There is no question that slot machine technology has evolved greatly over the years and is not about to slow down in the near or distant future. This is also the main reason why the mechanical version, called “reels”, has almost disappeared from gaming establishments, in favor of slot machines controlled by computers and called video or virtual slot machines … and more recently for the benefit of the internet and online gaming platforms.
But in all of this, it is important to note that the game has remained the same on these different models. The principle is therefore to allow the player to pull a lever or engage a button to trigger a rotation of the rollers which generally varies between three and five rollers. These reels with a series of symbols then allow the player to win winnings if a combination of symbols or identical symbols is made on one or more of the paylines defined by the rules.
We therefore invite you to find out what activates the spinning of the reels, whether on modern slot machines or on old mechanical slot machines, in this review. But we won’t stop there as we will also be looking at what actually determines the odds in slots and the different variations of slots that are out there.
The mechanism of slot machines
To better understand the concept, it seems important to us to first explain how the so-called classic slot machine works. It therefore works thanks to a complex combination of levers, but also notches and springs. With regard to the central element, we are talking about a shaft which supports the rollers and which is permanently connected to a lever. The latter operates the slot machine and is regulated by a braking system which stops the reels. Are you following this far? A sensor then communicates the position of the rollers to the payment system while a coin or token detector enables the lever to be released.
There is no doubt that we have just presented here a simplified version of a mechanical slot machine with three reels on a central shaft, a game which is no longer really found in mass in gambling establishments, but whose shaft central also supports three notched discs which are connected to the three rollers.
But if this may seem technical, we must admit that from the player’s point of view, everything is much simpler since he only has to introduce a coin into the slot of the machine and pull the lever to see the reels start to spin and luck activates to offer him… or not… winnings. They stop in fact at a given moment, to then deliver the gain.
From mechanical to electric machines
Over time, these mechanical slot machines were replaced by electric machines. But you should know that these last worked according to the same principle. The difference lies in the fact that in an electric machine the rollers are actuated by motors and the stoppers are generally activated by solenoids. But we must admit that all of this is quite similar and that it is therefore here, and basically, the same principle. Whether in the case of the mechanical slot machine or in the case of the electric slot machine, once the reels have stopped, the machine must imperatively determine the winnings and deliver it to the player.
And since we are talking about the gain, it seems wise to explain now how the latter is determined.
It is important to note that there are actually dozens of ways to determine payoffs. The simplest for old machines is to measure the depth of the notches of the discs of the rollers. It is an ancient, but clever process which allows one notch assigned to the jackpot to be placed more deeply than the other notches in the heart of the machine. But other systems obviously exist. We can find for example a series of metal contacts on the reels, or even play on slot machines which use photoelectric cells then generate a current according to their exposure to light.…