Slot machines are a crucial part of any casino but you might not realize how long and fascinating their history is. By taking a look back over the years, we can see how they’ve changed and in what ways they’ve remained the same.

Slots Have Been Around for Over 130 Years

We need to go way back to the 1880s to find the very first slot machine. Known as Liberty Bell, it was created by Charles Fey and is close enough in appearance to modern slots for it to be instantly recognizable. In fact, current games often use some of the same symbols as this game, with horseshoes, bells, and hearts commonly seen.

However, the technology has changed hugely since then, as slots now use complex algorithms to ensure a random outcome, rather than the lever system on Liberty Bell. Bonus rounds, jackpots, and other features are also present on many online slots, with casinos now offering a wide range of varied games with many diverse themes.

Slot Machines Used to Pay Chewing Gum for Wins

The idea of winning chewing gum as your reward from a slot might seem strange these days. However, that’s exactly what the prizes used to consist of on some games, at a time when they couldn’t offer cash prizes and used this type of thing to get around the rules.

Interestingly, this is reflected in the modern-day trend of having fruits as symbols. These fruits were originally used on slot machines to represent flavours of chewing gum but have remained a classic feature in many games.

The Biggest Win to Date

Wins of different sizes can be claimed on slots, with the majority being relatively modest amounts for getting a set of matching symbols. However, progressive jackpots that climb and climb until someone claims them offer the chance for much larger wins.

As for the biggest slot win in history, this occurred in Las Vegas in 2003 when a player bet $100 on the Megabucks slots and won a massive $39.7 million. Since the winner chose to remain anonymous, all we know is that he’s a software engineer from Los Angeles.

Pachinko Machines in Tokyo” (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel

Japan Has a Different Kinds of Slot Machine

Slots are popular all over the planet now, and the success of online slots means that many of us can play the same games in different parts of the world. However, in Japan, the most popular form of gambling involves a machine that looks like a slot but has some crucial differences.

Pachinko is a low-stakes game of chance-like slots but the player tries to collect small metal balls in order to claim a prize. If we class pachinko machines as a form of slots, then Japan has more of these games than any other country.

All of these fascinating facts help to show us why slots have been a big part of our lives and popular culture for so long, and how they’ve evolved to carry on being as popular as ever.

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Last Update: February 8, 2023