Slots have been around since the 19th century and what history has taught us is that the slot machine is a survivor that has adapted to change successfully, no matter what history has thrown at it.
Early slot machines were mechanical in nature and were operated by levers. These machines proved a big hit with the public and even when gambling bans came and went in society, the slot machine game in one guise or other, still survived and advanced. During gambling bans slots were turned into fruit machines and vending machines that gave out non-cash prizes. Even the symbols changed and playing cards were replaced by family friendly fruit symbols.
When gambling bans were lifted, the fruit symbols remained and gave birth to the traditional fruit machines that are still played today at online casinos. Slots eventually moved away from their mechanical origins and in 1963, the public was introduced to the first electrical slot called Money Honey. In 1976 the first video slot was invented and this continued to be improved on through the 1980s. New symbols accompanied these slots such as Stars, Crowns, 777 and Gems.
The digital revolution
The next big development in slots occurred during the digital revolution of the 1990s. This revolution is ongoing, but in 1996 it turned the gambling world on its head, as this was the year that the first online casino software was developed and tested on the public. This early virtual casino offered mostly traditional table games but at the same time, the first virtual video slot was waiting in the wings to be unleashed on this online gambling platform.
Both online casinos and video slots proved a hit with the public. Huge betting brands were quick to act on the success of internet gambling and moved many of their products online. This proved a smart move because internet gambling and more especially, online slot gambling, was about to become the most successful and profitable form of gambling of all time.
The popularity of online slots can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, the accessibility of online gambling has brought slots to a new mass audience that can play these games in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. This has proved especially appealing to female punters who now gamble in a safe environment of their choosing.
Furthermore, the introduction of mobile casinos that can be accessed on smartphones has fuelled their popularity further with females. Slots are easy to understand and need no strategy or prior knowledge to play and even the most inexperienced gamblers can learn on the go quickly. Slots are also a lot of fun and are now considered a major part of the entertainment industry. They are themed too and this helps attract punters to them especially if they are based on hit movies or TV shows that boast a huge pre-existing fan base.
The internet has brought slots to the masses and thanks to digital technology, they are now more immersive and fun to play than ever before and this is a major reason why slot revenue is approaching the £2 billion mark in the UK alone.