Who invented the video slot machine?

Of course, nowadays, video slot machines are ubiquitous in land-based and online casinos worldwide. Check out any high roller casino, and you’ll understand this to be the case.  However, when the first such machine, ‘Fortune Coin’, was introduced in Las Vegas in 1975, it was viewed with more than a degree of scepticism. Dyed-in-the-wool slot players, accustomed to physical reels falling into line, under mechanical or electromechanical control, simply failed to believe that the new-fangled technology, with no moving parts at all, could possibly produce fair results and the Fortune Coin failed to take off as expected.

The inventor of the Fortune Coin was Walt Fraley, proprietor of the aptly-named Fortune Coin Company, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Fortune Coin was a simple affair; it was a three-reel video slot, built around a modified 19” Sony Trinitron colour television set. ‘Reels’ no longer existed, in the physical sense, and were, in fact, video projections, the finishing positions were determined by a microprocessor and a random number generator (RNG). The Fortune Coin was brilliant in its simplicity and, despite its lukewarm reception, at least initially, by slot players, worked flawlessly.

Obviously, the graphical display of the Fortune Coin was crude by twenty-first century standards, but the potential of the design was recognised by William ‘Si’ Redd, founder of International Game Technology (IGT) and later known as the ‘King of Slot Machines’. A year or so after its original introduction, in 1976, IGT bought the patent for Fortune Coin from Fraley and used it as the basis several new, improved machines, including video poker machines, which further ushered in the age of the video slot. Of course, technology moves on and video slot technology can now been seen on any number of best online casinos around. Online or off, they’re as engrossing and exciting as ever!