Pure Platinum Slots and the Evolution of Slot Machines Through the Ages
One-armed bandits, pokies, slots, gambling machines – no matter what you call them, slot machines are an important part of casino history and probably the most popular games at land-based and online casinos. We are not kidding: Pure Platinum slots and similar games make up more than 70% of a casino’s revenue. We’ve been playing them for longer than you might imagine. Slot games existed before online casinos and were just as popular as they are now. So how did it all start? How did reel slots appear, and what changes have they seen over the course of history? Below, you can find answers to all these questions.
Liberty Bell: The First Slot Machine in the World
In 1891, there was a company called “Sittman and Pitt Brothers” in New York. In those years, chewing gum machines were very popular all over the country, and you could see them almost everywhere. These machines were filled with gum: you were throwing a coin, pulling the lever on their side, and earning a random gum.
Sittman & Pitt decided to use this design for their poker machine. The machine they built had a very simple way of working: you were throwing the coin, pulling the lever, and trying to create a valid poker hand. There were 52 cards inside the machine, and when the lever was drawn, it randomly selected and displayed five cards. You were winning coupons as rewards, and you could use them for many different things: a special discount, a free dinner, free beer, etc. The players liked the machine, but commercially it was a terrible idea: Players who counted cards could always win a prize.
Sittman & Pitt could not solve this problem and stopped manufacturing the machine. In 1895, a man named Charles Fey developed a different machine using the same design: it used symbols instead of playing cards. Therefore, even people who did not know poker could play. In addition, it was possible to prevent tactics, such as card counting, thanks to a system that allows random selection of symbols. Fey put three reels to the machine and chose simple symbols such as candy, cherries, sevens, and double diamond to be easily remembered. Moreover, this machine was giving a cash prize. If three bell symbols appeared, you would earn 10 cents. He named his machine Liberty Bell: This was the first slot machine in the world.
The Invention of Video Slots
Fey was the creator and game maker of a machine that would go into casino history, but he had no idea about patents. Truth be told, not many people cared about patent rights back then. Copies of Fey’s machine quickly spread throughout the United States. Until the 1950s, the way these machines worked remained almost unchanged. Slot machines didn’t run on electricity in those years. So you were really spinning the reels when you pull the lever.
In the early 60s, a company called Bally developed an electromechanical reel system. The basic working principle of the games was still the same (and they still had gears and cogs inside), but it was now possible to turn the reels at the push of a button. In the same years, Las Vegas casinos met slot machines. Some states, such as San Francisco, banned these machines because of their gambling characteristics, but Nevada had much more liberal laws. Slot games quickly became the most popular game in casinos here and became an industry in its own right.
In 1976, a company called Fortune Coin forever changed the way these machines work. They developed an entirely electronic system that did not use cogs and gears. This system has made the production of slot machines much easier. In 1978, a company called IGT bought Fortune Coin and started working on making its designs even more perfect. (Today, IGT is considered to be one of the world’s largest slots suppliers.) This new software-based system has also enabled slot games to gain additional features such as bonus rounds.
Online Slots Revolution
In the 90s, Java-based casino games played on mobile phones were very popular, and a company called Microgaming thought they could also be played over the internet. At the time, the internet seemed to be an exotic technology, and 56k modems were still in use. No one thought yet that people would use websites to shop or play games. With an incredible vision, Microgaming realized that this would happen in a short time, and by establishing the world’s first online casino site, it again developed the world’s first online slot. It has been a long journey from the Operator Bell to digital games, but it was worth it. Today, the slot games industry is thought to have a size of $35 billion. Thanks to digital technology, online slots such as Pure Platinum offer several exciting features nowadays, such as:
- Progressive and fixed jackpots;
- Lots of reels & thousands of paylines (Thanks to virtual reels);
- Bonus games and free spins;
- An amazing variety of themes;
- Incredible graphics and animations.
And this is just the start. In the near future, we will witness the use of exciting technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. VR (virtual reality) slot games are no longer just a prototype, and their playable examples were released in 2020. With the price of VR glasses dropping, these games will become more and more common, offering an unrivaled immersive experience. Thanks to AR (augmented reality) technology, we will be able to see reels wherever we point our camera and turn the world into a playground.
Blockchain technology will forever change the way we play slots in a few years. Slot machines will no longer need a server and, we will be able to withdraw as soon as we make a win. In short, the evolution of slots started about 130 years ago but still continues without skipping a beat. The future is bright and promises many exciting developments. Try free games online slots today and see for yourself.