What Was The First Online Slot Game?

Published 19 Oct 2018, 10:13 a.m.

If you are a slots player and you have a thing for history, you would naturally like to know the trivial question, what was the first online slot game. That may be the hardest question to give an answer to from a litany of matters related to online casinos - but, it’s been asked and we feel the urge to explore it and provide you with an answer, no matter how challenging of a task it may be. So here we go, let’s trace back the history of online slots which is condensed in about 25 years - a quarter of a century - an amazing period of time during which this industry has made incredible advanced, pretty much just like anything that is related to technology and the advent of the Internet.

Sifting Through 4000

There are several major challenges in discovering the first ever online slot. The first challenge is, there are currently more than 4000 slots, and that number is rising by the week, as gaming software developers release new titles ever few weeks; considering the number of companies, we are looking at a steady frequency of releases that helps that 4000 number rise consistently. The sheer number of titles makes tracing the first slot game ever a difficult task.

Another challenge is the lack of historic information. Thus far there haven’t been any clues on the matter, so casino historians are left guessing and surmising the answer out of multiple conjunctures based on the first online casino and its offering of games. We do know the first ever slot ever to work as a stand-alone machine, and that is the Liberty Bell that was made by Charles Fey in San Francisco, California. But that doesn’t satisfy the question what was the first online slot game?

Slots Memory Games

Yet another challenge to finding the answer lays in what we could call ‘Moore’s Law’ in regards to slots machines. For those who haven’t been aware, Moore’s Law deals with the advancement of technology by the factor of transistor multiplication. In other words, a computer scientist named Gordon Moore claimed that the power of computational technology will double every two years thanks to the doubling of the output in transistors. And he has been right ever since. Computer memory and processing power have been doubling every two years. Those who had two gigabytes of memory on their personal computers in 1998 saw the computers made in 2000 come with five gigabytes of memory. Now let’s apply this law to online slots.

In the earliest beginnings of online casinos software companies had already been experimenting with slots for the personal computer. They simply had to fine-tune the size of the program and its adaptability across platforms, so that it could be launched online from most computers that fulfill the technical requirements. Now, once the first ever online casino appeared on the internet, it came with several casino games and slots. Whatever the first online slot may have been at that time, it became one of many in the next few months. Once realizing the potentials of online casinos, developers immediately began churning out casino software, and many many online slots along the way. So, the number of slots had expanded, which makes it difficult pinpointing the first slot ever. 

The First Online Casinos In The World

Now let’s jump to some interesting information that help us make the assumptions about what was the first online slot game. When there was an inkling that the internet may become a platform for virtual casinos, there was a vehement resistance from the land casino industry. Who would ever care going into the uncharted territory of the internet in respect to casinos operating on it, when the land casinos were doing excellent! They enjoyed rising numbers of players and revenues, so why bother with some two-bit sites. The various gambling jurisdictions across the United States would never allow any regulation to be altered so as to allow online gambling. 

So, the first authorities that provided the legal framework for online gaming were founded offshore, precisely in Antigua and Barbuda. This is where The Free Trade and Processing Zone Act was passed in 1994 with which island-nations in the Caribbean Sea saw the opportunity of becoming first-adopters in the sense of online casino regulation, so as to be able to provide legal framework and human support to the technology that drove the various games.. 

This was used by one of the most prominent casino software developer in the world - Microgamingand Cryptologic, which was founded as an online money transfer service. Microgaming are the company that claims to have founded the first internet casino to offer real play - meaning - their slots and casino games could be played with real money. Indeed the players could transfer funds to the casino and wager real money. Their casino was called The Gaming Club, which exists to this day.

What Was The First Online Slot Game Released?

Microgaming offered poker, blackjack and roulette games at their casino, but we know nothing about what was the first online slot game. We do know that Microgaming released the very first progressive jackpot slot game in 1998, called Cash Splash and we have information about slots that were released two years after the founding of the first casino where players could play with real cash. 

We know that in 1998 the company released five games: Golden Dragon, Pirates Pradise, Martian Money, Pharaoh's Fortune and Trick or Treat. The next year they released 23 games, which is more than four times the slots from the previous years. This may be telling of the first ever online slot. It may have been one of the titles released in 1996, because on their company information that don't mention having released any online slots in 1994.

Or it could be that the first ever online casino did not have any slots games, but offered casino table and card games instead! That is not a big surprise as perhaps players were accustomed to playing slots at land casinos. In fact, that may well have been the reason. Indeed, who could wrap their mind around the idea of playing a slot game on a dim computer screen? On the other hand, the players could play cards because they were familiar with the concept of video poker and blackjack already.

So if we are looking for what was the first online slot game, it may as well be one of the five Microgaming slots released in 1996 - Claim you welcome bonus right from this page to play some amazing online slots by the renowned developers.


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