The first Slot Machine was invented in the late 1800’s. These machines were mechanical and had only three reels and five symbols. Each reel had 10 notched stops and if the reels stopped with the same symbol in a line, the player won. The reels were controlled by a handle, so pulling it in different ways could affect the outcome.

By the 1960’s, these slot machines were replaced with “electro-mechanical” machines. The handle was now separated from the reels and more symbols were added to each reel.

More symbols and the ability to bet more than one coin resulted in larger jackpots being offered. Larger jackpots, lights, sounds, and improved money handling systems allowed slot machines to become one of the most popular casino games. While these machines were harder to cheat, players could still calculate their odds of winning by counting the number of symbols on each reel and multiplying the results.

This changed with the introduction of video slot machines in the 1970’s. Today’s slot machines are controlled by a computer chip in the machine. Players can no longer influence the outcome. Mechanical and electrical parts have been replaced by a computer chip, ensuring the results are completely random, with winning results impossible to predict.

These machines have thousands of programmed combinations, so players can not figure out the odds of winning by looking at the reels or screen. You can bet multiple coins on multiple lines and you can load your machine with paper money or a “ticket in-ticket out” slip.

All of these changes mean that the speed of play is much faster and the amount a player can bet is much larger – which results in increased profits for the casino and larger losses for the player.

You may hear players say that years ago, slot machines paid out more or that the casinos have tightened up the machines. The reality is that payouts have stayed constant and casinos do not “loosen” or “tighten” slot machines or VLTs.

What probably has changed is the way you play. Next time you play take careful note of how many lines you play, how much you bet per line and how fast you play. These three factors will have a significant impact on how much you spend and what you can expect to lose. You can bet up to $10.00 per spin on a penny machine and up to $50.00 per spin on a nickel machine. Covering all the lines does not increase you chances of winning, it only increases your cost of play. Betting 15 or more times per minutes is considered a fast rate of play.

Control How You Play the Game

  • Set acceptable limits for losses. Betting $1 per spin instead of $2.50 per spin will reduce your cost of play by 150%.
  • Slow down your rate of play. Playing 2 seconds slower will reduce your cost of play by up to $21 per hour if you’re betting $1 per spin.
  • Take frequent breaks to determine how much money and time you have spent gambling.
  • Only gamble with money you can afford to lose, never borrow money to gamble.
  • Never try to win back money you have lost.
  • Limit how often and how long you gamble.
  • Gamble for entertainment, not as a way to make money.
  • Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with problems in your life.

Source – Saskatchewan Health Authority