The attraction of slots is almost universal. They’re easy to play, and fun to win. Since the first slot machine, The Liberty Bell, was invented in San Francisco California in 1895 by Charles Fey, slots have captivated billions with their promise of fast cash and good times. Fey, who had a background in mechanics, never would have imagined that over a century later, his machine would be the most popular casino game worldwide.

By today’s standards, Fey’s Liberty Bell slot would have been more than a little underwhelming. It had three spinning wheels that showcased pictures of playing cards, and each reel also featured a picture of a cracked Liberty Bell. If, after pulling the lever, the reel stopped with three bells in a row, the player won the jackpot of a whopping 50 cents. With inflation, you’re looking at an equivalent of just under $15 by today’s standards.

Since these humble beginnings, the history of slot machines has enjoyed much the same trials and tribulations as the history of gambling. They were banned in the early 1990s in the US, they they were again and more recently, they’ve been digitized and brought to the sphere of online casinos. This is where many of us enjoy them today, in all their flashy incarnations.