While this is just a brief history of online slots and how they’ve changed, the industry and physical slot machines have been around since 1895. Back then, Charles Fey from San Francisco created the first-ever slot machine, dubbed the Liberty Bell. The machine was mechanical and offered a jackpot of 50 cents if a player lined up all three liberty bells on the reels. 

The popularity of slot machines went gangbusters, with the machines continuing to develop over the next several decades alongside the advancements of modern technology. As the casino industry advanced, online casinos like Planet 7 Oz were created and thus the migration of players flocking to play online slots instead begun.

The Beginning of Online Casinos

While there are so many online casino players in countries like Australia or the United States of America, not many players actually know the exact origin of the online casino.

While the first online casino was established in 1996, it was back in 1994 when things truly kicked off.

What started this global phenomenon was the regulation of online gaming through the Free Trade and Processing Act of the little Caribbean nation, Barbuda and Antigua.

This small but significant island began providing licences to companies that expressed an interest in offering online gambling services, and thus the first-ever online casino was born – InterCasino, which has gone on to pay out over $4.3 billion in real money winnings.

The Online Casino Industry Boomed

The industry picked up very quickly in 1996 as people began to believe in the power of the internet and online casino gambling.

The Mohawk Territory Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established to regulate and provide licences for poker rooms and online casinos. Plus, a Swedish based developer (which has gone on to become one of the premier software providers) by the name of NetEnt launched, providing online casinos with innovative slots and casino games that players were instantly drawn to.

By 1996, Microgaming had launched as a casino software provider, based in the Isle of Man (an island off the coast, wedged between Ireland and England).

In 1997, just a year after the online gambling industry got started, the number of online casinos increased from 15 (in the first year) to more than over 200. 

But that isn’t even the most impressive feat, as back in 1998 a report was published by the  prominent market research company Frost & Sullivan, which indicated that the online casino revenues had already exceeded $830 million USD (only in 1998!), which would be equivalent of $1.3 billion USD in 2019 (if you include inflation).

How Online Slots Have Changed Throughout History

Over the past two decades, online casinos have seen enormous growth, with the industry estimated to be currently worth $67 billion globally and expected to reach a value of more than $137 billion by 2024.

The underlying success of the industry has been propped up by the popularity of online slots. Which had the added benefit of being continuously innovative, with software providers always developing exciting new online slots.

Becoming More Than Just a Slot Machine

While the very first slot machines were nicknamed the fruit machines (the three-reel machines depicted pictures of fruits) for their basic foundations, slot machines of today are a jack-of-all-trades and give players animated visuals, theme-driven stories, and bonus rounds or features outside of the once-standard heads or tails, all-or-nothing bet.

The progressive slot machines of the casino industry have their own storylines which help to draw players in, giving players something to relate to or feel attached to by sharing familiarity with hobbies or interests.

Online Slots With More Ways to Win

What started out as a basic three-reel mechanical machine with a simple 50c payout has now become a global sensation offering players 243 ways to win with the most popular five-reel betting patterns.

In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for some of the more innovative online slots to offer players 1,024 ways to win on every spin.

Some online casinos also offer players the chance to play online slots with progressive jackpots, which are games that are linked with other sessions of the game (from the software provider) across the casino network, offering a chance to land a massive jackpot.

These progressive jackpots have sometimes been in the millions thanks to the enormous volume of player sessions, which makes it more important than ever  that players use the best practices to win on the pokies.
Now, not all online gamblers enjoy playing slots, but the proof is in the pudding. Online slots have lifted this enormous industry, and as long as players keep logging into reputable online casinos like Planet 7 Oz, software providers like NetEnt will continue creating legendary games that are worth placing real money bets on

Kevin Wellington
Kevin Wellington is a freelance writer whose favorite topics are casinos (online and land-based), travel, and food. When he’s not contributing to Planet 7 Oz, he’s out trying to convert Millennials from phone zombies to surfers, mainly by chucking them into the sea, smartphones and all.
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