The History of Slot Machines


From Liberty Bell to the Wheel of Fortune, slots has evolved a great deal over the past 100 years with a number of clever innovators finding ways to make the quickfire gambling game easily accessible and as fair as possible.

It all began in 1895 with Charles Fey, an American mechanic who invented the device that would eventually inspire mainstream slot machines. His device was inspired by the work of one of his co-workers, Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Schultze who had constructed a device with spinning drums that gave an automatic pay-out of tickets or tokens known as the Horseshoe slot machine.

This was the first true slot machine.  Fey created a modified version that paid out coins instead, which proved more popular and eventually went on to invent the Liberty Bell, where aligning three bells earned a pay-out of 50 cents. Which was a lot at the time.

Due to the law at the time, Fey couldn’t patent it and so the design exploded and hundreds of other inventors got to leave their mark on it with Fruit machines that dispensed gum, slots inspired by popular TV shows and the modern digital slots with Random Number Generators inside!

Today in Las Vegas and particularly down the Strip, you’ll find rows of slot machines throughout all of the casinos as they have proven to be a very popular game in Vegas, USA and throughout the world.

The infographic below comes from Betfair casino and shows the history of the slot machine, dating all the way back to Charles Fey’s birth in 1862 Germany, all the way through to the modern day where 70% of casino floor space is taken up by slot machines!