The Star of the Casino: the Slot Machine
Far away from the seaside arcades of England and the gilded palaces of Vegas, the origins of the slot can actually be found in the cosmopolitan corners of New York City - in specific, Brooklyn, 1891. The story goes, allegedly, that Sittman and Pitt had just developed the gaming machine – a very early and sketchy version of a modern slot machine that we know today.
Based on the premise of poker, and as a way of making money on the new-found popularity of the game, the machine contained five drums carrying a total of fifty cards.
Across New York, bars started filling up with these early slot machines – players fast becoming seduced by the thrill of the idea of playing with a nickel and potentially winning a prize. Of course, in those days, mechanisms were not quite as advanced and machines lacked the ability to pay out. Instead the currency became whatever the bar might have to offer: beer, for example, or perhaps an expensive cigar. There was a certain kind of dodgy spin to these models and establishments would often tamper with the machines, removing cards to prevent too many beers on the house!
It wasn’t until a German immigrant named Charles Fey applied his fine tuning that the slot machine started taking its modern form. A Bavarian machinist, Fey came to the U.S. in 1885 and eventually created an electrical supply business in San Francisco that eventually allowed machines to distribute actual coins. By the mid-1890s, he had created the first successful three-reel lever machine to pay out in coins.
Since then things seem to have got far more straightforward and sparkly. Alongside gambling itself the slot machine has inherited a host of new jazzy, flashy and glamorous features that have made the slot machine a feast of fun for the senses; hypnotic and colourful, dazzling and seductive, the wins are bigger and the lights are brighter.
The slot machine has come a long way since the alluring, heady lights of Las Vegas and while the Nevada city remains its romanticised headquarters, there are far easier slot outlets for fans and players to dabble with. The online casino sphere has grown and grown in popularity over the years, offering players the convenience to play Vegas-type casino games in the comfort of their own homes, at any time of the day and with a more controlled handle on their spend. The slot machine, as a concept, has been easily translated into the online word and has evolved and progressed alongside the technology that supports it. As our internet experience progresses, so does our online casino experience, as we enjoy better graphics and faster speeds.
What was once the humble slot, its advanced online counterpart can now be accessed from across the globe and attracts the attention of both amateurs and seasoned professionals – each making their mark in the grand history of the slot.
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