Why Classic Slots Had to Go

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The modern slots world owes a lot to classic slot machines. Classic slots, which have one payline and three reels, paved the way for the technologically advanced games of today.

Gamblers loved pulling these slots’ levers and trying to line up 7s, cherries, and BARs.

However, new technology eventually drew players’ attention elsewhere and made classic slot machines obsolete.

Some gamblers still pine for the old days when classic machines filled gambling floors. But these games had to go for multiple reasons.

I’m going to cover the main reasons why classic machines ran their course. But first, I’d like to discuss a little more on the era where these slots ruled.

What Was the Classic Slots Era Like?

Computer technology wasn’t conceived until the 1940s. This tech was very rudimentary at the time and wouldn’t be ready for consumer products until decades later.

That said, casinos relied on mechanical slot machines for years. These games featured mechanical reels that were put into motion by pulling a lever.

Black And White Wall Of Vintage Casino Slots

Older slot machines were also defined by having three reels and one line. Mechanical slots were limited in terms of what they could offer regarding lines, betting options, and features.

You simply inserted a coin, pulled the lever, and hoped to line up three matching symbols in the payline. Coins would spill into the tray when you did win.

Classic slots are somewhat inconvenient when considering that you have to feed them a coin in every single round. For this reason, many gamblers often carried buckets of coins into casinos.

Of course, players didn’t realize that this was an inconvenience back then. They simply saw it as standard that a coin needed to be inserted for every separate round.

Why Did Casinos Get Rid of Classic Slot Machines?

Up until the 1970s, classic slot machines filled casino floors. But the advent of video slot machines started a new revolution in gambling establishments.

The first video slots were rolled out in California in the mid-1970s.

Fortune Coin Co. developed a game that featured a computer monitor housed within a slot cabinet.

Fortune Coin’s invention wasn’t anything like the high-tech video slot machines that we have today, but it laid the foundation for a change within the industry.

Almost every slot machine in casinos now is a video slot. Meanwhile, classic games are rarities found in limited capacity today. Below, you’ll see some in-depth reasons why gambling venues ditched these games in favor of video slots.

Classic Games Run Slower and Offer Casinos Fewer Profits

One problem with classic slot machines is that you can’t just insert $20 and keep spinning the reels. You instead need to hand-feed every single bet.

Inserting Quarters Into Slot Machine

Players didn’t have a problem with this in the past, simply because they didn’t know any better. They gladly carried around buckets of quarters while looking for their favorite slots.

But modern video slot machines showed how inefficient older games are. Casinos began realizing just how much more money they could make when gamblers didn’t have to play coin by coin.

Today’s slots allow you to insert bills, which turn into credits. You can then continue playing as long as you have credits in the machine.

Coin Hoppers Had to Be Emptied

A classic slot machine can only hold so many nickels or quarters. At some point, the hopper holding all of these coins needs to be emptied.

Casinos therefore had employees whose sole purpose was to look for full coin hoppers and empty them. This presented problems on two fronts:

  • Casinos had to pay extra employees
  • Machines were constantly down for maintenance

Casinos don’t like unnecessary expenditures or popular slots being down. These aspects made it much easier to get rid of classic slot machines when the time came.

Game Options Were Limited

Mechanical reels and a single line don’t give developers many options when creating slot machines. Classic slots don’t have the dynamic themes and story elements that games have today.

The primary limitation is the mechanical design.

The best a developer can do with classic games is create some nice artwork on the cabinets and design cool symbols.

They can’t, however, use all of the advantages that computer technology brings. Video slots, on the other hand, make for numerous possibilities thanks to their advanced tech.

Why Did Gamblers Abandon Classic Slot Machines?

You can see above that gambling establishments had plenty of reasons to get rid of classic slots. But they only had the power to do so when considering that players themselves outgrew these games as well.

Otherwise, casinos would still be offering classic slot machines if gamblers liked them. Most players don’t, though, and here are a few reasons why.

Modern Games Have Fewer Disruptions

Many slots players appreciate a smooth gaming experience. They like being immersed in games and don’t want to stop every few seconds to place their bets.

Classic slots present this problem because they require bets to be hand-fed. Video slots allow you to insert money and play continuously until your credits run out.

Playing Video Slots Without Disruption

Another reason why video machines don’t have as many interruptions is because they lack coin hoppers. They do print off tickets, but this paper only needs to be refilled once in a while.

The end result is that video slot machines allow gamblers to play with very limited interruptions. Meanwhile, classic slots are herky-jerky affairs that require manual betting on every spin.

Classic Slot Machines Have No Cool Features

Today slots are filled with features, such as free spins, second-screen bonuses, cascading reels, and more. All of these features combine to create a more exciting slots experience.

Players can thank video technology for making this all possible.

The computerized nature of modern slots allows developers to create unique bonuses and features.

Classic slots, with their mechanical design, just can’t replicate the same experience. The only feature typically found on these games is a progressive jackpot.

Modern Slot Machines Have Better Graphics and Themes

Most older slot machines offer generic symbols and cabinet artwork. Many of them revolve around fruits, 7s, BARs, and dollar signs.

Such games were adequate decades ago because players had nothing else to compare them to. However, video slots have pushed the bar for what’s acceptable in terms of graphics and themes.

Today’s games now offer 3D graphics that make slot machines feel more lifelike than ever. Some of them also have in-depth storylines that include characters and even unlockable features.

A classic slot machine will never compare in these areas. They just don’t have the technological capabilities to offer outstanding graphics and storytelling elements.

Where Can You Find Classic Slots Today?

It’s safe to say that classic slot machines have run their course and aren’t coming back. They had a successful run from the 1890s to 1970s.

Vintage Slot Machines Encased

As I’ve explained, they just can’t compare to what video slots offer today. Classic games have been passed by due to their limited technology.

But this isn’t to say that absolutely nobody wants to play these slots. Some gamblers enjoy classic slot machines for nostalgic purposes.

These players may have visited Vegas in the 1960s and ‘70s and grown fond of classic games. They therefore like to play such slots whenever they go on a casino trip.

Unfortunately, classic slot machines are much harder to find these days.

Casinos like offering what’s profitable, which mainly entails video slots.

However, you can still find classic games in some cases. Online casinos present the easiest opportunity to play such slot machines.

Some gaming developers like Rival Gaming and Realtime Gaming (RTG) have a large library of classic online slots. You simply have to play at an internet casino that offers either of these software providers to find such games.

In some cases, Rival and RTG even add unique features to their classic slot machines. I mentioned earlier that this was really rare with the land-based versions, due to their mechanical design.

Online classic slots are different, though, because they’re software-based. This technology lets Rival and RTG add elements such as free spins, re-spins, scatter symbols, and even second-screen bonuses.

Of course, playing at an internet casino through your smartphone or PC isn’t exactly nostalgic. Assuming you’re looking to rekindle past Vegas trips, then you can still find a limited number of classic slot machines in Sin City.

Some of the downtown Vegas casinos and establishments on the city’s outskirts offer a small number of classic slots. I suggest heading downtown and going from casino to casino to see what’s available.

You, unfortunately, won’t enjoy quite the selection that was available in years past. But you’ll at least find some classic slot machines in Las Vegas.


Classic slots were once the standard in land-based casinos. Gambling venues featured rows and rows of these coin-operated games.

But things began changing from the 1970s and on when video slots started hitting casino floors.

By using computer technology, these games are able to offer more features than mechanical slots.

Casinos came to realize that video slot machines are far more profitable than the classic variety and shifted their attention in that direction.

Of course, this isn’t to say that classic slots have completely vanished. Some still exist throughout the gaming world, especially at online casinos.

Certain developers make classic online slots, which have the look and characteristics of the old land-based games. Some even have a feature or two, like re-spins and scatter payouts.

If you’re looking to relive a Vegas trip from years past, then you can head to the downtown casinos. A few Vegas gambling establishments still have classic slot machines available.

Overall, though, the classic era is never coming back. Video slot machines now rule gambling floors and show no signs of slowing down.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry fo ...

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