Unlike many card-based games common to casino gambling, slot machines have a well-documented history. While the origins of poker and gin are lost to time, slots trace their history to more recent technological advances. The first wave of slot machines arrived in bars and pubs at the turn of the nineteenth century; in the next generation of gaming online slot machines made it possible to forgo the casino entirely and play from home.
New York is the birthplace of the slot machine. In 1891, the Sittman and Pitt Company of New York developed a machine that had five reels, each of which contained images of playing cards. Players tried to build a poker hand with their spins. Although it was close to a true slot machine, it wasn't quite there yet. The machine cost a nickel a spin, but didn't pay off directly. Instead, winners had to ask casino workers for a pay-off directly. Nor were winnings as large as they are today; sometimes good luck only earned players a free beer.
It wasn't until four years later in 1895 when Charles Fey created his Liberty Bell machine that slots became the hottest form of gaming at casinos. The Liberty Bell weighed in at over 100 pounds. Like the device from Pitt and Sittman, the machine had reels that spun as a player pulled the lever; unlike its predecessor, the Liberty Bell paid off instantly. The bell design was so popular that many modern slot machines still have bells on their reels to commemorate the first fully functional slot machine.
The modern version of the slot machine resembles those early models only in the fundamentals. New technology such as random number generators makes modern slots tamper-proof, while multipliers and special combinations have pushed potential pay-offs into the tens of thousands of dollars. They're a far cry from the free beer or handful of nickels that older machines paid. With larger payments come larger investments; while many casinos still operate nickel slots, quarter and dollar machines take up vastly more floor space.
Although technological advances improved slot machines incrementally, it wasn't until recently that they got a complete makeover. Online gaming lets players enjoy games anytime from a comfortable computer chair. For casino gambling or virtual gaming online slot machines are one of the most popular options. Whether they're virtual or real, slots are easy to understand, offer substantial payouts and have a high winning percentage.