Were Slot Machines Ever Banned?

Were Slot Machines Ever Banned?


No matter which online slot sites you visit, it is inevitable to be greeted by a lobby full of hundreds of online slot machines packed with varying bonus rounds, multipliers, and intriguing themes. Full of lights and with soothing color combinations and sounds, these machines promise casino lovers a quick and easy winning opportunity, which is why they have stood out as one of the most cherished games for more than a century now.

But have you ever wondered where these machines actually came from and did they ever get banned altogether? And why? Let’s find out.

The First Slot Machine

The oldest versions of the slot machine date back to the 1880s in America and the first machine was known as The Poker Machine, developed by Sittman and Pit brothers in 1891. However, the issue with this machine was that it couldn’t give out any kind of prize on its own; instead, the lucky winners were awarded at the bar with drinks and cigars.

An American car mechanic later picked Charles August Fey’s concept, credited with creating the first modern version of these machines. FroHe developed the classic design from native San Francisco: a 3 reel machine with an inbuilt coin dispenser that is used to pay the players automatically.

The original machines were entirely used to automatically pay the players mechanical. The players are required to lower a coin in a coin slot and pull down on a lever to set the reels for a spin. This design remained valid for almost a century as it wasn’t until 1976 that we had the first digital slot machine.

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Popularity and Bans

By the dawn of the 20th century, slot machines had gained great popularity in America, as they were already capable of dispensing monetary prizes and accepting coins automatically. In 1916, the Jackpot Machines concept was invented, whereby certain winning combinations activated bells upon which the machine released all the coins inside at once.

However, around this time, stricter gambling laws began to be adopted in different states of the American Union. Slot machines were banned in San Francisco, so the factories where they produced them had to quickly relocate to Chicago.

To circumvent these laws, many slot machines were disguised as gum dispensing machines. One of the ways this was accomplished was by swapping the symbols for images of fruit (to denote different flavors of chewing gum), a design that remains popular to this day.

Slot machines entered the UK somewhere around in the 1920s, after the world war and since then haven’t been banned. However, the gambling laws in Queen’s land make it illegal for online casinos to offer demo slots. Besides, slot developers in the UK are also banned from including such sounds and graphics in the games, which gives an illusion of winning when the result is equal or lower than the stakes. Moreover, the slot features that tend to speed up the spins are also banned in the UK.