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When Did Video Slots Come Around? A Brief History of Slot Games

When Did Video Slots Come Around? A Brief History of Slot Games

The “Liberty Bell,” considered the first modern slot machine, debuted over a century ago. Between the late 1970s and now, we have witnessed the most significant changes, mainly due to breakthroughs in computer technology.

Over time, we should expect to see even more dramatic shifts as developers continue to test the limits of what is possible in terms of jackpots, features, and overall game design. Video slot machines have come a long way in recent years, and they’re just getting better.

Here’s a look back at the evolution of slot machine technology through the years.

Invented in 1897

Charles August Fey, a car mechanic from San Francisco, creates the mechanical slot machine known as “Liberty Bell.” It was rather simple to manipulate the reels with the handle, and it only had three reels and four symbols. Therefore, the largest jackpot was only fifty cents.

1898-1909: Growing Popularity

Even while slot machines’ underlying mechanisms remained unchanged, plenty of other producers began producing titles with the Liberty Bell’s technical specs but identical gameplay. Demand for new games fueled rapid expansion in the sector.

1909 Prohibition


Slot machine producers saw a decline in the early 20th century. Anti-gambling protesters prohibited the games in San Francisco, Nevada, and California. In retrospect, we can see that such difficulties were only temporary.

1964: Electro-Mechanical Slots

The new “Money Honey” slot machine from Bally Manufacturing is significantly different from its forerunners. Firstly, Creator replaced the springs with electrical components on the inside. Second, Inventor installed a hopper for coins alongside other features, including music, lighting, and the ability to wager multiple coins.

1975: First Video Slot Machine Debuts

Walt Fraley created the “Fortune Coin” video game. Players were wary of the new technology and preferred traditional spinning reel slots; therefore, it didn’t catch on at the time.

1976: IGT

Seeing the promise of video slots, IGT buys Fortune Coin and exploits its technology to make new games. They develop into the world’s second-biggest slot machine maker, emphasizing video reel slots.

1979: Video Poker Popularizes


The video slot market took off after the introduction of video poker. Players flocked to video poker machines, and manufacturers released their first batch of video slots.

1980-Now: Innovations, Linked Progressives, Bonus Games

The developers of slot machines have been improving their products with new and intriguing functions since the eighties. Among these are the introduction of the bonus game and the connection of jackpots in national and state-wide progressives. Connecting the jackpots allows casinos to offer progressive jackpots in the millions that rise quickly and are won regularly.

You’d be hard-pushed to find a video slot machine these days that doesn’t provide a bonus of some kind. The Liberty Bell, Charles Fey’s first video slot machine creation, has been replaced by countless versions that provide anything from free games to select a box play and even themes from popular game shows.

1994: Slots online

In 1994, the first internet casinos opened, allowing people to play real money slots from home. The best online games nowadays are just as good as those you’d find at a land-based casino.

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