History of online slots: Milestones that affected the industry

Slot games have some quite a way since they were initially produced at the end of the nineteenth century. Although the free slots gameplay may still feel very similar, there have been a lot of changes between now and then, and there have been several important and interesting milestones in the process.


In 1895, Charles Fey completed his first slot machine, the Liberty Bell. This was a traditional ‘one armed bandit’ kind of game, and although there had been other games like it in the past, none of them paid out real money. This one did, and this is why it is the one credited with being the first of its kind. It’s certainly the reason why the game became popular and one more and more were produced over the years. 

Fey’s machine changed the five drums that were found in the past for three reels, and exchanged playing cards for symbols. There were only symbols symbols (the Liberty Bell, diamonds, hearts, spades, and horseshoes) to allow it to be easier to play – the less complicated the game the more folks were going to participate. 


In 1902 came the banning of most gambling games in America. The Liberty Bell managed to survive, however, because instead of paying out money if someone won, it would pay out gum. You can still see the ‘bar’ symbols in some machines today, and this is what it relates to. The gum idea meant that Fey managed to circumvent the rules and his machines didn’t need to be removed entirely. 

Over time, increasingly more businesses sprung up to create these slot machines. Because it wasn’t feasible to patent a gambling game, others were able to take Fey’s ideas and use them as they wanted to. This is why there are so many types of games and why they all operate on the same simple premise. 


It took nearly sixty years for another event in slot machines to occur. This took place in 1964 when a gaming development business known as Bally (which you might well have heard of) developed a brand new game called Money Honey. 

Money Honey was different to what had gone before because instead of being a physical slot, it was an electromechanical slot. The lever was still used, but instead of a spring, the reels were operated electrically. The lever was not truly needed – a button will have sufficed – but it was kept so that players weren’t put off entirely because the game was just too different. 


In 1996 it was time for several additional changes, and another milestone in the story of slot machines was created. The game which brought about probably the newest modifications was known as Reel ‘Em and was produced by WMS Industries. Why was this different? It was the original video slot which incorporated a bonus game. Although it’s normal to look for extra features on slots nowadays, in 1996 this was a significant step forward and made enjoying slots more active and exciting. 

While doing so, the very first online casino was developed. Gaming developers now were not simply making actual physical slots; they had been using the skills of theirs to make on the web versions too.

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