The very first game that could be considered a slot was developed in the early 1890s, and it was based on having five reels, which is generally a surprise to people. It was based on making five-card poker hands, and it cost a nickel to play.
In the late 1890s, a more basic three-reel game was developed that was called the Liberty Bell, and it used some of the basic symbols we recognize on slots today, including the popular bell symbol, which is where its name came from.
Later editions of these games included what became known as fruit machines. These games would have three reels with fruit symbols on them, and whenever a player lined up three of a kind, they would win chewing gum of the flavor of the fruit they had lined up for the payout. You’ll note that a lot of these early machines did not pay out money prizes, and this was a way for the businesses that housed them to get past anti-gambling laws.
Eventually, in 1963, the very first modern slot was made, and it was called Money Honey. It was notable for having automatic payouts that did not require an attendant, and it changed the future of the entire casino landscape by creating an entirely new genre of games. This led to the first game that could be considered a video slot in 1976, and it used a 19-inch display. The technology was purchased by IGT in 1978, a company that still produces a ton of land-based slots today. They even have their hand in online slots as well.
The Emergence of Online Slots
Video slots dominated the casino floor from then all the way up to the mid-1990s. The Internet had started to gain more popularity by then, and Microgaming developed the very first online casino software, which was largely slot-heavy. This was used to power the Gaming Club, the very first online casino, in 1996 or 1997, depending on who you ask.
A few other software companies got into the mix as well, and by the year 2000, there was some competition between a few of them. The software packages at this time were designed to be exclusive so that casinos could only have games from one provider.
By somewhere between 2005 and 2007, however, the paradigm started to shift. Casinos realized they could be more competitive if they had games from several different providers. In turn, software companies started moving away from downloadable software platforms to games that operated in a player’s web browser. This also allowed several different software companies to have games at the same casino within the same web-based client, and that led to the current state of the industry we have today.
Most online casinos today have hundreds of slots, and many of them will come from different software providers. This gives players a much better opportunity to find everything that they want in terms of game selection in one place. This is why casino selection is so important, and it’s why following along with our casino reviews and game reviews will help you so much in your online slot journey.