History Of The Slot Machine

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

Charles Fay invented the slot machine in his workshop in San Francisco in 1887 and he named it the ?Liberty Bell?. The Liberty Bell contained 3 reels with 20 symbols per reel and operated pretty much in the same way as today's slot machines except it was completely mechanical, while today?s slot machines are mostly computers with very few moving parts. Fay rented the slot machines to gambling establishments and refused to sell the manufacturing and distribution rights to his slot machines. He had a very lucrative business and charged a 50% commission of all money played. Within a relatively short period of time, Fay's invention was so successful that he began to work overtime in his workshop to meet the demand for his slot machines.

Herbert Mills, in 1907, a Chicago manufacturer created a slot machine very similar to Fay?s 'Liberty Bell' and named it the 'Operator Bell'. Mills produced and distributed his slot machine at a higher rate than Fay's 'Liberty Bell', and experienced even greater success by 1910. The 'Operator Bell' slot machines were very common in the United States of America. The slot machine reached a peak in popularity in the 1920?s and 30?s and became common place throughout the US. With this new popularity, new laws were introduced and passed to outlaw slot machines in many states. In spite of this, slot machines continued to be popular throughout America during the 1920s and 1930s. During the late 1940's, Bugsy Moran a well known Chicago mobster, added slot machines to his Flamingo Hilton hotel in Las Vegas. Within a short period of time the profit from slot machines exceeded that of table games.

The slot machines were nicknamed ?one arm bandits? by many, because the pulling of a handle on right side of the machine actuated the reels. The slot machine remained a mechanical device until the 1980?s when most of the mechanical guts were replaced by circuit boards and computer chips. The modern slot machine is a computer! The computer chip is programmed to pay out a certain percentage of the money taken in. The program uses a random number generator (RNG) to calculate which symbols will come up on the pay line. This random number generator creates new numbers all the time, 100 of thousands of numbers per minute. Depending on the numbers that are generated and the instant you push the spin button, those numbers will indicate the placement of the symbols on the pay line. Now that you have a general idea of how the modern slot machine works, have fun and good luck.

Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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