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Slot Machine Evolution: From Levers to Digital Innovation in Online Casinos

Perhaps you know but the slot fever has been around for ages. Your great grandparents, and even before that, had to travel to pull the levers of big machines somewhere in smoky bars and pubs. A lot has changed since then. This is the story of how the slot machine evolved over the years.

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The Beginning

Before slots became the color-splash games of today, they were mechanical devices based on poker. They made their appearance in Brooklyn, New York, way back around 1890. The original machine presented some problems due to the many winning possibilities. It was a man named Charles Fey who attempted to deal with this by devising a simpler machine with three spinning reels and five basic symbols.

Over the next 50-odd years the machines saw further improvements, both in gameplay and as a way to avoid gambling laws. Electromechanical machines flooded the market in 1963. The first video slot made its appearance in 1976 in Las Vegas. By then the fever had taken hold of Britain, Australia, and New Zealand as well.

The Turning Point and Beyond

The internet revolution of the mid-90s of the 20th century changed everything. Until then the internet was a limited phenomenon. After, it began to spread to every household in the USA and the world.

One of the main pathfinders in this new online environment was Microgaming. The company, which is one of the most recognised brands of today, was the first to create a digital slot for the online world. Soon after the turn of the millennium, the first progressive jackpot online slot appeared. The groundbreaking Mega Moolah was one of the first of this kind.

From 2000-2010, many new companies followed the example of Microgaming. As a result, the variety of online slots increased. Another big change occurred around 2008 when the first casino apps appeared. From that point in time, online slots took a turn toward mobile phone compatibility.

By 2014, software developers had already taken note of the new cryptocurrency trend and had begun creating games for crypto users. A whole new breed of interactive online slots began to take hold of the market – slots rich in features with stellar graphics and sound.

In 2016, Aussie developer BTG introduced a new mechanic called Megaways. The mechanic significantly boosted the number of paylines. This set a trend and more developers started to make Megaways slots.

By 2020, the HTML5 era had started, putting an end to flash-based games and making games instantly available via any browser.

What Lays Ahead?

With over 70% of revenues of online casinos coming from slots, the future for this type of games is bright. Developers are looking for ways to improve the engagement even further and online casinos are on board with the changes. Experimentation includes areas like:

  • Virtual Reality;
  • Augmented Reality;
  • Personalised Play;
  • Gameplay Mechanics;
  • Graphics and Animation.

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