How Slot Machines Became Popular Over Time: A Quick Overview


Posted: February 18, 2021

Updated: February 18, 2021

  • Slot machines have been around since the late 19th Century attracting more and more players 
  • Both land-based and online slots are on the top of any casino 
  • Find out how slot machines became popular with a brief history of technology and current factors 

Simplicity and high payouts are some of the main reasons why slot machines became popular. We take a quick look at how slots appeared and evolved over time in the US, the most favoured game in the casino world. Find out how technological developments contributed to the excitement when playing slots. 

Slot machines. The most popular yet simple casino game ever made. Whether it is land-based or online casinos, slots have the highest popularity in the United States. With thousands of options to chose from, slots evolved so much over time, originally generating in the late 19th century. All of our most popular beloved casino games have a long history, and while the world of online casinos like CyberSpins Casino offers countless new gambling options, the favourites remain the originals. That is poker, blackjack and slots. In this article we focus on the evolution of slots, to find out how slot machines became popular. With a surprisingly early appearance, the popularity of slots had multiple components. Technology, legislation, the boom of the internet age, and of course human factors. We break down affordability, convenience, emotions and last but not least, the fun.


A brief history of how slot machines became popular in the U.S.

With the rise of online casino sites in the US, gamblers easily have access to hundreds of slot machines. However, back in the early days both access and frequency was quite limited. It is interesting to take a look at the first appearance of the machines in the US, as they originated from the simple idea of a vending machine. Just simply drop in a nickel or token,  and get what you want. In the early days, when actual gambling machines appeared, they usually were extensions of social life and the winning prize would be drinks of cigars. The first slot machine was developed by the New York-based company, Sittman and Pitt in 1891, which was basically a poker machine. Followed by the famous Liberty Bell in 1984, the first slot with the automatic payout was created. The demand for Liberty Bell quickly created a need for new developments.

In 1907, the extension of Liberty Bell, Herbert Mills manufactured the Operator Bell in Chicago. By 1910 the machine spread out so much, you could find it in most tobacconists, shops, bars and salons. The Operator Bell was the first step of how slot machines became popular. Interestingly, the BAR symbol we recognise today originated from the Operator Bell and became the logo of the Bell-Fruit company.  In our article, History and Evolution of Slot Machines read about all the major changes that happened from the first appearance.


Development in technology: there is always more to come

The appearance of mechanical and later electromechanical slot machines came with technological changes. Namely, Honey Money in 1964 was the first. It allowed automatic payouts and coin multipliers, therefore extra ways to play and win. Nevertheless, the big break came with the first video slot machines. In 1976, Fortune Coin was the first to feature a second bonus screen. When the bonus line was triggered, a different screen appeared for the bonus game. It allowed additional payouts and started to become extremely popular in casinos. The casino’s income started to highly rely on these slot machines, and just like we see now, land-based casinos are packed with slot machines – and with all different kinds.

how slot machines became popular
Let’s play!

From the 1990s, multiline slot machines offered even more options. Since they have more than one pay line, more winning combinations are possible. With the improvements in computer technology and random number generator, the slot machines became how we know them today. CyberSpins Casino offers countless ways for you to explore slots with different themes.

Arguably, the internet era and online expansion turned the casino world upside down. Modern online slots have gone from outmoded technologies to the latest HTML5-powered underpinnings and cloud hosting. A wide range of devices allow us to have interactive experiences in almost any context. On the other hand, the rise of online casinos and slots, in general, came with questions of legislations. Online casinos in the US have different regulations according to each state, therefore the popularity of online slot machines as well as in land-based casinos vary.


Legal issues to determine how slot machines became popular

In the United States, the public and private availability of slot machines are highly regulated by state governments. Predictable, that Nevada is the only state that has no significant restrictions regarding public or private ownership of slot machines. New Jersey allows slot machines only in hotel-casinos, operating in Atlantic City. In the early 2000s, casino operators feared that the rise of online casinos will threaten the popularity of physical slot machines (Source: Britannica). However, many claim that land-based and online casino games can easily complement each other instead of taking from one another. With the extra convenience that online casinos can offer, we can see the resemblance with the original machines. When talking about favoured casino games, low effort, high-payout and the feeling of control all contribute to how slot machines became popular across the States.


Some explanation on why we love it

There is not much to know when using a slot machine. The simplicity of the game is definitely an appeal since you don’t have to start by learning as many tricks and strategies as you can. All steps you need to know, we have collected here. Unlike poker or blackjack, slots are pretty straight forward. Having said that, there are always pro tips that you can use for the best experience. See one of our previous articles to get some extra insight. When you throw some coins in, literally or figuratively, all you have to do is wait for luck. With the random number generator and computer technology, you might feel less controlled compared to having a dealer or other players.

how slot machines became popular
Spin it!

Affordability and control makes slot machines popular

The feeling of control is an important component from the player’s side, however, it is important to keep in mind that this is not exactly the case. While you don’t really have to have special skills to win a round like in poker, the house edge is relevant at all casino games. Therefore, make sure to always know your limit when playing with land-based or online slot machines. Luckily, with slots, the affordability is a lot better than in other games. It is not about big bets! You can play for fun with small coins, without having the pressure of playing a lot of money. This is one of the main reasons why slot machines became popular so easily. This game is arguably one of the most inclusive when it comes to casino games.

Big prizes come with great excitement

Small bets are more than enough. Hence, the big payout is even more appealing. In fact, slots are known to have high payouts and it is easy to find both land-based and online slots that dole out as much as even 90%. With all games, winning or losing comes excitement, so human emotions can never be separated when talking about gambling. Scoring a jackpot is an expression for a reason. The feeling of luck or an easy win also explains why slot machines became popular. Moreover, it is always a good way to start when casinos offer a free tryout. No one likes to put money into something they know nothing about, therefore having a few free rounds can make a lot of people interested. It is also fun to try out many different themes, roles and challenges. See the hundreds of themes you can try out at CyberSpins Casino!

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