Gambling is as old as mankind itself. People have always enjoyed playing games of chance, and it’s no wonder that the development and progress of gambling games went hand in hand with the progress of technology in general. We guess that there is something about the uncertainty of gambling that has always been so appealing to humans due to our eternal obsession with predestination and free will. As much as humans value their free will, there is always something tempting and attractive in handling the steering wheel to wild luck. We guess that it’s in human nature to enjoy exploring luck and chance and to believe in predestination.
We can see from the history of gambling that people used every technological progress to make their favorite games of chance more fun, more visually appealing, and more convenient for use. The aspect of convenience went so far that you can now play your favorite slot games on your phone from home, on vacation, or while on a train or bus. The development of gambling followed the development of engineering, and later, software engineering, step by step since the creation of the first mechanical slot machine. It’s very intriguing to consider this fact and think about the natural human fascination with “acts of fate.” Each occurrence, event, achievement in our life comes after a chain of events that has led to it.
However, the idea that some events happen for no apparent reason intrigued humans to the point of utter fascination. We guess that this obsession with “mystical,” unexplainable causes of a certain event derive merely from a lack of knowledge, facts, and information about the causes that led to the event. But who are we to judge? Sometimes, it’s not just acceptable but essential to let someone enjoy the idea that there is some spark of “magical” in our existence. After all, people have always found the idea of the “deus ex machina” salvation from the everyday monotony appealing. Maybe it was exactly this natural human need to simply let go and try to live by the rules other than “cause-action-reaction” that was the cradle of gambling.
But enough about human nature, let’s get back to the history of slots. We shall begin our story with the very beginning of the first slot machine in history.
The Humble Beginnings of One-Armed Bandit
The first-ever gambling machine was created in the heart of the city of New York in 1891. This machine was created by Sittman and Pitt Company, and it was designed to be a poker machine. This company is an absolute pioneer in making gambling machines. Sittman and Pitt’s invention soon conquered the bars all over the country, and many Americans enjoyed trying out their luck against the machine. This poker machine was designed to have a decent house edge by a very simple trick — the inventors simply didn’t include the jack of hearts and the ten of spades in the machines’ decks. At the end of the 19th century, Americans usually played on these poker machines for drinks and cigars, not money.
At a similar time when this poker machine was invented, in sunny California, another revolutionary design was coming to life. At the end of the 19th century, the city of San Francisco granted Americans one more gambling device — the first three-reel slot machine. It’s not certain when exactly the first slot machine was made, but many think that it was created a year or two after the first poker machine. The inventor of this first mechanical slot was Charles Augustus Fey, a successful mechanic, and entrepreneur. This first mechanical slot was named Liberty Bell because getting three Liberty Bells in line meant jackpot. Charles Fey designed the machine to show four other symbols apart from the “lucky” Liberty Bell. These symbols were a diamond, heart, spade, and horseshoe. The Liberty Bell machine did pay real money, so it was the first gambling device that would pay out real cash.
The late 20th century brought a boom of mechanical, and later, electronic, gambling machines. In the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, you could find casinos all over the U.S. full of various slot and poker machines. Nineteenth-century gambling, in the form of playing poker in saloons, eventually evolved to gambling at loud, crowded, and luxurious 20th-century Las Vegas casinos, full of slot and poker machines. Just decades after the slot machine was invented, the sound of coins falling out of a slot became synonymous with gambling, luck, jackpots, and riches!
However, as we all know, the progress of gambling games, devices, machines, and other things that casinos offer, didn’t stop here. As we have mentioned before, the development of gambling was never behind the development of technology — the invention of the internet opened a door to a whole new form of gambling. The ’90s brought us the possibility of online gaming, and the world of gambling was changed forever! So, let’s see who were the Sittman and Pitt Company of online gambling!
Microgaming and the Birth of Online Slots
The first online slots were designed, developed, and launched into the virtual world by Microgaming. The first online casino that offered Microgaming’s slot games started welcoming users back in the year of 1994. During the mid-90s, online slot games gained worldwide popularity, and the demand for new game designs was rapidly growing over the years. At the beginning of the ’00s, online slots became a global sensation, and soon, many developing companies recognized the opportunities that the online gambling market started to offer. By 2012, online slots became a multibillion-dollar business.
Microgaming company continued with their pioneering work, and in 1998, they launched the first game that had a progressive jackpot. The game was called Cash Splash, and it set the new standards for online slot gaming. As technology progressed, and the market grew, Microgaming started coding in HTML5, .NET, C#, C++, and Java. These languages ensured fast and fun games that are available both for download and online, in an instant play version. Now, if you think that Microgaming was first only when it came to inventing online slots and coding the first game with a progressive jackpot, you are wrong. This company was also a pioneer in bringing slot games to mobile phones, and they did that back in early 2004. So, the company was also the first one to create mobile casino software.
What Does the Future Hold
Microgaming was a company that set the standards, and more or less, designed the whole online gaming market as it is today. Nowadays, the virtual world of gambling offers thousands of slots, video poker games, and progressive slots, with countless themes and designs. Today, people all over the globe can spin the reels on a slot by simply taking their phone out of their pocket and opening an app. This level of convenience couldn’t be imagined without the code that Microgaming wrote in 1994.
Now, when one looks at the history and progress of slots, they can’t help but wonder what comes next. It seems that the world of gambling doesn’t let any new possibilities offered by technological progress go by unnoticed, unexplored, and unadopted. Having this in mind, one could wonder what new technological advancement is going to find its way into the realm of gambling. Online casinos always follow current trends, and one of the latest ones was acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a payment method. So, what will be the next trend? Will VR games experience global popularity? We know that this technology has already been developed, and by no other than (you guessed it) Microgaming company.
Maybe one of the future gambling trends will have something to do with the advancement of virtual (VR), augmented (AR), and mixed reality (MR). Maybe new trends won’t be just about aesthetics and player-experience, but also about improvements in the areas of convenience, payment methods, and overall customer satisfaction. Maybe companies will focus more on animation and original artwork. Also, what if some kind of custom-made slots become a trend? That could happen. However, whatever new gambling trend might come, it will probably arrive soon. We assume this, naturally, since the progress of online gambling until now has been extremely rapid, diverse, and original.