Although prototypes of mechanical slot machines existed since at least 1870s, Charles August Fey, 1862 – 1944, a German inventor and entrepreneur who moved to United States in 1885, is credited with the invention of now traditional three reel slot machine. He dedicated his life to "slots" and to making slot machine the worldwide commercial success it is today. Charles Fey built his slot machine in 1895 in the basement of his house in San Francisco. He placed several slot machines at different locations in San Francisco and did so well financially with them that he stopped his involvement in other businesses (he ran an electrical supply company) and concentrating on perfecting and manufacturing slot machines instead.
The Liberty Bell, Fey’s first commercial three-reel slot machine, is considered to be the predecessor of all modern slot machines. Liberty Bell slot machine had three reels and each reel operated independently of each other; reels stopped in sequence one after another. Each reel had ten symbols each representing a full stop. The machine could produce one thousand different combinations (10x10x10 = 1000). Three specific symbols had to line up on a payline to win the jackpot. This is the basic principle on which modern reel slot machines also operate. In 1896 Charles Fey opened a slot machine factory which was subsequently destroyed in the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. In 1901, Charles Fey designed and manufactured mechanical poker slot machine, the precursor of today’s ubiquitous electronic poker games. Slot machines in California were semi-legal; winning money and the method of payment made the use of slot machines illegal. To circumvent anti-gambling laws, slot machines were called vending machines and they were designed to disperse chewing gum. Fruit and confectionery symbols such as cherries, melons, oranges and bars on reels of modern slot machines is a reminder of the first slot machines' uneasy relationship with the law. Although all slot machines were eventually banned in California, Charles Fey continued to make them illegally and he was even arrested and fined.
During the 1930's use of slot machines spread throughout the United States, and in the late 1940's slot machines appeared at the Flamingo Hilton hotel in Las Vegas. Although originally the purpose of slot machines in casinos was entertainment for wives and girlfriends of high-rolling casino patrons, with time revenue from slots exceeded that of table games and by mid 1990s slot machines generated over two thirds of casino income in the United States. Modern slot machines are electronic and may have up to five reels and several paylines.
Slot machines are extremely popular because they require no social interaction of any kind, they often offer high payout ratio in relation to the original bet, and, perhaps most importantly, unlike table games, slot machines allow players to play at his or her pace. A common misconception about slot machines is that they require no skills to play and that all of them are the same. This is the reason why most people lose money when playing slots. In order to understand how modern slot machines work and to learn winning strategies of playing slots and making them pay, you should order Winning at Slots video.