperwork was complete, they would carry more coins to you, accompanied by a security guard.
In many cases, the process of collecting your winnings could take an hour or more, depending on how busy the casino was. It almost always took at least half an hour.
Waiting that long for your prize money was anticlimactic for many gamblers. You may have just won a massive jackpot, but now you have to stand around waiting and filling out paperwork.
When playing online slots, the number of bets per line can be altered for larger payouts, however, this will come with the higher cost per spin of the reels.
We start our story in the s with a world completely free of slot machines, but coin-operated gambling devices were slowly starting to catch on in the US.
Machines were heavily novelty based rather than solely designed for gambling with a variety of functions and themes — including racing toy horses — that would provide seconds of entertainment for a small fee.
Machines were set on the bars of saloons or similar establishments that attracted wagering between patrons.
The proprietor would usually pay off customers with drinks, cigars or occasionally, trade checks that could be used in exchange for refreshments at a later date.
However, by , machines that dispensed coins were becoming available in which inserted coins would fall onto an internal balance scale.
Coins that tip the scale led to the award of coins to the player, similar to coin-pushing machines that we still see today littered around arcades.
The hero in our story comes the American inventor, but Bavarian-born inventor of Charles August Fey — a mechanic at the time in San Francisco.
This was the turning point for our American protagonist and following the huge success of the machine in a local saloon, Fey left his job to pursue the creation of gambling machines full-time.
It was called the Liberty Bell as the highest payout was given for a display of three Liberty Bells. However, this payout was just half an American dollar — a miniscule amount compared to what can be won now!
Fey continued to develop his ideas, introducing a number of other machines, such as the and the Card Bell, and by was producing these machines in his own factory.
His original machine can still be found in a restaurant in Nevada! Despite being the first to produce a slot machine like we know it, Fey was not without competition.
There is some debate surrounding how this machine came to be produced; some say that Fey refused to sell his machines to anyone but that one was stolen, and just months later Herbert Stephen Mills had introduced his own.
Not even the laws passed by the American government in to ban slot machines that dispensed money prevented their increasing popularity.
Instead, slot machines returned to acting as trade stimulators which provided prizes for certain combinations, rather than cash.
The theory is that this led to the popular fruit and bar designs of slot machines today. The first machine to display these fruit symbols was the Operator Bell created by Mills Novelty Company.