History of Slot Machines

Ever wondered where the “slot machine” term comes from? This is actually short for “nickel in a slot,” which is a reference to vending machines. You know, the automated machines you put in a “nickel” and purchase something in return. Real money slots are much older than you think: The first examples of these devices were first seen in “saloons” during the 1880’s. Yes, saloons, the prototype of modern bars which you see in Western movies. These machines were simple gambling devices at first that played with real money: They were usually about mechanical horse racing. The award was a “chip” that can be used in the saloon to purchase something, usually a shot of whiskey. Around 1890, they started to pay actual nickels. There were no gambling laws back then, and nobody cared about “regulation of gambling” to be honest.

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Real Money Slots

In 1894, a smart man named Charles A. Fey carried this idea further: He created the first “modern” real money slot machine. The game was called “Liberty Bell” and it had a couple of symbols: a horseshoe, a bell, and play card signs. It had one pay line, three reels, and horseshoe was the top paying symbol. This machine is in a museum now, and it still works. However, Mr. Fey forgot to take a “patent” for his idea. In 1920, there was already a couple of companies that started to produce the same machines. They were using fruit symbols instead of bells and horseshoes. 

From Housewives to Husbands

In 1930, Nevada legalized gambling and offered very low tax rates for gambling-related industries. Almost all of the real money slot manufacturers relocated to Nevada. Casino owners in Las Vegas started to put these machines in their buildings: Their goal was to offer a “fun game” to housewives, who were waiting for their husbands to finish a poker game. Surprisingly, the “husbands” enjoyed these games more. For nearly 30 years, real money slots managed to be one of the most popular gambling games in Las Vegas.

In 1980’s, a small company called International Gaming Technologies (IGT) produced a real money slots game with a “digital” screen. Until then, these games were really working with cogs and reels, they were not electronic. IGT manufactured the first video slot machine in the world and truly made a revolution in the industry. After that, real money slots gained the advantage of computer-generated graphics and started to offer much more options, in regards to themes, rules, and bonuses.

And in 1990’s, another small company called Microgaming released the first real money online slot at the world’s first online casino. You know the rest: Real money slots are the biggest part of the online gambling industry, and everyone loves them. Since they require no previous experience, everybody has the same chance of winning – a professional does not have an advantage over a beginner.

Types of Real Money Slots

As we mentioned above, video slots technology created a lot of categories in real money games. The general rules of these categories are the same: Players are still trying to place same symbols next to each other on a pay line. However, each category offers a different kind of gameplay. You can see the most common real money slots categories below:

  • Fruit Machines: They are the first versions of slots. They contain a couple symbols at most and usually 5 pay lines maximum. Fruit machines do not contain bonus rounds and/or special symbols such as wild and scatter. They are simpler games, but this does not mean they are “unprofitable”. On the contrary, their RTP (return to player) rates are higher than many other games. In fact, professional gamblers prefer fruit slots to get a low but constant winning. We recommend you do the same.
  • Video Slots: The majority of real money slots today fall into this category. These games are graphically advanced, contains bonus rounds, and lots of special symbols. If you like free spins, for example, your first choice must be video slot games. They have a lot of themes, including but not limited to ancient Egypt, pirates, sports, and ancient China.
  • Jackpot Slots: These games are the same as video slots in terms of rules and gameplay, but they have a “jackpot” prize. If the player manages to land a set of specific symbols on a pay line, he/she is entitled to a big prize. Standard jackpot machines have a fixed prize pool, and there is an upper limit the players can win. Progressive jackpots, on the other hand, do not have a fixed paytable and their prizes increase with every game played. In fact, some of them can even offer millions of dollars. However, their RTP rates are lower than other real money slots categories.
  • 3D Slots: Same as video slots, but these games have amazing graphics quality, which can compete with CGI movies. Usually, games adapted from Hollywood movies fall into this category. Playing them on your mobile devices may be hard due to insufficient hardware, so prefer desktop PCs if possible. They also offer lots of mini-games with the same graphical quality.
  • Penny Slots: These games may be fruit or video slots, but in any case, their minimum bet amount is very low. In fact, one single penny is enough to turn the reels, hence the name. Players with very limited budgets can prefer them, but do not forget that their payout amounts are also low.

It is up to you which category to choose. We recommend trying them all since every category offers a different gambling experience. However, in general, progressive slot machines will cost more to play, and their payout rates will be lower than usual. So if you are on a limited budget, progressive jackpot games may not be a good idea.

Real Money vs. Free Slots

Most players think that real money slots and their free-to-play versions are different. Well, they are not. When you are playing the free version, it is actually the same game: Winning chances, rules, and payout do not differ. The only difference is the balance: Free slot machines can be played with a “virtual” budget. Likewise, your winnings are virtual too – you cannot cash out. There are no differences between two versions other than this.

So, it is perfectly possible and practical to try real money slots for free without actually spending money on them. This way, you can see whether the game is suited for you or not. More important, you can understand the rules and how to activate a bonus round, for example. Note that the payment frequency will be the same too. In other words, you get to see a specific slot game really pays often or not. This is actually a big advantage which allows you to save a lot of money.

Free slots are perfect for casual gambling too. Think of them like an ordinary social game on social media networks: You get the fun without any financial risk. So you can play the free versions of real money slots as a hobby – millions of people do the same.

Where to Find the Best Real Money Slots?

In our website, of course. The main problem with real money slots is that there are a lot of them. Some of them are really good, and some of them are not worth your time. Joining a casino and trying all games one by one is not a practical solution to this problem: You will be just wasting your money until you find some slots you really like. Instead, you can use our website and try all real money slots for free first. We already hand-picked the best titles of each and every provider for you. Try them all without taking a financial risk, learn the rules, and continue your journey in a real money online casino – it is that simple. We like playing real money slots, and our goal is to offer you the best content for free: no download and no registration are needed. Pick a game, start playing, and play as long as you want, this is our offer to you. Don’t forget to visit our website often as we update all our content on a regular basis. Good luck!