Known as a ‘fruit machines’ and ‘one-armed-bandit’ in the UK and/or ‘pokies’ in Australia, slots are one of the most popular games found in both online and brick & mortar casinos.
In fact, as they can be found in pubs, bars, restaurants, betting shops, not to mention the floors of Las Vegas casinos, they are probably the most popular gambling medium in the world.
Slot machine history dates back to the 1880’s but it is generally accepted Bavarian-born American inventor Charles Fey, based in San Francisco, built the first coin-operated gambling machine in 1894.
Because of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake only four of the 100+ ‘Liberty Bell’ machines built by Fey survive today. And, as a further blow, a 1909 city law banned their use. There were 3,300 Fey built machines in operation around the city at the time.
But, despite laws, organised crime and a Great Depression, slot machines thrived during the next 50 years. In fact, it was not until 1963 that the basic machine changed and, like Bob Dylan who joined the ‘dark side’ two years later, they went electric.
The trend setters were ‘Bally’ who unveiled the first electronic slot machine which was known as ‘Money Honey’ and it had a 500 coin jackpot. An immediate hit, electronic slots soon replaced their mechanical counterpart and within 20 years the classic ‘one-armed’ lever on the side of slot machines had vanished forever.
Another landmark year was 1986 when electronic systems which could link slot machines together were introduced. Resultantly a fraction of each inserted coin or cash play could be channelled into a progressive jackpot pool.
And this leads us into the modern day when online slots like Mega Moolah are strung together amongst numerous online casinos to create progressive jackpots worth millions.
The ‘Mega’ family of progressive slots are made by software developers, Microgaming, and their success is fitting as it was Microgaming which created the first online slots back in 1994.