Slot machines may have been invented in the USA, but the UK has done its fair share in helping the game progress and evolve over the years. As technology advanced and turned the slot machine from a hand-pulled machine into an electrical extravaganza, British pubs helped to spread the word by making them available to customers. For this reason, a number of slot developers emerged from the country. Some of these are still major players in the booming online slots scene that exists to this day.
How Slots Became a Mainstay in British Culture
Up until the 1960s there was a law in the UK that said all gambling games required a certain level of skill. This all changed, though, when word spread of the popularity of slot machines across the Atlantic. BusinessesMove to Trash in Britain seized on the idea of bringing over the slot machine, and it became a mainstay of arcades up and down the land. It was also found to be a popular option for customers in pubs, and swiftly became as well loved as darts or pool.
Indeed, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, slot machines became ubiquitous in drinking establishments across the country. They quickly became known as fruit machines, harking back to the early offerings that would always have cherries and lemons on the reels. Fruit machines became more advanced at this time, and were almost always electrically operated. Additional features emerged as well. Players could choose to play side games that would pay out different amounts, or they could gamble their way all the way up to the jackpot.
Developers began to create games that they knew would appeal to the British public. This brought in an era of themed games that were based on huge names in popular culture. For example, slot games with Bullseye and Deal or No Deal themes were highly prevalent and attracted a lot of players. Many of the top British slots developers started out making fruit machines. The biggest names in the business now are the ones that made the transition to online slots in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Microgaming is one of the oldest players in the online casino industry, and holds the claim to having created the first platform for online gambling. The company has been going since 1994, and has spent its entire history working on online casino games. Its headquarters are in the Isle of Man, but this is a brand that is known by casino players worldwide. It is renowned for being one of the leaders in the slots market, but has also worked on the evolution of online table games.
The company has created dozens of slot titles including Lucky Twins, Xcalibur or The Jungle, but Microgaming is arguably most famous for creating the Mega Moolah slot. This was one of the first progressive slots ever made, and it pioneered the concept of integrating all the games on a network. This meant that there was a rolling prize pool generated by all the people playing the slot at the same time. It would randomly pay out to a lucky winner, and some of the jackpots have broken records.
Mega Moolah made the news in 2009 for paying out more than £5 million to one lucky player. More recently, in 2015, it dished out over £13 million to a British soldier and set a Guinness world record. The game has proven to be so popular that it has led to a franchise, with other games cropping up such as Absolootly Mad Mega Moolah.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mb4LgC-UYr4″ title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
IGT, otherwise known as International Game Technology, is another massive online casino software provider that was founded in the UK. The company has its headquarters in London, but also has offices in major cities across the world including Rome and Las Vegas. IGT is known for creating content for online casinos and real-world locations. In addition to the plethora of online slots in its catalogue, it has developed innovative machines for land-based casinos. Indeed, the company is the largest slot machine manufacturer in the world.
IGT is credited with being one of the main companies pushing forward the evolution of online casino technology. Its latest ground-breaking development is its Hold & Spin games that are also linked with progressive jackpots. Some of IGT’s most famous games include Cleopatra and Da Vinci Diamonds. These are available as free slots, along with other IGT titles like Double Diamond and Golden Goddess. Customers can play them with free credits first in order to get the hang of them. They can then choose whether they want to continue with real money.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/wPxIYENdTus” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
Another hugely popular slot provider in the UK is Aristocrat. The company was actually founded in Australia in the 1950s, but it opened its London office in the 1980s. It is the second-largest slot machine provider in the world behind IGT. After dominating the land-based casino industry for many years, it wisely made the switch to digital games when online casinos started to rise in popularity.
Some of Aristocrat’s best-known games include Geisha, Tiki Torch, and Queen of the Nile. It has a tendency to create epic games that reflect different cultures and periods of history. Its eclectic mix has something that will suit most players.
Of course, there are other great slot developers from different countries, such as Konami and its sucessful China Shores slot, or WMS with their famous Zeus title. But developers with origins or headquarters in the UK would probably appeal most to British players. It seems that slots will always be a quintessential part of British culture.