A brief history of slots in Canada


When the very first slot machines appeared way, way back in the mid-1800s, things were oh so different to what we now enjoy playing here online with Lucky Nugget Casino. These automated gambling machines were simple things, but still had all the thrills of the modern machines.

The first real slot machine is always thought to be the famous Liberty Bell machine, invented by Charles Fey in San Francisco, California in 1887. The three reel, five symbol slot was a huge hit, spawning more and more competitors, every one pushing the technology forwards. The slot machines rolled out from California across the United States and very quickly moved north into Canada.

The simple mechanical slots transformed into the more technologically advanced versions we play now starting in 1963 with the first electric slot from Bally in 1963, followed in 1976 with Fortune Coin Co. releasing the first video slots game in 1976. Each new innovation in technology soon saw a new version of slot machines taking full advantage of the technology to bring us bigger and betting slot machine experiences.

Gambling in Canada – public demand versus government regulation

The history of slots in Canada is a chequered one. Shortly after Charles Fey developed the Liberty Bell, Canada imposed an outright ban on gambling in 1892. But within a decade things began to change, with bingo and raffles allowed provided they were for charity. Another decade and horse racing is added to the list of allowed gambling. A decade after that and fairs and exhibitions had the right to stage gambling events. Fast forward to the 70s where massive changes to the Canadian criminal code gave individual provinces the ability to license and regulate gambling.

Welcome to the 80s, bring on the casinos, bring on the slots!

A major change in 1985 saw a new amendment allowing licensed premises to run video slot machines. Soon after, in 1990, Canada’s first casino, the government owned Crystal Casino, opened in Winnipeg. Shortly, casinos were springing up in Montréal, Manitoba, Québec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. And of course, alongside the roulette and blackjack tables, slots machines make up the majority of games played in these Canadian casinos.

Gradually, province by province, gambling law changed in Canada, and slot machines began to spread across Canada in the many casinos that were established over the years. Whether its government backed, or funded by Vegas enterprise, the casinos just keep on coming, bringing slots to more and more provinces across the country.


Canadian Online slots… incredibly it’s still a grey area

Just as land based slots have flourished, online slots are available to Canadians just as they are around the world. It’s still a legal grey area, with online gambling still technically illegal within Canadian borders, yet allowed with an overseas operator.

Progress always moves forward, in gambling as in all things. So no matter what the future holds, Canadians can be sure that their slots gambling options are only going to get more plentiful.