While this is a website dedicated to the fast-moving world of online slot machines, that term was for many years alien to those outside the United States. In the United Kingdom the fruit machine was, and still is, the gambling machine of choice in pubs, bars and arcades across the country. In this article we’re going to take a brief look at the history and evolution of the fruit machine in the UK.
It’s worth mentioning right away that slot machines are well known in the UK and always have been but they are present only in casinos. This harks back to a time when gambling machines such as these were restricted to casinos and those who wanted to play these US manufactured games would have to visit those establishments. You can read the history of slot machines here.
So there was a need for a style of machine which didn’t pay out cash as a reward, meaning it would not be liable to the same gaming restrictions as slot machines and could be placed in pubs, bars and the like. In fact the new ‘fruit machines’ could pay out cash but only very small amounts and importantly they were also required by law to include a skill game as an extra feature. The name ‘fruit machine’ derives from the symbols still used today and when you play one you’ll be instantly familiar with the lemons, cherries and other fruity features.
Once those secondary skill games were introduced it ensured that the evolution of fruit machines would take a diverging path from that of slot machines and as any fruit machine aficionado will tell you it’s those skill games and nudges which win the money.
With the advent of online slot machines the paths have converged somewhat and almost without exception five reel slots will feature bonus games to keep things interesting. If you still want the three reel, one armed bandit style game in the UK then it still means a trip to the casino; sticking a few quid into a fruit machine usually just means a visit to your local pub.
It’s also worth noting though that Microgaming have a range of fruit machine-style games and you can check them out by clicking here.