Video slots use random number generators as well as slot machines at the end of the 20th century to determine the outcome of each spin. These RNGs are constantly generating numbers, even when the machine is not being played. When you hit the spin button, the RNG “freezes” on a number and uses that to determine the outcome. Fey’s machine proved immensely popular, and soon other businesses were clamoring for their slot machines. The Mills Novelty Company introduced its machine, called the Operator’s Bell, in 1896. Mills also added a lever to the side of the machine, which allowed players to set the reels in motion without pulling a handle.
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The game only had three reels, and it was using recognizable symbols instead of poker cards, one of these symbols being the Liberty Bell, which gave the slot its name. Patrons can still find many of these electronic slot machines in casinos around the world. They were also important in laying the groundwork for what would eventually become the slots-style games offered on online gambling sites.
With the introduction of the internet at the end of the 20th century came new ways for casinos to do business. The internet provided instant access to information, widespread communication and an era of innovation unlike any we’ve ever seen before. Along with that came entrepreneurial software developers like Microgaming and CryptoLogic, which were instrumental in launching the first online casinos. Photo by Eric J. Seaich Co / In this vintage illustration from the 1930s, eager casino patrons line up to play on original one-armed bandit slot machines.
These machines would be called “video slot machines” as they did not have any mechanical mechanism and instead relied on digital logic boards. Slots like “Reel ‘Em In” would further push the video slots segment with features like a second-screen bonus round in 1996. Fortune Coin was purchased by IGT in 1978, and it is currently one of the numerous high-quality suppliers of online slot games.
These laws did not have much of an effect on slot machine sales because slot machine manufacturers were able to find ways to alter the games to avoid getting them classified as gambling devices. Around 15 years after the introduction of Money Honey, the first electronic slot was developed by the Las Vegas-based company Fortune Coin Company. Using a modified 19-inch Sony Trinitron color receiver for the display and logic boards for the slot machine functions, this prototype was mounted within a full size show-ready slot machine cabinet.
When online casinos began to take off software providers were busy developing many different slot machine games for many different sites. The popularity of slot machines continued to increase throughout the 1930’s and continued to skyrocket in the early 1940’s. After Bugsy Siegel put slot machines into his Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel all the leading gambling halls and casinos were rushing to add them.