Slot machines are easily one of the world’s most recognizable and iconic forms of gambling. Because of this, it is estimated that almost 1.8 million slot machines are active in casinos around the globe.
Like anything else, however, slots were not always this popular. From a humble beginning, they have grown in complexity, ingenuity, and entertainment value over the years. This has been especially true since the advent of online slots – the best of which you can find on visit slotsource.com.
To trace back the origins of these great gambling machines, we’ve outlined the history of the slot. So, read on to see how your favorite gambling medium grew to be what it is today.
The Idea of Slots
While technically it is a slot machine, the first ever slot is not considered actually to be one by most people. This is because the machine, invented in 1891 by Sittman and Pitt in New York, didn’t pay out any cash. Instead, all prizes were paid out in free drinks or cigars. This makes sense because these machines were mainly found in pubs and bars.
The machine was relatively simple and gave the main idea from which modern slot machines evolved. The slot had five drums used to play. These drums rotated on a central pin until a lever was used to activate a stopping mechanism, which stopped the drums one at a time. This lever is what is credited for the nickname one-armed bandit.
Each drum held ten cards from a standard playing deck totaling 50 cards. The only cards missing from this deck were the ten of spades and the jack of hearts. The reason for excluding these cards was to increase the house edge and give players a lower chance of winning.
The First Slot
Building on the idea of Sittman and Pitt, Charles Fey began working on his version of a slot machine. Because it offered automatic payouts and, in later versions, even featured coin checkers to detect fake coins, Charles is credited with being the father of slot machines and first released his invention in 1895.
After using bells as a symbol in the game, his machine (called the Liberty Bell) only featured three reels rather than the five of Sittman and Pitt. It also didn’t feature any cards. Instead, it used hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes, and the iconic liberty bell.
The reduced reels and symbols made it easier for the machine to detect a win and pay out accordingly. However, while the machine was hugely popular, Fey forgot to patent his design. Because of this, other producers quickly began cloning the machine and flooding the market.
Due to the influx of machines and the popularity of gambling, the government decided to take action. So, in 1902, gambling was officially outlawed. However, slot manufacturers found a unique way around the ban rather than curbing the problem.
Machines were designed to offer payouts of prizes like candy or other treats rather than money. These offered people the same thrill of gambling but ensured they only received something they could snack on rather than cash. During this era, a manufacturer called Herbert Mills produced the first ever machine using fruit symbols, which are still widely used today.
The Electrical Slot Revolution
By 1964, many companies were trying to develop the next big slot machine. This development was accelerated because gambling was seen as more acceptable, and the laws regarding the activity were beginning to soften. No company made as much progress, however, as Bally.
Bally is credited with inventing the first ever electromechanical slot machine. This machine, titled Money Honey, featured fully electric reels that could pay out up to 500 coins — a feat no other slot could boast. Even though the machine was electric, the trusted lever was still present, as it was thought that removing it would throw off people from what they had been used to doing.
The release of Money Honey sparked a new era in slots, and soon many other companies began producing fully electric slot machines. During the evolution of the machines, the popular lever used was abandoned in favor of a simple button.
Slots continued in much the same vein until 1976, when something new blew the industry wide open.
In 1976, after many years of much of the same, a company called Fortune Coin (which would later be bought by IGT) produced the world’s first video slot machine. The game used a TV screen display and a random number generator that strongly resembles today’s slot machines.
After initial testing in Vegas, the machine grew massively in popularity, and video slots became the norm worldwide. Then, in 1996, the industry was again shaken up by the introduction of the first slot that also had a bonus round.
Adding a bonus to games made slots the most popular form of gaming by far. As such, slots began taking over most space in physical casinos. At the same time, online slots started making an appearance in the library of online casinos.
Online Slots and Onward
While the first online casinos, which appeared in the late 90s, usually only offered games like roulette, slots soon began making their way into many different casino game libraries. Their popularity soon caught on like wildfire, and many developers started looking to develop the next great game in earnest.
Soon, online slots took on a life of their own and were no longer developed to emulate the games offered in physical casinos. Instead, because of the freedom to be creative, developers began producing many unique and wonderful games that accelerated the popularity of gambling online.
Since then, online slots have become an almost unbelievably big industry. The online gambling market, worth $61.5 billion in 2021, is said to be comprised of as much as 70% slots. This means that of this massive amount, slot games alone generate almost $43.05 billion.
This growth means that slots have continued to grow and are still actively being developed. Today, work is underway to adapt slots to virtual and augmented reality to try and discover the next great leap in the evolution of this gambling icon.
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IGT Recognized as a Top Employer in the US and Canada by Top Employers Institute
International Game Technology PLC announced that it was recently recognized as a Top Employer in the US and Canada by the Top Employers Institute, a global authority in recognizing excellence in people practices.
This announcement follows the news that IGT Italy earned the Top Employer distinction earlier this year. The Top Employers Institute also independently certified that IGT is an employer of choice, joining more than 2100 organizations in more than 120 countries.
“Earning the Top Employer distinction in the US, Canada and Italy is a significant achievement for IGT, as more than 70% of the Company’s workforce resides in those three countries. The Top Employers Institute provides meaningful benchmarking data that will help IGT drive continuous improvement and provide a working environment where professional growth, inclusion and communication are paramount,” said Dorothy Costa, IGT Senior Vice President, People & Transformation.
To earn this achievement, IGT went through a rigorous application process and provided detailed responses to more than 225 questions pertaining to the Company’s people strategy, which includes its commitment to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and ethical operations. The application process also encompassed IGT’s achievements in digitization, talent acquisition, professional and leadership development, well-being and performance management.
NorthStar Announces New Partnership Agreement with BettorView
NorthStar Gaming has announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with BettorView that will enable NorthStar to engage with consumers in restaurants and bars across Ontario. The partnership provides NorthStar with the opportunity to further expand player acquisition across both sports wagering and online casino in a frictionless and convenient manner.
“Partnering with BettorView will fuel growth and expansion of the NorthStar Bets player base, while also increasing brand awareness amongst priority audiences. The restaurant and bar space is a great sector to reach target consumers who have a high propensity to wager and are often watching live sports and games in a social environment,” said Michael Moskowitz, Chair and CEO of NorthStar Gaming.
As BettorView’s first Canadian iGaming partner, NorthStar will be able to build brand awareness, drive consumer engagement and strengthen its presence in both restaurant and bar environments.
“NorthStar is the ideal partner for us to initiate our entry into Canada with our technology. Our technology allows our gaming and venue partners to customize and localize content so that it fully resonates for sports fans, while also educating them on sports betting and responsible gambling in general. As a Canadian-owned gaming brand with deep Ontario roots, NorthStar shares our appreciation for authentically reaching Ontario sports fans, and we’re proud to partner with them,” Javier Vargas, CEO of BettorView, said.
BettorView reaches consumers through a propriety plug-and-play solution that serves sports betting content to hundreds of venues through its patented technology. BettorView optimizes and customizes the consumer experience to ensure guests receive the most relevant sports and sports wagering information, leading them to spend more time on the platform. Just as importantly, BettorView has continued to extend its commitment to feature safe and responsible gambling content on all of its screens.
iGaming Ontario to Request Proposals for a Centralized Self-Exclusion Solution in Early 2024
iGaming Ontario (iGO)’s vision is to lead the world’s best gaming market, which includes building a safer and more enjoyable experience for all igaming players in Ontario. To support players who decide to stop or take a break from gambling, iGO is going to issue a request for proposals (RFP) in early 2024 for a centralized self-exclusion solution that will enable a player to self-exclude from all Ontario regulated igaming operators in a single registration process.
Given the coordinated nature of the program across all regulated igaming operators, including Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)’s igaming site, the successful bidder will be expected to develop and implement a centralized self-exclusion system that integrates with all operator systems and supports players’ self-exclusion registration, renewal, and reinstatement.
The following are iGO’s principles for centralized self-exclusion:
PLAYER FOCUSED – to provide options to players to support their commitment to take a break, to ensure processes are easy to use with minimal barriers and challenges, and to offer a seamless connection to relevant support services.
SUPPORTIVE – to deliver and execute the program in a non-stigmatized, non-judgmental manner; to be supportive and encouraging so that players feel good about registering in self-exclusion.
TRANSPARENT – to ensure expectations and consequences for players and Operators are clear and information is comprehensive and well-promoted.
SECURE – to ensure player information is securely protected and shared only with relevant employees for the purposes of administering the program.
ROBUST – to implement strong processes and procedures bolstered by secure, responsive, and highly available technology to enable an effective program that supports a player’s goals.
VIABLE – to develop systems and procedures that are manageable and practical for Operators to implement.
With these principles in mind, iGO is seeking interest from responsive and nimble companies that are able to build modern, innovative, secure cloud-based SaaS solutions that are high-profile, public-facing and critically important to building and maintaining the trust and confidence of a wide range of stakeholders. The successful bidder will partner with iGO on a multi-year program to develop best-in-class user experiences by leveraging modern, innovative technology.
Some features for an effective centralized self-exclusion solution include:
- Allowing players to create and manage their self-exclusion profile and including Know Your Client (KYC) identity verification
- Providing players with easy access to self-exclusion at any time including while they are gambling on any regulated igaming website
- Having registration, renewal, and reinstatement processes that are intuitive, simple and offer supporting information.
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