The most vivid picture I have of a casino is the classic Twilight Zone episode, The Fever. In it, a couple, Franklin and Flora Gibbs go to Las Vegas, not that Franklin wants to go, until he is forced to use one of the slot machines and he forms a gambling obsession manifested by the “jackpot slot machine”.
It’s the standard Twilight Zone affair, with the message of moderating one’s joys in life. It is worth a watch if you can find it. Granted, the acting is bad and the story is rather predictable. However, like most Twilight Zone episodes, it always has something going for it that makes the story worthwhile. In this case, it is the slot machine that plagues Franklins mind.
It’s an alluring slot machine. Even if the show is in black and white, you can just imagine how it bright it would be. Standing out from the Blackjack and Poker tables in the room.
Is that not always the case with casinos though?
Slots, I’ve always found to have an alluring power to them. They require no dealer; it is just a machine. Sometimes they having flashing lights but even if they don’t, you can always be drawn to them. Why not? Unlike Poker and Blackjack, it requires you to simple insert one coin (well, most of the time) in the slot and wait for the result. A game almost anyone can do.
There are many different variations of the slots. You have your classic one arm bandits, the multipliers, Big Berthas, which are by far the most iconic in Las Vegas. And then we have more modern iterations such as touch screen slots, multi-game multi player slots, and of course, online slots.
I was shocked to see the first slot machine invented by Charles Fey in 1887. “The Liberty Bell” as it is dubbed. It looks rather, well, the same as many other modern slots machines. Not as bright and the reels aren’t as colourful as many modern iterations but it is the basic concept as a whole. Compare this to other inventions like the first typewriter, which is vastly different to any other modern iterations of the typewriter. It just goes to show that you can’t, and shouldn’t improve, on the simple things. A complicated slot machine would ruin the slot machine.
Slots are so simple I think people forget just how important they are in a casino. Heck, without them, most casinos wouldn’t be going. Since they provide much of the revenue for a casino (though that is on the wane as people move digitally) and they would be better pretty empty without them since they make much of filler stalls for a casino. To say the least, the slot machine is as integral to the casino as the shining signs are, or swing music. Slots make a casino a casino what it is today be that both Online Casinos or Land Based Casinos. Without them, it just isn’t a casino. It is just that integral to the feel. Slots are, as the title suggests, the backbone of the Casino culture.