From The Mechanical To The Video Slot

Many people often forget to look at the history of various gambling games, however they are almost always incredibly interesting, and also fascinatingly wrapped up in the technology of the era too. We could go all the way back to the age of antiquity, for instance, where the very first playing card tablets were being devised in order to play rudimentary versions of NetEnt slots games like blackjack.

Further down the line the gradual evolution of roulette in the 1700s is testimony to Blaise Pascal’s legendary work on trying to create a perpetual motion machine. Without it Europe would probably have never even experienced the extreme casino boom of the mid 1800s. But by far the most interesting gambling game to look at in terms of history and technological progress are the slots, which have gone from 0 to 100 in just over a century. Read ahead for a timeline from the mechanical to the video slot.  

Sowing the seeds of slot machines

In the mid to late 1800s mechanical engineering was experiencing a profound boom across the US, and this resulted in some very early slot machines being created around this time. Of course these machines were outrageously simple, and they didn’t even pay out any actual prizes, with the gamblers having to go to the tavern bar to claim a free drink or cigar instead.

Slot machines weren’t exactly legal either, so they could only really be found in the corners of dodgy taverns – not exactly something that was going to help them reach the fame they have today, eh?  

Charles D. Fey and the Liberty Bell

In the late 1800s a mechanical engineer who went by the name of Charles D. Fey decided to make some crucial alterations to the slot machines that came before him, and eventually he ended up with his invention, the Liberty Bell. This was the first slot machine that could actually pay out real coinage from the machine itself, instead of having to go to the bar to claim your prize.  

Very quickly the Liberty Bell machine grew in popularity, and Mr Fey had to get busy creating as many of these machines as possible. By the beginning of the 1900s most bars in California had a Liberty Bell or cheap impersonation in their bars even though they were still illegal, and this set off the slot gambling craze.  

The slot gambling boom across America and the world

After gambling was legalised in US states in Nevada casinos were able to fully capitalise on slot machines’ raging popularity, and this created a slot gambling boom that spread from Las Vegas to the rest of the world.

In many ways slot machines revolutionised casinos, making them appeal much more to many different demographics.  

Invention of RNGs and video slots

In the 1980s the RNG was invented, a Random Number Generator that allowed developers to start planning for the age of video slots. Before this video slots could not be created because people couldn’t work out how to make the reels still spin randomly, but the RNG proved to be the solution.