We love slots for their easy gameplay and big winning potential. A decent amount of risk involved in the game is what makes it exciting and the use of technology in today’s slots, such as the RNG, guarantees a fair game. That was not always the case though. Back in the 20th century, slot machines were different and a lot simpler than today’s heavily computerised games – register and access new online slot titles today.
Slot machines have always faced some opposition. People have accused slots of being unfair, immoral and advocated against the use of them. In this article, we take a look at the history of slot machines and more precisely, the periods of time when they were banned.
Outlawed right from the birth
When it comes to slot machines, they have been around for 126 years, since Charles Fey built the Card Bell in 1895. Over this period, slots fought a lot of opposition, be it moral, lawful or religious arguments against them.
In the very beginning, San Francisco-based Charles Fey and his colleagues created money-operated machines that were activated by inserting a coin and also had the top prize worth $0.5 that was paid out directly from the machine. These slots faced backlash right there and then. Because gambling was illegal in California at the time, Charles Fey could not patent his creations as legitimate devices. This allowed many other inventors to copy the Card Bell and the Liberty Bell, the first two slot machines to see the light of day.
Eventually, Fey found a way around the law and started producing slot machines that had fruit symbols instead of playing card symbols. These represented different flavours of gum that the player was able to win. This way, the machine didn’t pay out money and was no longer considered a gambling device, which proved successful – they were able to manufacture and sell more slot machines that paid out in chewing gum. Charles Fey’s devices gained renown and people started calling them “fruit machines” because of the fruit symbols on the reels.
The future would bring many more challenges to slot machine creators. The US never fully caught on to the slot machine craze and despite the popular demand, gambling remained illegal in most states. Even today, only Nevada and Louisiana have legal casino gambling.
As slots made their way into Europe, they were not met with arms wide open either. They sparked the interest of players in France, Germany and the United Kingdom but the authorities weren’t so fast to welcome the one-armed bandits. It was only in 1988 that slots became legal in France, whereas according to British law, up until 1960, any gambling device must have involved skill. That meant that slots were not legal until the 1960s in the UK. Even the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo had to wait until 1931 to acquire the first legal slot machines.
With the relaxation of the gambling law in the UK, slot machines didn’t take long to catch on. The so-called fruit machines became popular in pubs, restaurants and especially in seaside arcades.
Today, the UK is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to slot play. Millions of customers love slots and we have a thriving industry that is closely regulated. Slots are responsible for around £10 billion of profits brought into the UK market every year. Will slots ever get banned in the future? It remains unknown. While the game uses a range of technology to result in a fair game, this notion is still often questioned by players and authorities. With the profits of slots speaking for themselves, it becomes clear that these devices are still very effective in raking in players’ money.
Always gamble responsibly and only spend what you can afford. We wish you huge wins and success in your gambling ventures!