The majority of all gamblers have at one point thought about the origins of slot machines, which is probably what led you here to this article. I felt an urge to create some sort of timeline for slot machines in general, mainly to make some research and learn things but also to share it with you guys! I did my best to keep this casino article short and concise to paint a clear picture of the slot machine’s history, my main source is Wikipedia and I hope that you will enjoy your reading.
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The First Gambling Machine
The first recorded “gambling machine” was first invented during 1891 in Brooklyn by Sittman and Pitt. Players could enjoy this poker-based machine by inserting a nickel and pulling a lever (one armed bandit). Different pubs and taverns would have one of these machines in the bar, but believe it or not – with no payout function. Players would usually be rewarded with beer, whiskey, cigars and similar by the bar/pub owner in case of a win.
At the end of the 19th century, in the early 1890’s to be precise, Mr Charles Fey came up with a three-reeled slot machine where three bell symbols gave the maximum payout, hence it’s name Liberty Bell. Many since then have copied the concept of high-valued bells in slot machines. Mr Fey even had trouble to keep up with the production when gambling became illegal in his home state California in the beginning of the 20th century. The prohibition forced many gambling entities out to the renowned Mississippi river.
Fast forward to the 1970’s where the first video slots came out at the end of the 70’s, around the same time as the microchip technology boomed. The man to innovate the slot machines was named Walt Fraley, the creator of video slots. The International Game Technology, IGT, already existed at this time and seized an interesting opportunity by purchasing the slot manufacturer of Walt Fraley’s slot machine Fortune Coin. IGT are still creating innovative online slots.
Progressive slot machines is another word for jackpot slots where a prize pool is gradually built up by collecting fractions of every bet placed in the slot machine. Progressive slots had no possibility to exist before the first video slot came out. The first progressive slot machine on record is the game Megabucks from IGT, year 1986. The highest jackpot payout was issued 25 years later in Spain, when one lucky gambler one €720 million through the Spanish Christmas Lottery!
The Double or Nothing/Gamble Feature
It’s hard to know exactly when the Gamble feature was first implemented in slot machines, but it is expected to have been in the 80’s. The Gamble feature allow players to re-stake their winnings for a 50/50% chance to double up or lose the winnings. The first Gamble feature was called Double or Nothing, which obviously is a self-explanatory definition.
Two happy jackpot winners celebrating their big win.
The first bonus feature in video slots
Reel ‘Em In is a 20+ year-old slot machine from the WMS studios, which are known as Scientific Games nowadays. This slot machine is the first video slot on record with a bonus feature in a second screen, presented after a bonus feature has been triggered.
The players nowadays aren’t the same as the players who played back in the days. People have less patience nowadays in general, resulting in more players using the Autoplay function in the video slots online while making a coffee or while having some drinks with some friends on a Friday night. The Autoplay feature is become more sophisticated these days due to the additional setting they offer, to stop the Autoplay if the free spin or bonus feature is triggered.
Live Casino – Real Dealers
Live casinos became very popular instantly after being offered around 2010. The live casino games offer a unique experience for every player who like roulette, blackjack and the other table games. Many players have a hard time trusting slot machines because they never see a physical deck of cards but the launch of live casinos quickly changed that. The live casinos are
The Currently Biggest Gambling operators online
I’ve chosen to include some of the biggest and most interesting gambling operators that can be found online. Some gambling operators have existed for half a century while other companies were created a few years ago. There’s a big sea of operators to choose from, but it’s extremely hard to know which one will suit you best. A few operators are known for offering great products, others for being the biggest and some for being the most popular. We are all different which is why we appreciate different things in life, and casinos too. Below you’ll find a couple of brands that you probably heard of before, but hopefully you’ll learn something new! Enjoy.
Founded 1997, Israeli-owned by the brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked. The company operates multiple high-valued gambling sites all over the world and had an annual revenue of $455 million in the year 2014.
The Irish giant PaddyPower opened shop in 1988 and reported a revenue of €881 million in 2014. PaddyPower is one of the companies who mainly offer Playtech games, allowing the Israeli-owned Playtech to secure a big majority of all casino revenue on the site. Paddy Power have become known for their controversial marketing stunts, often placing outdoor billboards at opportune locations around the UK.
Amaya is actually a Canadian gambling company with their headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. These enthusiasts are relatively unknown to UK players, yet they are the biggest (publicly listed) gambling company in the world. Amaya became the biggest gambling operator in 2014 when Amaya Inc purchased the parent company of PokerStars & Full Tilt Poker. Amaya mainly offer gambling products to the US and Asia.
The GVC Holdings PLC is the successor of the Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment in Isle of Man. The company had €247.7 million in revenue in the year 2015. GVC Holdings was actually founded in 2004 in Luxembourg, under the name Gaming VC Holdings.
Net-Ent is a game provider with 700+ employees around the world and was founded 1996 in Sweden. Net-Ent’s live casino product was launched in 2013 and they handled 21.4 billion game transactions during the year 2014. Net-Ent have offices in Sweden, Ukraine, Gibraltar, America, Poland and Malta.
The Unibet Group was founded in 1997 and reported a revenue of £354 million in 2015. Unibet is known in Sweden for their aggressive marketing as they bought 100% of the ad times in the Swedish TV during various sport events – preventing other competitors to advertise their products. Unibet does offer gambling services on basically every possible gambling product and their sportsbook odds are very competitive. The Unibet Group changed name to the Kindred Group in 2016.
Betsson is a gambling site with multiple white-labels. These guys reported a revenue of €402 million during 2015, making Betsson one of the most profitable gambling operators out there. The company was founded in 1963 and runs the following brands: betsafe, casinoeuro, nordicbet, krooncasino & more… changed name to the Kindred Group in 2016.
Betfair was founded quickly after the millennium, during year 2000 by Andrew Black & Ed Wray. Betfair has been under a Gibraltar licence since 2011 and the company have had many owners throughout the years, until it was bought by PaddyPower in February 2016 for an incredible amount, £5 billion!
Playtech was founded in 1999 by Teddy Sagi from Israel and the company is operating from the Isle of Man, a self-governing territory between England and Ireland using GBP as currency. Playtech had a €630 million revenue in 2015. This company have 5000+ employees in 13 different countries such as Russia, Israel, Phillippines and Bulgaria.
The current pioneers of the online casino business is Casumo, without a doubt. The company was founded in late 2012, offering the first “casino adventure” out there. The Casumo Adventure allow you to experience a parallel universe while enjoying great slot machines. Casumo claims to exist to erase the boredom here on Tellus. Their young and innovative approach makes them one of the most agile operators in the business.
William Hill plc is one of the oldest and biggest UK bookmakers. This company has been around since 1934, allowing them lots of time to establish a great position compared to their competitors. William Hill reported a revenue at roughly £1.6 billion for the year 2015. There are 16,000 employees working in the different offices, but it’s worth mentioning that there have been multiple cases where William Hill was criticized for how they were treating their employees.
The Future of Online Gambling
I have a feeling that there will be more than 1 factor that will determine the future of gambling, online or not. New technologies are booming, slots are being innovated and more game providers are available nowadays. I’ve listed some options that I find relatively likely to lead the way for the future online gambling. There’s a vast sea of gambling operators out there, meaning that there will always be too many sites to choose from. With this in mind, you make a clever choice by making proper research on where you want to spend your money and what your money will be spent on after you’ve paid for your experience. Spending my deposits on genuine gambling sites allow me to promote innovation and be the change I want to see in the world.
Do you own a pair of Oculus Rift goggles? Well, then you should check out a casino that offers Virtual Reality gambling. This is a new genre in the gambling industry and some expect this product to grow by approximately 800% in 5 years, although it’s an extremely tricky thing to predict. I’ve tried using a set of Oculus Rift once and it honestly freaked me out a bit. I can imagine that Virtual Reality might play a huge role in the future of gambling, but life has taught me to take nothing for granted. I believe that the smartest thing to do is to give Virtual Reality another year or two to see how the cards unfolds.
Gamification is an interesting concept which have been implemented and integrated in many businesses around the globe. Our human brain is programmed to love games, if they are money-based or not doesn’t really matter. More companies are slowly realizing that a majority of their users will appreciate a gamified experience, allowing users to compare their progress and start sharing stories about the experience. Casumo are the gamification pioneers of the gambling industry by offering a truly innovated casino experience with 180 levels and multiple planets.
Many players are trying to find the jackpot of their lives, with hopes to get infinite opportunities in real life. The amount of jackpot players have increased a lot in the past, allowing you to find multiple jackpot slots from most game providers out there. The jackpot slots have always had a huge impact on the casino world and I wouldn’t be surprised to see casino sites in the future who only offer jackpot slots in their game selection.
Usually when speaking about online gambling, someone mentions gambling problems and the backsides of it. That’s why I believe that “Social Gambling” will play a major role in the future – to prevent individuals to play alone to chase potential losses. By saying “Social Gambling”, I refer to bingo and pool betting, but also casino adventures like the Casumo adventure where players can compare their progress with other players. A public progress provides indicators to see if a player might be playing too much.
Skill-Based Games (live casino & table games)
We’ve all been told that the casino games are all based on chance, which is true but you can still choose to sit down at a skill-based game where you as a player can affect the outcome of your gameplay by using skill and intelligence! Blackjack is considered to be a skill-based game together with Poker and other card games as you can make decisions based on the probability of getting card X or Y.
Although I’d love to see the gambling industry to be forged based on demand rather than regulations, it’s not my decision. Each country has different laws when it comes to gambling, online or not. The Danish, Italian & German markets are perfect examples of regulated markets. These markets have been regulated by the country, the regulations prevent gambling operators from offering exactly the same products globally which is usually the reason to why gambling operators actively choose to only offer their products globally (without making specific changes to every market). Complex country regulations are successfully keeping gambling operators away from tricky countries.
New ideas can be innovated and implemented through skilled third parties who are specialized in specific areas. I do however believe that the in-house innovation will determine if gambling operators will continue growing or start falling apart. This apply to all departments of a gambling operator as every innovation becomes an edge against the competitors, survival of the fittest.
The gambling industry has always been known for their notorious retention offers to old players, but I personally believe that the future of the gambling industry will mainly be determined by internal retention at each gambling company. Gambling operators with a high turnover of employees are the companies that will have a decline in excellence over time. Ultimately, a creative culture will be able to offer the best gambling experience out there.
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