The 5 Oldest Slot Games in the World
Slot machine have come a long way since their initial inception in the late 19th century. Whether you know them as slot machines, fruit machines, pokies or puggies, the machine has become synonymous with gambling both in casinos and, more recently, online. Let’s take a look at some of the oldest variants of slot machines, from the first mechanical one right up to the first online slot.
Oldest Poker Machine – Sittman and Pitt’s Poker Machine
Before the slot machine as we know it now was perfected by Charles Fey between 1887 and 1895, the Brooklyn-based company Sittman and Pitt created an automated poker machine. It was comprised of five drums with 10 cards on each one. Players were not competing against anyone but themselves, trying to land the best hand they could. Their odds of a Royal Flush were cut as the machine only housed 50 out of 52 cards, missing the Ten of Spades and the Jack of Hearts.
One of the ironies of this original machine was that it had no mechanism to pay out the winner. If a player landed a winning hand, they had to show this at the bar in order to claim their prize, which was not cash but free drinks or cigarettes.
Oldest Slot Machine – Charles Augustus Fey’s Liberty Bell
Although Fey’s slot machine possibly pre-dates Sittman and Pitt’s by design, it was not completed until 1895. Rather than making a poker game, Fey took a different path, creating a simpler game with three reels and 5 symbols – a horseshoe, diamond, spade, heart and bell, fashioned around the Liberty Bell which the game was named after.
The original machine is now housed in the Liberty Belle Saloon & Restaurant in Reno, Nevada. His machine led to a raft of imitations, most notably the Chicago-based company Mills and its Operator Bell slot machine.
Oldest Electromechanical Slot – Bally Technologies’ Money Honey
Bally Technologies had began using electronics in its mechanical poker machines in the 1940s, but it wasn’t until 1963 that it created Money Honey: the first fully electromechanical slot. The design allowed for faster game play and could handle multi-coin bets, which in turn meant that players could potentially win more money. The increase in jackpot size, coupled with the dazzle of flashing electronic lights, led to this being one of the most popular slot games for a generation.
Oldest Video Slot – Walt Fraley’s Fortune Coin
Two decades after Bally’s new machine, Walt Fraley took advantage of the computer boom and created Fortune Coin, the first video slot that used microchips and a video screen instead of physical reels.
The advancements initially proved to be a step too far for some slot players, mistrusting that a microchip would not cheat them instead of a mechanical system. However, IGT bought Fraley’s game and spent time marketing it ahead of its successful debut in 1979.
Oldest Online Slot – Microgaming’s Gaming Club
The advent of the internet saw the emergence of simple online casino games that could be played at home on a computer. Although there were many companies competing to get gambling online, Microgaming claimed the title when it opened the virtual doors it its Gaming Club Online Casino in 1994, including a simple classic fruit machine slot.
Four years later and Microgaming had achieved yet another first in the online gambling scene. It released Cash Splash in 1998, the world’s first online progressive jackpot slot. A small percentage of each player’s bet was accumulated in a cash pot, until a lucky player landed a specific combination of symbols to win it all.