How many types of slot machines are there? It all depends on how you define them. Is an early Liberty Bell slot machine fundamentally different from a modern-day pub fruit machine, or is it just a distant ancestor on the same family tree?
It doesn’t stop with slot machines, either. There are many different types of gambling machines, including pull-tab machines and quiz machines, where the gameplay is significantly different from that of a one-armed bandit or push-button video fruit machine.
We’ve done our best to settle this debate with our 5 different types of slot machines listed below. In this list, we’re not thinking about other types of gambling machines, or non-gambling applications like vending machines – we’re all about the fruities.
1. Fruit Machines
The modern pub fruit machine has evolved gradually, so it’s hard to say where those early slot machines end and present-day fruities begin.
Nowadays, you’re less likely to see a lever to pull, and more likely to see a start button, three hold/nudge buttons, collect, gamble and cancel, as well as any buttons needed to start the features board.
Fruit machines are usually lit up with flashing lights, and may offer substantial cash prizes, especially on the more tightly regulated casino and club fruit machines.
2. One-Armed Bandits
One-armed bandits are a bit more old-school but deserve their own place on this list as they’re what gave ‘slot’ machines their name.
Early machines would have a single coin rest in a slot, and as you pulled the arm, your coin would drop into the machine and activate the reel-spinning mechanism. No coin, no play.
Modern fruit machines still normally have a coin slot, but your deposit is counted and stored digitally until you play it through. If you pay by banknote or contactless, you might not use a coin slot at all.
3. Multi-Line Slots
You’re no longer limited to just the middle line of the reels in order to win. Multi-line slots allow all kinds of combinations including across the reels, vertical and diagonal winlines, adding to the excitement of seeing where the reels will land.
Some titles include a pay-to-play option for players to increase their wager in order to activate more winlines, with different prize levels to match.
4. Video Slots
Video slots have become a category all of their own, with fully animated and interactive video displays to support feature play.
This has blurred the boundary between traditional fruit machine gameplay and classic casino games like roulette, as well as a whole host of innovative and unique video features.
Some video fruit machines even feature quiz machine gameplay, again combining players’ favourite elements from different formats.
5. Progressive Jackpots
A progressive jackpot takes a small percentage of each stake and adds it to a rolling total, which continues to grow until it is won (or until it reaches a stated maximum payout).
The result is high-stakes gambling for a relatively small wager, especially in places like Las Vegas where the biggest progressives can make millionaires from a $1 stake.
We’ve tried to put the whole spectrum of pub and club fruit machines into just five categories – and we know it’s not perfect! Do you agree that these are five of the main types of slot machines, or have we missed something?