An intelligent guess as to why fruit symbols are used in slot machines might be that they represent the gifts of nature and hence trigger reward associations in mind.
Fruits, even in Greek mythology, represent fertility, echoing bountiful representations. However, the correct answer is more straightforward, chewing gum and candy.
Fruit Symbols in Slot Machines
In 1913, as a rebranding tactic from previous heavy rigging of slot machines, the Bell-Fruit Gum Company chose innocent and colorful fruit imagery, analogous to child's play, to secure rewards and treats. Slots during this era commonly dispensed cherries, bananas, and pineapple-flavored treats from these machines. Still, the rewards soon diversified into alternatives, depending on the device owner's availability.
First Use of Fruits in Slots
In the early 1900s, anti-gambling laws gained momentum. Slot machines or one-arm bandits were increasingly swallowing people's life savings. As these anti-gambling laws swept across the US, manufacturers altered slot machines, replacing poker-influenced visuals of Charles Fey's Liberty Bell with fruit symbols that dispensed chewing gum when players create a match on the slot payline.
Punters could now gamble for chewing gum instead of cash when the same three fruits aligned in a row. Cherries were the first scatter symbol and could appear anywhere on the slot reels, as long as three cherries aligned, which would be considered a win. Cherries, melons, plums, and pineapples are the classic fruit slot themes still used to date, inspired by chewing gum flavors.
The mastermind behind the idea of converting slot machines to gamified chewing gum dispensers was O. D. Jennings, head of the Industry Novelty Company. Slot machines had found their way into convenience stores while circumventing the gambling laws. It inspired a new flurry of inventions of slot machines since this technology was not patented. Slot machines developed faster, as well as bigger payouts.
Do Fruit Slots Payout More Than Regular Slots?
The best online casinos adhere to fair play by using a random number generator (RNG), a requirement by law. RNG is a computer algorithm used to randomize the chance of winning, used in fruit slots and regular slots. The RNG can make hundreds of calculations within a second. The sequence of numbers produced by the RNG matches the symbols on a reel. This algorithm determines if the player receives a payout or not. Each of the symbols on the reel has an unequally weighted value. The unequal weightage means that a lower weighted symbol is more likely to appear than a higher weighted symbol (bonuses or free spins, for example). By law, gaming operators often must have their RNG timely audited to maintain fair play. The auditor is an independent third party to ensure neutral outcomes.
It is important to note that fruit slots do not get hot or cold. Their payout depends on their RNG, variance, and RTP. For example, if you are playing high-variance fruit slots, you will likely get fewer wins than those with low-variance rates.
Fruities: Fruit Slot Machines in Britain
Colorful, entertaining, cartoonish fruit slot machines soared in popularity in the 50s till the 80s. Punters are attracted to these machines' sights, sounds, and payouts for matching fruit symbols.
Despite how they might look, fruities are technically not slot machines regarding being luck-based games. Regulation in the UK required gaming operators to bring an element of skill into fruities to remain legal. Unique to the UK, 'hold' and 'nudge' were introduced into slot machines for players to demonstrate skill. Hold in the slots is a feature that lets players toggle with reels that are not static to improve their outcome. Nudge allows players to toggle a reel up or down by one place in the hopes of a favorable alignment of symbols.
Modernized Fruit Slots
The simplicity of fruit symbols limits the increased sophistication of modern technology. Lemons and cherries distinctly provoke the taste buds and trigger the nostalgia for sweets, psychologically reminding players of rewards. It is not uncommon to associate lemons or cherries with slot machines or gambling, as they often are poster symbols in gambling advertising. Wazdan's Fruity Fiesta has progressed to larger jackpot sizes and more bonus rounds, combining fruit machines' retro feel and nostalgia.
However, outside brick-and-mortar casinos, gaming arcades, or the classic British pub, it is getting trickier for fruit slot machines to maintain engagement compared to other games utilizing technology for more immersive gaming experiences. For example, video slot reels don't share the limitations of the classic fruit slot machines and offer a broader range of betting options.
Before fruits, poker was the dominant theme of slot machines. The bright rebranding revealed the dark history of heavy rigging in fruit slot machines. Today, RNG algorithms and independent auditors ensure neutrality within the game.
This article was published on August 17, 2022, and last updated on August 13, 2022.