GAMES: Slot Machine Branding - A Brief History

A slot machine - also known as a fruit machine in Blighty - is the most common gambling machine in casinos and accounts for 70% of the revenue of the average US casino. And it’s come a long way from when they were known as one-armed bandits - a name coined both from the original design with a lever on the side and the fact that they would frequently leave a gamer penniless.

Slot-feyThe original slot machine was an invention by Charles Fey who lived in San Fransisco. He produced the simple machine in around 1887. Originally based on a poker game, it proved impossible to devise a way to make a machine that could make an automatic payout for every single possible winning combination. Fey’s answer was to replace the ten cards with five symbols and use three reels, which reduced the complexity of possible wins, which meant an automatic payout system would work.

The first machine was called Liberty Bell and paid out the largest amount for three bells in a row. It took Slot-libertybell off and became phenomenally popular with many other manufacturers copying the design. Slot machines could be found in drugstores, bars, saloons and brothels - all the right sort of places!

Other early machines gave out fruit flavoured gums as prizes - hence the fruit symbols on many slots today. The food prizes were to get around the gambling laws that existed across many states.

Slot-moneyhoneyIt was in 1963 that the first electromechanical slot machine became available. Developed by Bally and called Money Honey was the first slot machine which could make automatic payouts of up to 500 coins. It was so popular that the old fashioned lever machines fell away in favour of electric machines with push buttons.

The first video slot machine was made in 1976 by the Las Vegas based Fortune Coin Co. after a lot of testing and cheat proofing, it was eventually adopted by Las Vegas casinos and became extremely popular.

These days there are loads of different kinds of gambling slot machines to be found in casinos. Some are video poker machines, where players have to get a set of symbols to correspond to a winning poker hand. On some machines, players can play over 100 hands at any one time.

Most video slot machines have some kind of theme, which feature graphics and music from films, TV and music. And, of course, in modern machines the slots and levers are purely for decorative purposes!

Slots-intertopAlong with almost everything else in our modern world, slot machines have fallen prey to different brands and this is also the case online, for example, us online slot games at Jackpot Capital Casino. Branded games go down better with customers, whether the brand is based on a movie, a TV show or even a sporting event. They attract more casual gamers and can pull in people who may not normally consider online gambling, whether that’s down to the loyalty towards the brand or just because they pique people’s interest.

Slots-marvel-jackpotSome brands are more compatible with online gaming than others, of course. There’s no point branding with music or films that appeal only to teens and tweens, for example. That’s why Marvel comics are so popular when it comes to slots, with games named after Thor, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk going down a storm - which one would entice you to play online? It definitely seems that brand awareness of existing characters and movies is likely to pull in more players than a brand new character based slot game. 


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