4 Craziest Facts About the History of Pokies Machines

You must have heard of pokies machines and might have even spent countless hours sitting at one. That is entirely understandable considering that pokies machines have been a huge staple in the entertainment industry all these years. Here are 4 Facts About Pokies Machines.

With their consistent levels of popularity, you can rest assured that they also bring an interesting history to the table.

Here is the amazing history of pokies machines

1- The first gambling machine is traced back to the 1800s

The first gambling machine is traced back to the 1800s
The first gambling machine is traced back to the 1800s

Back in the early times of the 19th century, people in the United States began to realize the great potential profits that could be made from owning and running what today is the casino. One of the early spearheads of the casino industry who brought forth the concept of a “gambling machine” was Charles Fey – a man from Brooklyn, New York. This is one of the 4 Facts About pokies Machines.

This gambling machine wasn’t like the one you see today. This machine was more like a poker machine. It has 5 drums or reels, and each reel can hold 10 cards. Instead of a button that you would press on a pokies machine, you need to pull a lever after inserting money inside the machine.

After which, the drum would spin the cards, and the objective of the game was to land a strong poker hand. The machine would later become more advanced and favorable when it offered the player the chance to deposit unwanted cards and draw for more, almost like you would in a normal poker game.

The rewards that came with these machines wouldn’t be real. The machine didn’t throw money back to the player if the player won, and there were a lot of states that had these machines but were not legal to gamble inside the states’ lines. They would typically win a beer or cocktail, or a cigar/cigarette.

2- Innovations followed

Innovations followed
Innovations followed

The original version of the pokies machine was called the “Liberty Bell”, which was invented in 1895. It was different from the earlier prototype of the “poker machine,” one of the reasons being that his machine had only three reels. It also has a system to allow players to receive an immediate reward that would be dispensed by the machine on winning of the player.

Instead of having reels with different cards, Fey’s machine with 3 reels had a symbol such as a horseshoe or liberty bell on each reel. The symbols would line up in order to hopefully create a winning payout for the player.

Due to the popularity and success based on Fey’s prototype of the first pokies machine, all companies eventually started copying Fey’s idea.

Fey eventually opened The Pokies Machine Factory in 1896. Even though the original “Liberty Bell” machine cannot be played anymore, gambling fans are still able to see the machine at a museum in Reno.

3- Gambling was banned for some time

Gambling was banned for some time
Gambling was banned for some time

Especially when comparing the early styles of pokies machines to the more technologically advanced models; it’s easy to tell that pokies machines have come a long way. It is almost over 100 years.

Aside from the electronic machines adapting a button; modern pokies machines also would stray away from the original 3 reel approach. This is what you would ordinarily find inside your typical modern casino.

The banning of pokies machines brought a new era; which started when Herbert Mills brought forth a new variation of the pokies machine in 1907. His machine introduced the concept of using fruit symbols as the characters for each reel. It rather offered prizes in the form of sweets; such as candy or chewing gum instead of offering awards and cash prizes.

The first new styled electromechanical pokies machine was introduced in 1963, by a famous company in the industry named Bally.

It was called “Money Honey” and featured electronic reels. Still, a pulled lever was required in order to make the reels spin. As the popularity of this machine grew, a button would eventually be used in place of the lever.

4- The online revolution of the 1970s introduced video pokies machines

The online revolution of the 1970s introduced video slot machines
The online revolution of the 1970s introduced video pokies machines

The very first video pokies machine was introduced in 1976. This raised the popularity of pokies machines.

1994 is the year that many enthusiasts would say was the most revolutionary year out of any other year for the pokies machine. The entry of the internet opened doors for the casino industry that many people thought impossible.

By 1996, video pokies machines began incorporating a second screen that provided the player with the potential opportunity to go into a “bonus round.” When you activate a bonus round; an additional new screen would appear that simply gave you the chance to win more. During this time period in the mid to late 90s; this style of pokies machine made up 70% of the total profits earned by all casinos.


It’s just amazing how consistently the US alone has found great pleasure through what used to be such a simple machine. Americans and other people around the world have embraced all of the different concepts and stages of the pokies machine.

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