The first ever slot machines were mechanical by nature and a person would operate these in a very simple fashion. The customer would put their money in a slot, pull a handle attached to the machine and reels with a variety of symbols marked on them, spun in an effort to produce a result. If the symbols lined up in a predetermined way the gambler won money.
Mechanical machines were no more complicated than that, and because of the limited technology of the late 19th and early 20th Century, they could not be linked together in any manner in order for consumers to play for an accumulated jackpot like the progressive slot machines of the late 20th Century.
Progressive slot machines are basically one of two kinds of modern slot machines that now dominate the modern land-based slot machine market. Powered by electricity, they are naturally technologically superior to the now seemingly ancient and much sought-after classic mechanical slot machines.
This superiority is emphasized most in progressive slot machines by their capacity to be linked to other progressive slot machines so that an accumulated jackpot can be won by gamblers playing the same game in a different casino, city or even state.
The jackpot itself accumulates as more and more customers play the same group of machines until somebody spins the correct combination and the jackpot is won. The biggest single jackpot ever won in this manner was over $39,000,000 on Megabucks slots! Some progressive slot machines are played individually, without being linked in to any other machines.
The other kind of modern slot machines are generally referred to as flat tops or straight tops and these machines are pretty much the same as the progressive machines, the only difference being that flat tops reward the winner by a predetermined amount whereas progressive machines have a jackpot that increases by a % of each coin that is played.
Both types of these machines operate in a completely different way to the mechanical slot machines of days gone by. Unlike their predecessors, these machines have a computer chip deep inside their chassis which through a random sequence, decides whether a gambler has won or lost, as soon as the ‘Spin Reels’ button is pressed.
Additionally, flashing buttons and lights are yet another quality of modern slot machines which the mechanical versions lacked although progressive slot machines can be distinguished easily from flat tops by flashing electronic payoff signs displayed either on top of the machines or above a grouping of these same machines.
The computer chip that controls the functioning of the flat top and progressive slot machines is called a random number generator or RNG, for short. The RNG has the ability to churn out thousands of numbers a second and when the button on the machine is pressed by the gambler, the RNG instantly stops on the number it has generated at that precise moment. This determines a win or loss for the player.
Modern slot machines also now accept anything from pennies to one hundred dollar ‘tokens’ although the most common denominations used are quarters, dollars and nickels at the respective machine(s). For those people deemed to be high-rollers, $5, $25 and $100 machines are segregated to special V.I.P areas but these particular machines can only be operated with the use of custom coin tokens or cash bills.
With both modern kinds of slot machine, a limit of two or three coins played at the same time is common although all accept as little as one coin and some may take as many as hundreds at a time.
There are subtle variations when it comes to multiple coin playing machines. The number of coins played is directly proportional to the jackpot. To the dismay of many casual gamblers who miss the clinking sounds of coins raining down into the hopper ( or metal bin ), many modern slot machines no longer accept or payout in real coins. This has mainly been replaced with a system that accepts bills of various denominations and pays out with a paper ticket that can either be played at another machine or redeemed with the assistance of a cashier at the change booth.
One last addition to modern slot machines is that they can offer a variety of side games such as ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ and ‘Monopoly’ or even pinball games which are designed to be played whilst the player gambles.
With the advent of the Internet, a new kind of slot machine became viable to gamblers the world over – Online Slot games. This is gambling on your PC home computer! Online slot games actually operate exactly the same as land-based electronic slot-machines. This is simply because they too work with the computer chip called the random number generator.
This RNG is programmed to generate numbers completely at random, and when the button on-screen is pressed, it stops instantly. Depending on the number sequence, the player wins or loses. So, basically, the RNG that is programmed into online slot games, is the exact same generator that determines the outcome of land-based machines.
One advantage of online slot games is the variety in that many of these online slot games require gamblers to download the games but there are also many games which are available through flash software. This software lets players play online slots without any time-consuming downloading and with all the fantastic graphics and features of downloadable games.
Without a doubt though, the greatest advantage of online slot games is that you can play from the comfort of your own home. This means instead of trekking off to the local casino after work to play in a smoke-filled room, you could just plonk yourself down in front of your computer and there you are, in your very own casino.