Slot machines have been around for a long time and they have been through a lot of changes over the years. They have always been one of the most popular gambling games out there. That’s because the game is easy to learn and the jackpots can be quite big if you’re lucky and have a good strategy.
Slots have also always been on the cutting edge of gambling technology and that’s true today as well since the industry is looking for ways to implement the latest tech into its offer.
Mechanical Slot Machines
The history of slot machines starts with mechanical machines that you could find in bars and saloons. These were fed with coins and the player pulled the lever that activated the machine. It used the symbols from a standard deck of cards.
The goal was to line up the same symbols next to each other as is the case today. The payout wasn’t produced by the machine at first, since there was no technology allowing for it. Instead, you got your jackpot at the bar.
The Fruit Symbols
Soon after, slots became popular in saloons and authorities, in general, started forbidding gambling. That’s why the machines changed and started using fruit symbols rather than the ones you can find on cards. The rewards have also changed since you weren’t allowed to play for money anymore. The rewards were now candy awarded based on the symbols that you have lined up.
These symbols remained a big part of the slot game even after the casinos were allowed to pay out in cash. They are still the most common symbols that you can find on slot machines, alongside bells that often signify a jackpot.
Electronic machines replaced mechanical ones. They allowed for more options for both the players and the casinos and they were easier to maintain even though they required an expert to do it. The first model of an electronic slot machine came out in the 1960s.
In the 1970s the machines evolved even more and there were colored displays that replaced the reels that have been around for a hundred years. It took a while but within a decade the machines spread across the country and all the old mechanical slot machines were replaced with the electronic ones.
Online Slot Machines
The rise of the online slot machines came in the 90s when the internet first became a thing the industry and the players were aware of. At first, there were many restrictions as to how the internet could be used, posed by the government. One of the big ones was that it couldn’t be used for gambling purposes.
The industry soon found a way to use the internet to connect slot machines. There weren’t online apps that you can gamble with, but only a network of the machines that actually exist in the physical land-based casinos. This changed how jackpots work.
Network Slot Machines
Network slot machines are the ones that are connected within a network and therefore have a common pool of funds used to pay out the jackpots. The game doesn’t work any differently than it otherwise does from the standpoint of the player. However, the jackpots are much higher.
That’s because everyone that plays the game contributed to the common pool that you’ll get paid out of. These progressive jackpots are paying out more but they pay out less often as is always the case with the slot games. It’s the change in how the internet can be used in a casino that has led to this opportunity and changed the game forever.
Mobile Gambling and Apps
The next big innovation in the world of online slots came in the form of moving the whole game online and to mobile devices. The tech used to play in this manner has improved dramatically in recent years. Access to the internet is also widely available.
Many young players are used to gambling on their phones as the only way to do it since that’s how they first started gambling and the pandemic made going to on-the-ground casinos that much more difficult.
Payment methods have always been an important field of innovation for the gambling industry. It has always tried to present as many possible options to the players so they can choose the one that suits their needs and the regulations in their own country. Cryptocurrencies are just the latest addition to this.
The main benefit of adding this payment method is in how private and fast the transactions are. In some countries payments such as these are still not regulated by the tax authorities. For the casinos, however, it’s about being on the cutting edge of innovation.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The latest innovation in the world of slot machines and online gambling, in general, will probably come from augmented and virtual reality. The tech is almost there and big tech companies are already betting big money on it. Just a few years ago, however, it was a matter of science fiction.
This works well with the trends of closing on the ground casinos and moving the whole experience online. The trend was just accelerated by the pandemic and young players are eager to adopt VR and AR as the next big step in improving the online experience. It will take a few years but that’s the shape of things to come.