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A Journey Through the History of Slots

Slots are bigger than ever before it seems, thanks to the arrival of the internet and online slots. Originally, the term “slot machine” was used for automatic vending machines, but in the 20th century, it came to be used for gambling devices. In the very early days of slots, payouts to winning customers where the slots were would come in the form of cigars or drinks. That’s much different from the large potential jackpot players can win today.

Slots have endured a somewhat rocky existence in the past, with various elements such as clergy opposing them. However, after the Second World War, governments around the world began to warm to them as they realised the tax revenue slots could bring in. Towards the end of the 20th century, gambling laws regarding slots would be relaxed and the number of machines would increase. This post looks at what slot gaming is, the history and evolution of offline slots and online ones further, and their popularity.

What is slot gaming?

Slot gaming is a type of gaming in which the games have spinning reels with symbols on them. These games are called slots. The symbols land randomly after you place a bet and spin the reels. If the symbols line up, you win a prize, depending on the symbols that line up on what is called the “pay line” of the slot.

As well as their standard symbols, a lot of modern slots have other symbols that create chances for the player to win more money. “Wild” symbols replace other symbols on the reels when appearing on a winning line. “Scatter” symbols also offer a certain amount of money and often don’t have to pay be part of a pay line to trigger the win. Not only this, but they also activate special features, such as free spins.

The popularity of offline and online slots

Playing slots couldn’t be easier, whether the play is doing so online or offline. A player just has to put their money in and then spin the reels. Hopefully, the symbols will land on the pay line.

Offline slots are popular for several simple reasons. Firstly, because they’re easy to play they don’t require as much strategy as games such as poker. Secondly, the music makes them engaging to play, as do the themes of the slots. Finally, playing offline slots is a way to get outside and socialise, as it’s possible to play them in venues such as arcades, casinos, and drinking establishments.

Online slots enjoy even more popularity. This is mainly due to the amount of best slot games that are on offer on the internet. Slot games offer players convenience and are highly engaging because of their music, sound effects, and themes. There’s also lots of variety because the online gaming industry is highly competitive, and operators are constantly updating their offerings with the best slots. The slots are cheap to play and also put some big prizes, such as progressive jackpots, up for grabs

The development of online and offline slots

Slots that award automatic payouts have their beginnings in the late 19th century when a man named Charles August Fey invented the Liberty Bell, considered the first slot that did this. One of the keys to the success of his slot was his simplification of the reading of a win from the machine.

As slots entered a fruit machine phase, payouts switched from being made in money to being made in chewing gum. A second type of slot machine materialised that incorporated the BAR symbol seen on slot machines.

In the 1960s, slots appeared that allowed the players to operate the reels electrically, but they still had to pull the lever. Then in the 1970s, the first video slot appeared. It did so in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Further innovation would follow in the 1990s when the first video slot that featured a second screen bonus round appeared on the scene.

Then came the internet and online casinos, which first started with only classic casino games but soon expanded with slots. At first, the online slots were basic and resembled the offline ones, but then computer programming and technology eliminated some of the limitations. As a result, online slots began to appear with interesting new themes, layouts, and structures. It’s common to see slots with five reels today.

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The popularity of online slots today

Just how popular are online slots? The data speaks for itself. According to statistics on the website of consumer and market data company Statista, the market size of the worldwide casino and online gambling sector, of which slots are a part, was an estimated $207 billion. The forecast for 2022 is for the size to increase to $261.8 billion. Players are putting a lot of money into gaming.  No one knew just how far slot gaming would come and just how popular it would get. Slots today are so much more advanced than they were in their early days, as you might expect. You might want to try a slot and see why people enjoy them so much.