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What a journey it has been since the days in the saloon for slot machines.

Over the past century, slot machines have undergone drastic technological advancements thanks to continued love for the game. As of the early 2000’s, slot machines are the most popular and profitable gaming device in casinos to date.

When Charles Fey founded the ‘Card Bell’ in 1898, his design of a machine with three spinning wheels became the standard others would build upon for the next several decades. Today, players can take the experience with them anywhere they please thanks to mobile devices.

Things really began to take off in 1994 when Antigua & Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Act, allowing licenses to be granted to online casinos. This paved the way for the first online gambling club to open in the midst of the dot-com bubble in 1995 and prevail making slots the most played game in casinos at the start of the millennium.

With consistent growth in popularity and rapid technological advancements, the future of slot machines is only limited to a designers imagination and aspirations. It is certainly doubtful that Charles Fey would have ever imaged the legacy that his first slot machine would have on the future of gambling. View more about the evolution of a slot machine explained.




  • As of March 21, 2003, the largest jackpot in Las Vegas history (to date) is $39.7 million which was won by a 25-year-old software engineer from Los Angeles.
  • Nevada is the only state that has no significant restrictions against slot machines both for public and private use.
  • There are more than 830,000 slot machines located throughout the United States.
  • The largest slot machine was known as ‘Big Bertha’ and was two and a half meters high. It was so big that people could not pull the actual lever and it had to be powered by a five horsepower engine.
  • The percentage payout is not affected by the time of day, day of the week, or number of players.
  • The original “nickel-in-the-slot” machines dispensed cigars and drink tickets as prizes.
  • In 1906, one of Fey’s machines went missing from a Powell Street saloon. It later turned up at the Chicago factory of the Mills Novelty Company, one of Fey’s major competitors. They had pulled it apart, to see why it was making more money than any of their machines

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about the history of slot machines, please visit: The evolution of a slot machine explained