History of Slot Machines



Slot machines, puggy’s, pokies, the slots, or simply slot are gambling machines with a pretty simple concept. They are the backbone of every casino as they generate roughly 70 percent of every casino’s income. You’ve seen them on movies and know how they work- press a button or pull the lever, enter your coin, and see how lucky you are. But what is less familiar about these one-armed-bandits (another, older slang for slot machines) is how they came to be. If you want to know who invented them, as well as how they came to be so popular you’ll have to read the rest of this article.

First Concept to Appear.

Little is known about the full name of its inventor, as wherever the record shows invention of slot machines, certain Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York, are mentioned. Nevertheless, their invention soon became to be something that every bar in 1891 had to possess. The concept was rather different that the one we see today with modern slot machines. Their slot machine was comprised of a set of drums that held some cards, 50 to be exact. Patron of the establishment would insert a nickel and hope for a winning poker combination to appear. Being that poker was widely known by then and quite popular as well, everyone knew the rules. As a reward, a player would get a drink on the house or anything else that the establishment had to offer. So the biggest difference was that back then people would get merchandise instead of money as a reward. But what’s the fun in that? Society was a bit different back then and didn’t think solely about money. As technology advances, slot machines evolved into what we see today. Regarding the term one-armed-bandit, it was thought of due to the fact that players often lost a huge amount of money as if they were robbed, and also because models that were seen in the old days had a lever on the side that player would pull.


Same Winning chances?

Due to the popularity of slot machines back then, establishments that owned one were losing too much on drinks, cigarettes, and merchandise that they had on the offer as a prize. That’s why they had to change a couple of things in the early concept of slot machines. Because, to win, players would have to get any poker winning the hand. The most frequent one was a royal flush, so they decided to simply remove two cards from a deck: ten of spades and jack of hearts. After they’ve removed it, the chances of winning were considerably diminished. By 1895 Charles Fey of San Francisco thought of a way to improve a slot machine making it into what we have now in casinos. Instead of merchandise, people would get money as a reward, and instead of poker cards, there would be three rows with each line consisting of popular symbols for that time- a horseshoe, diamond, spade, heart, and a Liberty Bell symbol.

Dennis Jones