A History Lesson in the Origins of the Games


Do you like entertainment in the form of slots and casino games? Maybe you have been thinking about where the games originated from. Even if your game favorites are technologically advanced and modern, they have their origins far back in time. Does it sound a little exciting? We have taken a look around and looked at the roots of some popular games and how they have since evolved for online casinos. By the way, did you know that the very first slot machine was called Liberty Bell? Join us as we take you on a guided tour back in time.

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History of Gambling - vintage slot machine

The Forerunners of Today’s Modern Slot Machines

Gambling and gaming are an occupation that existed long before the first slot machines were created. There has always been a human desire to compete and play to win. Maybe they did not invest money thousands of years ago but more trivial things like food and the likes. In this guide article, we thought we should go back to how the slot machine came about.

1891 – Sittman & Pitt, New York

Like so much else, our beloved slot machines have their origins in the United States of America. Sittman & Pitt was a company based in New York, and in 1891 they created a kind of card machine. This was more of a poker machine; at least it was based on poker. This device had a system of as many as 50 different card games. It is said that they removed heart jacks and spades ten from the deck. In this way, you could influence the odds of a Royal Flush. You can imagine what advantage the house got – an affected house edge. This machine had five drums – one for each spin, which cost a “nickel” to play. You see, the parable – today’s game has a standard of five reels – the same as the old predecessor. Even the old poker machine had a kind of handle to pull to wait for the “reels” to stop. The poker machine handed out winnings when a player managed to get a poker hand – using the same ranking as we have today.

The game became popular and spread to several bars and pubs in New York. There was one major shortcoming with the machine – it lacked a payout system. What did you do then, and what could you win? Since the games were in a bar environment, it was common for the winnings to be paid out in free beer or cigars!

Charles Fey Invents the Liberty Bell.

First slot machine - history of games

After the poker machine’s advent, a few years passed, and it is said that the first slot machine was released in 1895. Charles Fey is the name of the man who invented the mechanical slot machine for games. It started to look like something of the modern-day – the form that the game took remains in many aspects even today. Charles came to the United States from Germany as a young man and settled with a relative in New Jersey. Fey then moved on to San Francisco and began working at Electrical Works. Here Fey got the foundation for his knowledge that would result in a slot machine.

Why is Liberty Bell such a great role model? Slot machines like the ones we know have many similarities to the old Bell. This completely groundbreaking slot machine had a full three reels and with symbols of diamonds, hearts, spades, horseshoes, and the legendary clock. The highest payout was paid out when the game lined up three symbols of the clock on the pay line. The machine was also equipped with an automatic payout for the winnings, so there was no more beer in winnings!

The pressure increased on slot machines.

Liberty Bell paved the way, and the demand for slot machines grew. More developers opened their eyes and saw the chance to keep up with the new trend. A Herbert Mills from Chicago released his first slot machine in 1907. Here the world saw the first slot machine with well-known fruit symbols such as cherries and melons. Here, for the first time, players also became acquainted with the symbol BAR.

If we jump to 1963, the development would have gone far. Game developer Bally launched its first electro-mechanical slot. The name of the game was Money Honey Slot! This game was groundbreaking. The features allowed the automatic payout to payout 500 coins. Here, for the first time, buttons were used instead of the characteristic lever.

Milestones on the road to the modern slot machine

  • 1891 – The first poker machine, Sittman & Pitt
  • 1895 – Liberty Bell Slots, Charles Fey
  • 1963 – Money Honey Slot, Bally
history of games - online slot and poker

When did the games go online?

Slot machines and slots were first launched for real in New Zealand in the late 80s. In the late 90s, online casinos began to appear, and a new gaming market started gaining traction; fast. Let us first go back a few years, and to 1976, this was the year when the video slot was born. This very first creation came from the Fortune Coin Company in California, USA. What was super exciting with the game was that instead of the usual mechanics – the game was shown on a TV screen. After a lot of testing, this video slot was released in casinos along the Las Vegas Strip.

Classic table games and their original origin

Some classic table games go back quite a bit. We have looked at the games that are played the most and are popular both now and then. Read more about where games like Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, and Poker came from.

21 becomes Blackjack

Blackjack is perhaps the game that is most popular in the group we call table games. The game is a Hazard game, which means that it is decided by chance. The modern name Blackjack did not exist from the start. The game was called 21, which is sometimes called even today. That is the number of cards you must have to become the winner – Blackjack. The game has been traced back to an author named Miguel Cervantes – who wrote Donquixote. The author was a player, and he mentions the game 21 – “veintiuna” in Spanish in a book. This book is about scammers who cheated in 21. Note that this was already in the 17th century. The game eventually ended up in the United States and was big there during the gold-digging period in the late 19th century. Since then, it became increasingly popular, and today the game is widely spread through online casinos.

The Roulette wheel starts rolling

Roulette first appeared in France as early as the 18th century. The name comes from the French, where Roulette means small wheel. The current form of the game was highly topical in Paris as early as 1796. As you know, there is a variation of the game called French Roulette. The game also spread to other countries, from which the European name Roulette came from. By the 19th century, the game had spread throughout Europe and even to the United States. For the land-based gaming halls and casinos, the Roulette table became a given feature for all gamblers. Different models were developed, and today you can find most New Zealand casinos on the internet.

Poker games

We probably all know what poker is, but where does the game come from. As with many other games, there is a divided opinion about the origin. Some believe that the game came from China as early as 900 BC. The French also claim to be the ones who started the poker era. The game in France was called “Poque” and was very similar to poker as we know the game today. What Happened in the United States – Wasn’t Poker Big There? Of course, it is said that the game was introduced in New Orleans in the late 15th century. Most of us are probably more familiar with the significant era in the United States that came in the mid-19th century. Who does not remember the round poker tables we have seen so many times in old Western movies.

Dice – Craps

Craps is a dice game mainly popular in large land-based casinos, especially in the United States. We thought a bit about where the dice come from. It is said that mysterious dice were found in Egyptian tombs. Of course, they did not look like today’s dice, but still. Then keep in mind that this was 2000 years BC. The original dice were made from animal bones. The ancient Romans and Greeks also used dice. On the other hand, it is said that today’s dice, which are square, come from China.

The history of the games is continuously changing.

Even in modern times, games are always changing. The technology that exists today is fast-changing, and new game features are developed every now and then. Fey indeed would not have believed what he would see today – his old Liberty Bell would have impacted today’s game. The symbols and basic layout still live on today. Games at land-based casinos are, of course, always there and will undoubtedly be for a long time to come. However, the online-based business has taken quite swiftly. It is so easy to play at an online casino today. You can take your favorite games with you on your mobile devices nowadays, and there is no limit to what you can do. We look forward with excitement as the news story is written for each day our game developers develop new innovative games.

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