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History of Slot Machines

The Invention
Our favorite casino slot machines had its early beginnings in 1895 when it was first invented by Charles Fey. Slot machines came at about the same time as telephones, phonographs and automobiles. It has come quite a long way since then.

In 1907, Charles Fey teamed up with the Mills Novelty Company to produce better slot machines. They called their first developed slot machine as the Mills Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell slot machine was made of iron as its casing. The early slot machine was even designed with iron toes and feed to match the iron casing.

Developers later decided to take out the iron toes of the slot machine and replace it with a simpler design. They even took out the slot machine’s bell located at the top of the slot machine that rings whenever a jackpot is achieved. Modern day slot machines today only have bells on top that lights-up and rotates when a jackpot has been won. The early version of the slot machine had strips for its reels and used designs similar to cards such as jacks, queens and kings.

It is quite undisputed that the Liberty Bell is the ancestor of all modern day slot machines. Some mechanical features of the early slot machine are even used up to this day. Slot machines that once consisted only of three reels and 20 symbols have now evolved into a microprocessor controlled 5-reeled slot machine with over hundreds of symbols. Proof that slot machine has indeed come quite a long way.

In 1910, the Mills Novelty Company presented a new variety of slot machines that was even more developed that the last. This new offering was called the Operator Bell slot machine. The Operator Bell slot machine consisted of a feed system for coins shaped like the neck of the goose. This slot machine also came with iron casts that weigh nearly 100 lbs. At about this time symbols of fruits has also been used in slot machines.

In 1915, the Mills Novelty Company introduced a lighter and less expensive version of the slot machine that was made with wooden cabinet. In 1930, further changes were made to the slot machine such as making the slot machine quieter that merited the 1930 model of the slot machine as the “silent bell” slot machine.

Further developments were introduced to the slot machine. These were the inclusion of different themes for the designs of slot machines. It even included Random Number Generators or RNGs that are embedded in the microprocessor of the slot machine. These RNGs guarantee the randomness of the symbols in the slot machine.

Indeed slot machines have come a long way but we can be sure slot machines are here to stay.

Slots Playing Tips

The objective of playing slots is to bet coins or credit and spin the machine’s “reels” so that symbols line up on the machine’s “paylines“, as described in the machine’s “payout” schedule. Players can choose how many coins or how much credit to bet per payline and how many paylines to bet on.
The payout schedule displays the machines winning combinations and the values for each combination. These values vary according to the credit bet with each spin.

Some machines give players the opportunity to win even more credit, by allowing them to bet their winnings and original bet using a secondary betting system.

There are two types of slot machines: “straight” and “progressive“. Both types seem generally the same. One major difference is that straight slots pay a pre-determined value, as described in their payout schedule. Progressive slots are usually linked to other slot machines. The other slots may reside in the same building, state, or even globally, as seems to be the case with some Internet based slots. These “progressive” machines share a “jackpot” that increases each time a player deposits bets at one of the linked machines. As a result, the jackpot can grow to astronomical proportions.


Slot machines are generally programmed to pay a percentage of their winnings. This percentage tends to be between 85% and 98%, depending on the machine, it’s location and usage. The higher the percentage, the more the machine tends to payout.


Play machines that advertise a higher payout percentage (between 95% & 99%). These machines may be dollar or higher denomination machines.

Ensure you understand the payout schedule prior to deciding how much to bet per payline and how many paylines to bet on. It would be unfortunate to produce a winning then realize it could have been significantly higher had the bet been slightly higher.

Some progressive slots will only award a jackpot win to a player betting the maximum amount. Not betting the maximum amount means you could produce the required combination for a jackpot win but miss out because you did not bet the required amount. Make sure you understand the payout schedule and if necessary, ask a machine attendant to clarify it for you.

The amount of credit bet is not related to the likelihood of spinning a winning combination.

Generally, it seems more beneficial to bet the maximum amount of credit per payline. The problem, however, is that this has the potential to quickly exhaust your wallet. With this in mind, find a machine that best suits your budget. A quarter machine may suit your budget more so than a dollar machine, for example.

Recognize when a jackpot (large value) has been won. Some machines will ask you to call an attendant who will organize payment to you. Never handle or walk away from a machine that has just produced a jackpot winning. Call the attendant or have someone call him/her for you while you wait at the machine.

If you play slots regularly, take a note of which machines tend to be paying out significantly. If a machine seems to be paying out significantly, and often, it may be worthwhile giving this machine a try sometime. You may find that casinos place their most liberal machines in places where they are likely to attract attention.

Consider trying the machine next to you if your machine isn’t paying off.

Find out if the venue you intend to play at offers other incentives, such as points, meals, accommodation, etc., that goes with your game play. This however doesn’t mean that you should play purely for these secondary benefits.

Try to recognize when your luck may have changed. There are many examples of people winning significantly then “getting greedy”, so to speak, and losing everything.

Make sure you empty the machine of your credit prior to leaving it. Each year, people accidentally abandon machines that still have their credit inside.

Assign a budget for the day’s play. If the budget is lost, you will know when to leave the casino.

Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.

Remember to always have fun 🙂

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