Though the exact year is debated, German mechanic Charles Fey is widely credited with having invented the first slot machine some time around 1890.
In those days, a slot machine was a purely mechanical device – the machine would pay out automatically if a punter managed to match three symbols.
On Fey’s machine, matching three bells would award you the highest jackpot, and as a result, the machine was appropriately named the Liberty Belle.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that a major change occurred in how slot machines operated.
Bally’s Money Honey machine was a trailblazer for electronic gambling as it allowed slot machines to function without the help of an attendant.
The Money Honey was hugely popular and sparked even more interest in slot machines among punters, largely those in the United States.
In the 1990s, slot machines grew again and the Reel ‘Em In machine by WMS Industries introduced a “second screen” allowing for another game, and an additional payout, to be afforded to punters.
Those devices are similar to the digital slot machines we think of today, which now offer a massive range of games and bonuses to keep the format enticing.