Slot machines are arguably the most popular and played pieces of casino equipment. They are attractive, flashy, offer lots of incentives to players, and can provide countless hours of pure entertainment.

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of slot machines.


What is considered a slot machine?


Slots are known under various names. In the States, they are simply called slot machines, in the UK, people call them fruit machines, and in Australia and New Zealand, they are commonly referred to as poker machines or simply pokies.


In essence, any slot machine is a gambling device with spinning reels capable of generating random combinations of symbols upon initializing. If certain combinations of symbols line up on the “paylines”, they bring players varying prizes depending on their type and the specifics of the game played.  


Why is it called a slot machine?


To this day people are wondering where the term “slot machine” comes from. The term originates from the slots where players inserted and received coins. And what about the British collective term “fruit machine”? That comes from some of the earliest slot machines that used fruit symbols instead of poker ones.


History of slot machines


The history of slot machines is a long and complicated one. But many believe it all starts in the 19th century with a New York-based company called Sittman and Pitt, which created what is believed to be the first slot machine back in 1891. 


This particular contraption had five drums with a grand total of 50 playing cards. Winning was achieved by lining up poker hands. 


Early history


The Sittman and Pitt slot machine was popular at the time. But one man managed to improve upon their idea. The Germany-born San Francisco resident Charles Augustus Fey, a mechanic by profession, created the first slot machine “best seller”, titled Liberty Bell, around 1887 – 1895. 


Compared to the Sittman and Pitt invention, Fey’s machine allowed automatic payouts and had three reels, making it easier to win. 


Charles Fey also made another change, replacing the poker symbols with diamonds, spades, horseshoes, hearts, and liberty bells. Three aligned liberty bells were the highest win, which gave the slot its name. Charles Fey’s invention was so popular that other people began replicating it. 


In 1907, a Chicago native by the name of Herbert Mills made a slot machine very similar to Fey’s. He called it the Operator Bell. Mills is credited as the man who introduced the fruit symbols to gambling, replacing the previously used poker card characters. By 1908, Herbert Mills’ invention was everywhere – from shops and salons to bowling alleys.


Growing demand for slots


The sixties were turbulent in many ways. This particular decade shook a lot of industries, and the casino was no exception.


The early sixties saw the coming of the first electromechanical slot machine, produced by Bally. It was called Money Honey, it did have a lever, and it allowed for a much bigger payout. In the coming years, more casino venues switched to this new type of slot.


The seventies saw the release of the very first video slot. It featured a 19-inch Sony TV, advanced modifications, and cheat-proofing. Initially released in Las Vegas, it quickly spread out to other Nevada casinos.


The video slots got upgraded in the nineties with the release of “Reel ‘Em” by WMS Industries Inc, a video slot featuring a second screen bonus round. Upon hitting the bonus, a new screen appeared with new features and additional payouts. This slot quickly became popular with US-based casinos.


21st-century digitalization


The nineties brought many things, one of them being the internet revolution. With it came online casinos. But it wasn’t until the early to mid-2000s that they really began to generate substantial revenues and attract larger audiences.


Online slots emerged as the most sought-after online casino game, spawning countless variations and themes to answer the ever-growing need for more diverse casino offerings. This spawned slots with 6 reels, exotic layouts, and intricate symbols. The enormous popularity of online casinos prompted the rise of iGaming.


In the same time brick-and-mortar casinos evolved, bringing automated slot machines in a bid to appeal to a younger demographic and diversify their portfolio of casino offerings.


How do slot machines work?


Slot machines comprise of three or more reels, or vertically placed columns with rotating symbols on them. Physical slot machines are limited in the number of reels and symbols, but their digital counterparts could potentially have more reels and a much larger number of symbols offering thousands if not millions of winning combinations (also called “paylines”).


The winning combinations are generated by the Random Number Generator (RNG), which employs sophisticated mathematical formulas when choosing a winning combination. 


Whether a player wins or loses is determined by the RNG the moment they place their bets, and as such is impossible to predict the outcome. Many players believe that winning chances increase if the wager is bigger, but that is not always the case. 


It is possible to enter a bonus level or even a jackpot level with a minimum bet. This depends on the slot’s mechanics.


Types of slot machines


Slot machines come in many shapes and forms, with different features and payouts. They can be classified into several categories.


Progressive Slots


Progressive slots are linked machines that accumulate a joint jackpot. The jackpot increases over time, depending on the coins being played.

Wild Play Slots


Flashy slots, popular for their increased chances of winning thanks to their Wilds acting as substitutes for other symbols. In certain cases, Wilds could open a bonus levels or special game features.


Video Slot Machines


A slot that emulates a real spinning wheel. This particular type of slots could offer a large number of paylines, and an even bigger number of winning combinations. Often, these machines will bring players bonuses in the form of progressive jackpots, free spins, and multiple bonus games.


Touch-Screen Machines 


Since its inception, touch-screen technology found its second home in the casino industry. It was almost immediately implemented as an interaction method in newer slot models. The new slot variants proved quite popular with players who appreciated their slick design and comfortable setup.


3D Slots Machines


Slots offering three-dimensional graphics are a hot commodity these days. The cutscenes and animations look more live-like, the colors are brighter, and in general, these cabinets offer higher engagement thanks to their inconvenient and innovative gameplay mechanics.


VR Slot Machines


One of the most innovative types of slots out there. It offers an immersive and real-like 3D casino experience. Apart from the improved graphics, the VR slots offer a completely new type of multiplayer gambling in which players are thrown directly into the game alongside other participants.


Multi-Game Machines


Multi-game slots offer several different types of games at the same time. These could be any combination of card and dice-based games.


Apart from the aforementioned, there are also classic slot machines with three reels and up to five paylines, and jackpot slots that have higher volatility and much bigger winning chances.


Historically speaking, there are more types of slots that could be found around the world. Vintage enthusiasts could still enjoy Buy-Your-Pay or Single-coin slots offering winnings based on the number of inserted coins. Multiple Payline and Multiplier slots could also be seen, with more generous payouts depending on the coins played. 


Comparisons between online and land-based slots


A lot can be said when comparing brick-and-mortar casinos and online casinos. Not only that these are two different mediums, but both of them offer a different gaming experience.




The most obvious difference is the location. Land-based casinos are sometimes situated in a more remote parts of a city. These casinos usually have a limited choice of games but offer an exquisite ambiance, superior customer service, and numerous other perks for new and regular patrons.


Online casinos are digital mediums that lack many of the features found in a normal casino. They however, rely on a much larger variety of games, slots with 5 or more reels, and winning combinations that could go in the hundreds. 


Online casinos are also much more accessible due to the fact that they can be opened from any desktop and mobile device. 




Brick-and-mortar casinos are lively places, where the action never stops. Their main purpose is to attract and retain visitors with all sorts of entertainment activities – from casino games, to open buffets, happy hour drinks, and in some instances, live music programs.


On the other hand, online casinos lack the glamour of their live counterparts, but instead offers a much larger selection of games, that can be played from the comfort of one’s home, and on any device. 


And all of that without the usual noise and random social interactions at the live casino. On top of that websites could always be muted for a more intimate and silent experience.




Payouts for online casinos are also often exceeding those of a land-based venue, sometimes nearing 98%. Many online casinos also offer lots of bonuses and promotions for first-time and regular players. These might include deposit bonuses, free spins, and cashbacks.


Social factor


One of the charms of brick-and-mortar casinos is the social element. People get a chance to meet and interact with fellow players, get advice from a casino staffer, or get a complimentary drink. Observing the crowd, trying to read them, and generally being part of an exclusive group of people is a feeling like no other.




Land-based casinos take security very seriously. Their staff is well-trained at spotting and preventing any foul-play. Online casinos rely on sophisticated encryption technology, designed to prevent hacker attacks and other malevolent actions on the casino website.


What is a slot machine strategy?


The allure of the live casino pulls thousands each day. Some are first-time visitors – others are regulars with their own intimate good-luck rituals. But all of them go to their preferred casinos with one goal in mind: to win the jackpot


Anyone has a chance of winning if they make an informed decision. Here are a few tips that will help make a choice.


Pick a theme


A first-time casino goer might be intimidated by the vast number of slot machines. And for a good reason. Slots can vary in size, features, themes, payouts, and volatility. Picking the right one could be tricky. 


That’s why choosing a slot that is visually appealing seems like a good first choice. Players these days have an enormous choice of games in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or Fantasy settings.


Don’t rush


Every player has their own strategy for winning. Choosing a slot machine that you feel comfortable with, is the first step to having a memorable and highly entertaining casino experience.


Progressive jackpots, for example, can bring huge winnings thanks to the accumulated winning from all players. 


By starting low players can get familiar with the slot of their choice, its features, and game rules. Over time they will accumulate enough knowledge that will give them the confidence to bigger bets.


Less risk and big payout


A large number of casino slots does not only mean a bigger game and theme variety. Slots also vary in their volatility and RTP. Casino newcomers might want to consider choosing low volatility slots. They might pay less, but the payouts are more frequent. 


It goes without saying that games with more bonus features are better for novice casino players as they offer more replayability in the form of free spins, bonus and progressive jackpot levels, and higher chances of winning. 


It’s always a good idea to get familiar with your chosen slot before making any bets. Check the winning combinations and if needed ask the casino staff for guidance when choosing a slot machine with lower volatility.


Have a game plan


The best way of action would be to have an idea of what they want to achieve and to set a budget. 


Getting frustrated after a loss is normal, but many players know that the key to responsible gaming is knowing when to stop. Having a betting strategy would allow players to bet a certain sum, and cut their losses before things go out of hand. 


Setting a limit on how much to bet and not going above it, will ensure a pleasant and smooth gambling experience without any major money woes.


What are reels?


In short, reels are vertically placed columns with a set number of symbols, that rotate once a lever has been pulled, or after a bet has been made. 


If the symbols all land in specific positions, then this is considered a winning position and might yield a special winning prize, or unlock a bonus feature like free spins or progressive jackpot level.


Normally each reel would have 10 symbols (sometimes more), and slots have between three and five reels, which means that the winning combinations could be 10,000 or way above that number. 


Depending on the number of reels, several different types of slot machines exist:


  • 3-Reel Slots – predominantly seen in vintage casino slot machines
  • 5-Reel Slots – most modern-day slots have 5 reels
  • 6-7-Reels Slots – less common, they offer more bonus features
  • 10-Reel Slots – a large number of payouts and winning combinations
  • Cascade Reels – a novel slot format allowing for Tetris-like symbol appearance


What are odds?


Every casino player’s dream is to find out how to improve their chances of winning at slots. The special software installed on each slot machine ensures the rotation of thousands (or millions) of winning combinations. Casino providers determine the payouts for each combination. 




Slot machines are an indispensable part of every casino floor. Slot machines are crowd-pleasers, attractive to a large and diverse group of people. They are also the most profitable piece of equipment in every casino, generating revenue way above most other casino games.


Since their invention in the 19th century, slot machines have evolved tremendously, incorporating the very latest technological innovations. These machines have transformed the entire casino experience thanks to their wide accessibility and availability, simple game mechanics, and generous winnings.

In this fast-moving world, it’s rare for a company to bring technological innovation and world-class entertainment under one cabinet. Euro Games Technology has not only managed to do that but continues to build upon its gambling heritage. Find their slot portfolio

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