Slots – Where Is The Beginning?

The hugely popular casino game of slots began over a century ago in Brooklyn, NY, with the development of a lever-operated machine that featured not pictures of rotating fruit, but 50 playing cards on five spinning drums, that left the lever-puller with a five-card hand of poker. Winning hands were rewarded with a pint of beer or a cigar, since this simple precursor to today’s slot machines did not feature automatic payout. The first slot machine to feature an array of symbols instead of playing cards was called the Liberty Bell, and was quickly outlawed in its own home state of California. Strict anti-gambling laws in many parts of America did nothing to slow the growth of the new machine’s popularity though, and machines in many states paid out in food or candy instead of cash, to avoid this anti-gambling legislature. The symbols of fruit that can still be seen on many slot machines today originally indicated the flavors of candy prizes to be won, and the iconic BAR symbol represents an early logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company, which had success in both slot machines and vending machines.

Playing Slots

Early slot machines continued to be lever-operated until the early 60s, and without a bottomless hopper, required the supervision of an attendant. The invention of the electromechanical Money Honey machine in 1963 made both the attendant and the lever obsolete, though many machines today still feature the classic lever-operated look. After some teething troubles and a little cheat-proofing, electronic games quickly became the norm, and true video slot machines were common by the late 70s. This developing computer technology allowed for many variations on the classic game of slots, and allow for the increasing popularity of multi-line slot machines, which have been increasingly common ever since the 90s.

Video displays and modern technology also give slot machines a customizability that replaces kitschy vintage cherries and horseshoes with anything from Bart Simpson to popular game shows like Wheel Of Fortune. Though computer technology makes slot machines a fully-automated and entertaining experience, classically styled electromechanical slot machines still enjoy plenty of popularity, and hybrid machines featuring the nostalgic action of the level-pull designs combined with the modern convenience of video slots are also a favorite recent option.