You’re viewing the international version of the website. Choose preferred region to see the regional version of the website.
Contact Us

From “one - arm bandits “to online games: history of slot invention

March 28, 2021
3 min

The first slot machines differed greatly from their modern counterparts. The only thing that still unites them is the idea they carry: gamblers have to line up a winning combination out of the random symbols they get. Easy rules and exciting gameplay turned slot machines into an extremely popular entertaining service offered by the majority of contemporary gambling houses.

Poker slot machines

The first machines based on coin insertion were introduced in 1880. Generally, they resembled a standard poker game, had 5 reels and 50 playing cards. Traditionally gamblers inserted coins into a slot machine, pulled the handle (arm), and watched the reels spin. In case of winning, thе payoffs looked quite odd: gamblers could ask a barman for a free cigar or a pint of beer.

One - arm bandits

The next stage of slot evolution is represented by one-arm bandits. Basically, it was an invention of Charles Fey, known as “father of the slot machine”. The history argues, that the first slot machine invented by Charles Fey was introduced in 1894. The second slot, invented in 1895, was called 4-11-44. Precisely these gambling machines were called one-arm bandits because they had a handle or an “arm” that was used in order to spin the reels.

Liberty Bell

Already in 1898, Fey introduced his first slot machine with an automatic payment system called “Liberty Bell”. In case of getting three symbols of Liberty Bell in a row, a gambler gained a jackpot accounting for 10 five-cent coins. The invention turned out to be so popular, that despite the official ban imposed on slot machines, Fey still had hundreds of orders for manufacturing.

Fruity slots

Another stage in slot evolution was marked by the introduction of “fruity” machines. Standard card symbols on the reels were substituted by fruit images such as cherries, oranges, watermelons, apples and bar symbols. Initially, the payoffs in such slot machines were compensated by fruity flavored bubble gums. Such payoffs were widely used not just for fun, but also as a way to avoid problems caused by various anti-gambling laws introduced in the majority of the states.

Electromechanic slots

The first electromechanical slot machine was invented in 1964 and carried the name of Money Honey. Due to its advanced mechanisms, the slot was able to payoff automatically and intake around 500 coins without technical support. In 1996 appeared the first video slot that contained a bonus game called Reel'Em on the second screen.

Сontemporary slots

Gamblers have a wide variety of slot machines to choose from, either classical versions or online ones. Slots might have different quantity of reels or pay lines, bonuses, and symbols. The majority of slots are thematic, but some of them still use the classical symbols. The most widespread slot machines include classical 3- reel, 5- reel video slots, progressive jackpot slots and bonus slots.

Online slots

The history of online slots dates back to 1994, when the state of Antigua and Barbuda signed a Free Trade Agreement for the commercial activities in the Caribbean region. This document enabled the companies from all around the world to open online casinos legally. The first online casino was opened in 1995. In order to provide gamblers with technical support, a famous Kahnawake Gaming Commission was created in Canada in 1996. Since then a lot of players turned to gambling online, but in the same year, the USA ratified the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that imposed a ban on gambling online. Nevertheless, the statistics arguably proves that an average casino gets 70% of its income from slot machines.

Slotegrator offers everything gambling operators need to launch and expand online casino and sportsbook projects. The company offers a wide range of products, including White Label online casino and sportsbook platform development, game content, betting data feeds and payment systems integration. Slotegrator also provides legal consultancy and administrative assistance for gambling license acquisition and regulatory compliance.


  • J
    June 27, 2023
    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.
    The Slotegrator team
    The Slotegrator team
    June 27, 2023
    Hi John, we are glad you find our materials useful!

Leave a comment

Get in touch with us by filling out the form below:

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

More from slotegrator

By clicking on the Fine button, you accept our website's cookies policy.

Find out more