Las Vegas Icons: The history of slot machines
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The very first slot machine was made in New York back in 1891. The game featured 50 playing cards and can be operated with a nickel. To win, a player must end up with a five-card poker hand. Unlike modern-day slot machines, the first machine wasn’t capable of instantly paying out to winners so winnings were paid at the bar. Given this flexibility, bar owners would often give non-monetary prizes like free drinks or cigars.
The first slot machine that did payout winners came in 1895. Instead of five drums, this machine showed icons in three separate reels. If a player were able to come up with three matching symbols, they would win a certain amount of money. This model was the one that everyone ended up copying, explains Stacey L. Tokunaga.
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The modern slot machine would only be invented in 1964. While the reels were operated electrically, the lever remained a part of the machine. According to Stacey L. Tokunaga, pulling a slot machine’s lever is one of the many charming aspects of slot machines.