Games of chance and equipment for them are very old. Even on the walls of ancient caves primitive drawings, depicting gambling were found. During the excavations of Pompeii dice were found and the word casino comes from the Italian «casini» – «houses» of the Renaissance, in which the Venetians gathered to play the cards and bet.
Compared to traditional equipment, slot-machine is a completely new direction in the developing of gambling. They appeared a century ago and at first were used to play on the small coins. If the gamblers received something in reward, it was the trinkets and sweets.
In 1930 the company Jennings developed a slot machine jackpot, and the prizes were paid not in sweets, but in cash; but, even after they had become a constant attribute of many casinos in Nevada, slot machines still for a long time could not completely avoid status «new». And it is easy to understand from the appearance of «one-armed bandits»: a crack, made in the belly of a typical horse of Wild West, and six-shooter revolver instead of a handle – such a construction appeared in the booming Las Vegas after the Second World War.
The beginning of the era of slot-machines.
In 1963 the company Bally – one of the leaders in the industry with Mills, Jennings and Pace – released the «grandfather» of the modern slot machine. It was a freely rotating drum equipped with an electric bell, electro-mechanical circuit and automated tray for the issuance of money. In turn, mechanical slots gave place to electronic, and they led to the emergence in the first videoslots and slots for the game of poker in mid-1970s.
A new element in the industry – the company International Game Technology – appeared in 1981 and quickly built a system of franchising on its products, releasing a series of videoslots Fortune 1, followed by the family of Fortune 1 Draw Poker to play poker. In 1983 IGT went in history as a manufacturer of the first semiconductor slot machine with a tape-measured drum of the model M Slot.
The first microprocessors, such as installed on M Slot, allowed using in slot-machines light indicators and sounds. Electronics opened opportunities for further improvement of slots: the bets in a few lines, the double game, a game with five barrels and slot machines «Big Bertha» appeared. In addition, usage of microprocessors allowed equipping slots built-in systems of measurement, which gave the possibility to receive «gigantic jackpots». In subsequent years, this concept received the further development.
Slots IGT are gaining strength.
The emergence on the market of gambling slots from IGT coincided with a significant change in the situation of gaming halls of the casino of that period. Lively gaming tables, sung in the first version of the film «Ocean’s eleven friends», appeared to be under threat of displacement from the slots, which provided huge profits. For example, in Nevada, in 1981 the profits from slot machines at first exceeded profit from the gaming tables. With time this trend became more pronounced. In 2006, the winnings on slots amounted to 65.8 per cent of profits of gambling establishments throughout Nevada – more than 8.3 billion dollars.
When slots and large prizes became the norm, gambling houses faced a real invasion of swindlers, who managed to learn the way to control the barrels, to induce them to stop on the winning combination. Responding to such a behavior, the company IGT developed a slot with revolutionary design S Slot.
In the S Slot game was controlled by a microprocessor, which used a random number generator to foresee the outcome on the computer of the machine. In the model of S-Plus this system was further improved, which laid the basis for many modern functions: multi-level progressive winnings, creative links between forms and enhanced features of controlling analysis.
In the modern slot IGT S2000 with rotating drum the successful design underwent further improvements, among which digital stereo sound, lighting of drums, the ability to determine the bets and displays, easy reading can be named. In addition, the developers of IGT equipped the slot with the individual, the fourth bonus barrel, which is used in several games.
The systems of accumulative jackpots in slot machines.
The company IGT improved the system of progressive winnings, developing a system of monitoring of the coverage, which was first used in the new game called «Megabucks», introduced in 1986. In the game «Megabucks» devices from different casino are tied to a single progressive winning, which allows them to offer gamblers larger prizes, than those which they would provide for themselves. Today the concept of the interconnected slots or «MegaJackpots», is used in many games.
Some slots allow people to win a large jackpot, paid in installments during the year,, for instant, the record jackpot in the amount of $39,7 million dollars won in 2003 in the «Megabucks» in one of the casinos of Las Vegas. In other games, which are called «MegaJackpots Instant Winners», winnings are paid immediately after confirmation. The largest jackpot in the history of cheap slot-machines (with bets ranging from 5 cents) – almost $18.8 million dollars – was won in January 2007 in the game «Penny Megabucks» in the casino «Pahrump Nugget» in a rural area in Nevada.
Personalization of slot machines and their development today.
As the number of slots in the halls began to increase people started to differently arrange them the way they can differ from each other. To improve the conditions of service of clients revolving conveyors, where the customers were met by smiling operators, appeared. It allowed speeding up exchanging of banknotes for coins. In the early 1990s revolving conveyors gave place to the casings of banknotes, which freed space for installation of additional slots. To make automatic conveyors more attractive, neon signs – a hallmark of the casino began to appear in the premises. Today neon signs are one of the essential elements of interior decoration of gambling halls.
The video slots with several lines and the ability to determine the bets, slots with four and five barrels and multi-level progressive winnings, slots, offering multiuser products and games for the whole group of gamblers – for example, «Wheel of Fortune Super Spin» are the most popular varieties of slots, which today can be seen in gambling halls around the world. Video slot for the game «Wheel of Fortune Super Spin» has nine game tables, arranged around a large bonus wheel, thanks to which several gamblers can participate in a bonus game.
Besides striving for new entertainments, the development of slots is also stimulated by the problems with their maintenance. The emergence of video games using a few coins meant new problems for engineers, in particular – the necessity to cope with the task of filling of a tray for coins and manual of winnings. As a response to this, the company IGT introduced a system EZ Pay, which allowed the casino to use one of the two forms of payments – coins or cheques.
System EZ Pay solved the problem of frequent overflow of trays for coins, thanks to which the slots began to work much longer (a big plus for the gambling houses). The plus of the system was an easy way to get a winning – a gambler just pressed the button. The system was equipped with new programs for the determination of the bets, which allowed gamblers to determine what sum was prepared for betting – from one cent to $ 25.
The development of slots shifted attention to system and gambler. Gaming systems, which were designed for monitoring the game and facilitating calculation of the winnings, today provide supervision over the entire hall and can contact with other remote systems.
The usage of servers allows the gambler to control the game himself, because the casino may almost instantly reset slot machines from a central server. This excluded the need to spend time and energy on manual switching games for each slot separately. The idea «Guaranteed Play», developed by the IGT in cooperation with the company Walker Digital, will allow gamblers to buy some amount of turns of a drum or hands in a poker game at a common price for the pack.
Just as opening computer networks changed the way of communication over the telephone and through the Internet, these networks will bring changes to the gambling industry. New technologies, which have become available due to open networks, will enable gamblers to have even more fun and thrill, providing an extensive choice of opportunities for entertainment.