If you’ve ever wondered who created pokies or who makes pokies, then you’re not alone. Croco first put this question to us when we first launched PlayCroco online casino!

Turns out, the original inventor wasn’t one of Croco’s great-great-ancestors. Instead, it was a humble tinkerer from Europe. But we don’t want to spoil the story for you. You know that Croco loves a good tale…

So in this article titled “Who created pokies?”, we’ll talk about the OG pokie player who gave birth to what we now call online slots. However, to ensure we keep things relevant we’ll also talk a little bit about who created pokies for the modern era.

Grab a CrocoBoost shake, get comfortable and enjoy the ride. The answer to the question as to who created pokies is full of intrigue, twists, turns… and Germans!


From Bavaria with love 🍺

The man who created pokie machines was a German by the name of Charles August Fey. He was born in Bavaria, which is in the south of Germany, and he had 15 older siblings. When he was still young he began to work for his father, however, the fear of being drafted into the German army was becoming too much for him to bear!

The fact that he could be conscripted at any moment plus the tension between himself and his father made Fey restless. So instead of hanging around he decided to go work in France at an instrument making workshop. This solution killed two birds with one stone. Firstly, he could avoid becoming a soldier and secondly, he was able to satiate his desire to tinker.

While in France, Fey learned that he had an uncle in New Jersey, America. Upon discovering this, Fey decided to leave France at the ripe age of 23 and travel to the New World. Rather than stay on the east coast though, Fey eventually found his way to San Francisco and settled there.

He then began working at a local company by the name of Electric Works, before starting another company that also specialised in electrical equipment and telephones. It was during this time that he travelled extensively throughout the USA. It was also believed that he started plotting the design for his very first pokie machine on his travels… Keen to find out the actual pokies definition? We wrote everything about what are pokies and slots right here.


Introducing the very first slot machine 🎰

If you’ve come here looking for the juicy details as to who created pokies, then let us introduce you to the very first slot machine – the Liberty Bell!

As we mentioned before, Charles August Fey had been cooking up the idea for a pokie machine for a while now. Perfecting the plans in his head in the same way that Croco perfects promotions while he’s on the road…

Now, quick disclaimer here: the Liberty Bell wasn’t exactly the first pokie machine ever built. That honour belongs to Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Schultze's (another German) Horseshoe Slot Machine of 1893. Fey then improved upon this design and built the Card Bell pokie in 1898. 

However, it was the Liberty Bell, built in 1899, that really took the world by storm. Using horseshoes and bells in addition to playing card suits as symbols, the Liberty Bell is the very first slot machine that actually became widespread throughout bars and saloons in San Francisco and beyond!

It delivered cash payouts, it had a handle lever that spun the reels and the top prize was activated when three bells lined up in a row. In short, it was the Liberty Bell that popularised pokie machines in America. But it wouldn’t be the only machine to make waves come the turn of the century… Now you know where pokies come from!


Competition amongst companies heats up 🔥

This is where the story of who created pokies gets a little bit… well… heated. No doubt it was Charles August Fey who first introduced mechanical pokie machines to broader society, but it was his competitors who refined his creation and took it to the next level! But how do pokies work?

One of Fey’s competitors was a company called the Mills Novelty Company. They operated out of Chicago and found success by quickly copying Fey’s Card Bell and Liberty Bell machines…

The Mills Novelty Company went on to produce slot machines, vending machines and jukeboxes for sale throughout the States. Their market share started rivalling that of Fey, however, at that time in the USA there were bigger forces at work. Pokie machines, it seemed, had been deemed immoral, dangerous and a waste of time by religious and political figures in San Francisco and beyond.


Local laws outlaw pokies 🍒

Prepare yourself, PlayCroco members. This is where you’ll probably start to shed some crocodile tears. For it was back in 1902 on one fateful day when slot machines were banned in the United States.

We know, we know. It must have been a very dark day indeed. But the good news is that despite laws saying that pokie machines were illegal, Charles August Fey’s Liberty Bell was still in production. The only difference now is that cash prizes were no longer awarded to winners. Instead, chewing gum and sweets were paid out, giving rise to the age of fruit machines!

Of course, some slot machine still paid out money, but many were also “dummies” that really did only dispense fruit-flavoured chewing gum. This is why we still see the ubiquitous fruit symbols on some modern pokies – cherries, oranges, watermelons – and so forth.

Aside from bubble gum prizes, Fey and his competitors also circumvented local laws by building machines with no coin slots. How these worked was that patrons would purchase spins at the bar. If they then went onto win, they would be compensated in beverages and cigars. It wasn’t cash, but it was better than nothing… And not like our recent winners!


Pokie machines in the age of the internet 🌐

Chewing gum, cigars and bottles of whiskey, however, can’t compare to modern day prizes such as double comp points! And even though the story as to who created pokies is often told and retold, many of our members are still unaware of the godfather of slot machine gambling - Charles August Fey.

The main reason for this is that our online slots look nothing like their predecessors. For one, they’re played online. Perhaps more glaring though is the sheer complexity of today’s pokie machines, which use random number generators and special bonus rounds in order to make your experience fairer and more fun!

Brick-and-mortar machines still exist, but no longer are they cumbersome mechanical devices. Instead they used state of the art technology and video game like graphics combined with touch screens and buttons, which brings us to our next question: who created pokies that were strictly online? Check out these 21 tips and tricks to unlock a jackpot!


The birth of online pokie machines 🍀

The answer to who created pokies that were tailored for the world wide web is InterCasino, which in 1996 launched an online casino with 18 games. Then came another brand by the name of Microgaming, which began to design, develop and produce its very own themed pokies!

These pokies offered major prizes. In fact, Microgaming is still around today. However, companies such as SpinLogic (formerly Realtime Gaming) have more or less become the most popular online pokie developers…

Not only are SpinLogic titles more sophisticated, but they’ve also been around since 1997. This makes them one of the longest running and most successful developers of online pokie titles. Today they boast over 1,000 different slots, each with their own in-game mechanics, themes and special terms (which you should know!).  

SpinLogic has also pioneered the advent of premium graphics, sound effects and music, which give their titles a quality feel that can only be the result of years within the online pokie industry.


Digital pokies titles perfected over time 👌

So, who created pokies? Well, the answer to that question depends on your definition of what a pokie is. If you’re wondering who invented the very first mechanical, physical slot machine, then Charles August Fey is the man. If you want to know who created pokies for the world wide web before anyone else, then it is in fact InterCasino.

The real question you should be asking though is who creates the best online slots right now. For us here at PlayCroco, there’s only one answer – SpinLogic. Check out some of their latest offerings over in a game lobby today and see for yourself why they’re still in operation some two decades later. Just don’t forget to claim the latest promotions before you play using the following steps: 

  1. Go to the PlayCroco lobby using your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device
  2. Click on the “Promos” button at the bottom of your screen
  3. Select a promo from the nine possible options on offer
  4. Learn more about the promo mechanics by clicking “More Info”
  5. When you’re ready to redeem the offer tap “Redeem Now”
  6. Head to the cashier and and let the FUN begin!

Oh… and don’t forget to give Croco a high-claw on our reviews page! It’s kinda like a high-five, only way, way cooler.

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