Slot Machine History

machines were invented in the late 1800’s by a man named Charles Fey.
He created the first machine in the basement of his home. The machines
didn’t become popular until years later when they were installed in
Bugsy Siegel’s infamous Flamingo Hilton hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fey’s first machine was not any more bulky or any cruder than modern
day examples. Nor did its reels carry the fruit symbols common today.
The standard playing card imagery was what we are all used to –
hearts, diamonds, spades, bells, horseshoes and stars. The first slot
machine was actually called the Liberty Bell, and can still be seen
today in a collection at the Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant in
Reno, Nevada.


The San
Francisco Chronicle described Fey’s machine: "A machine featuring 3
reels mostly hidden with Horseshoes, Spades, Diamonds, Hearts, Bells
symbols on reels. The device is operated by depositing a nickel in a
slot to release the handle, when the right combination of symbols stop
in the window the player is awarded coins ranging from 2, on 2
Horseshoes to 20 for 3 bells. Most of those present agreed the machine
should be a great success.”


A great success
it has been, without room for disagreement. The movement of money is
an interesting thing in and of itself. Just how much money was fed
into the machines in Nevada and the Caribbean to get to the $300
million yearly gross revenue? If we do a little basic math… working on
the average that 10 cents of each dollar deposited is retained by the
player, then $3 billion worth of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters,
etc. move through the machines. The details of the slot machines in
discussion here are necessary knowledge for anyone who wants to make
this an important part of their day.

Essentially, a cabinet housing contains three or more narrow
cylindrical drums, commonly called reels, which are marked with
symbols. Vertically disposed on a common axis, the reels are caused to
revolve freely when a player activates the machine and pulls a
lever-like handle affixed in the side of the cabinet. Payoffs are
handled instantly, based on the horizontal alignment of symbols after
the reels come to rest.

Nickel and quarter machines are by far the most popular, and account
for about 85% of reel action in any given year. This popularity is
followed by the dime boxes, then half dollar and silver dollar
machines. You can now find machines that accept $5 bills, and some
rather large progressive jackpot machines that take $100 bills!
The modern, deluxe, single coin one armed bandits with a nice shiny
chrome finish can run you as much as $1,700 to own for yourself. But
even if you’re thinking of dropping that coin, check and make sure
it’s legal to own a slot machine in the state or country you live in.

You may be familiar with the name ‘Big Bertha’ when it comes to the
reels. This machine was designed to accept half dollars and dollars,
and to pay back about 80% of what it takes in. The box is made for the
most part to be a propaganda machine, catching customers’ imaginations
and desires in one big metal mental image. Well it worked, which is
proofed by the appearance of the Super Big Bertha. This six by ten
foot super slot machine is said to have cost more than one hundred and
fifty thousand dollars to produce. A Five horsepower electric motor is
needed to power the twenty-inch wide chain driven wheels. With eight
reels containing 20 symbols each, there are 25.6 billion different
possible combinations. That’s right BILLION. Only one of which
actually pays the 1 million dollar promised prize. A little more basic
math shows that with these odds, one individual would have to put
about 205 billion one dollar spins to work to mathematically hit the
million dollar prize. Not the best return on investment ever
conceived, except from the casinos point of view. A long-standing
record of $65,093 was won in one slots pull on a one-dollar
progressive at Harold’s Club in Reno in 1973. Quite recently (in 2001)
a woman won over $1,000,000 in an Ontario, Canada casino. It’s worth
noting the machine was a progressive that was $100 a pull. In addition
to being the biggest revenue producer, our friendly one arm pals have
also been the single biggest cause of police raids, legal indictments,
and courts decisions over all other forms of gambling combined. Part
of the problem is the manner of play. No other style of gambling
creates such a hypnotic fascination. The term zombie has been married
to the reels in American popular culture for years now.
It’s seen time and time again that it is very difficult to resist the
temptation to drop a coin when given the opportunity. Even those who
have a moral problem with the concept of gambling have been shown to
be affected by this phenomenon. The antecedents of this common
behavior are rather indefinable, but it can most likely be largely
attributed to two things, one just stated, the temptation to drop a
coin with hopes of a massively large payoff for an insignificant bet,
and the other is probably the mechanical attraction produced by the
machines. The action of placing a bet lets you see the light show, and
watch the reels spin. There is a larger level of excitement in reel
players when they hit a jackpot in royal vegas online casino. The complications behind this phenomenon are too complex
to discuss here, but rely largely on the mental expectations and
experience of players in each style of high stakes gaming.