Before the internet really took off and let us play pokies from the comfort of our own homes, real world casinos were the home of pokie machines, also known as slots machines. Today's pokies have their roots in one armed bandits and you an still find modern pokie machines with an arm or lever in addition to the spin button.
Charles Fey of San Francisco, California is credited with being the father of the slots machine, inventing the mechanism from which today's real world slots games take their inspiration. Fey devised a machine with three spinning reels that contained a total of five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and the Liberty Bell. These symbols are, of course, still used in numerous slots machines today. The original Liberty Bell slot machine can still be seen at the Liberty Belle Saloon & Restaurant in Reno, Nevada.
There was clearly an appetite for these slots machines and money to be made as more sophisticated slots machines soon followed from manufacturers such as Sittman and Pitt of New York and so called "Trade stimulators" spread quickly throughout America - countertop machines widely used to encourage shoppers to indulge in a game of chance.
In the early 1960s Bally unveiled a slots machine called Money Honey - this was the first fully electromechanical slot machine. The success of this machine led to the increasing predominance of electronic games. The first video slot machine was developed in 1976 under the directions of the Fortune Coin Co. and following approval from the Nevada State Gaming Commission it found popularity in the Las Vegas Strip and downtown casinos.
One of the first titles in Australia to offer a second screen was the "Three Bags Full" game which was released in 1994, around about which time the first online casinos opened and started offering the pure video slot machines. With players playing what is essentially a video game based around an RNG (Random Number Generator) developers such as Microgaming are able to offer more interactive elements such as advanced bonus games, multiple screens and advanced video graphics and animations.
Pokie machines remain incredibly popular with Australian players and generate much controversy (and plenty of tax revenues for the Australian government) and despite on going attempts to more strictly regulate the industry, it looks like pokie machines will continue to be a popular past time with millions of Aussies.