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When Did Computer-Based Slots Hit the Slot Floor?

1 February 2010

By John Robison

In what year did the first computer-based slot hit the casino floor? Are all mechanical slots now gone or can you find a 3-reel quarter machine that does not have the RNG chip today? I believe I have a good idea what year it was, as that is when I could no longer win regularly at slots.

Keep the great answers coming. You have an awesome column.

Thank you,

Dear Howard,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

I wish you had written the year you think that computer-based slots (also called stepper slots) appeared on slot floors. I bet the real year is much earlier than you think.

Computer-based slots, also known as stepper slots, were first developed in the early 1980s, nearly 30 years ago. I don't know when the last electro-mechanical slot left the slot floor (mechanical slots were the first generation of slots, on slot floors until the 1960s; electro-mechanical slots were on slot floors from the 1960s to the 1980s), but I can guarantee you that they are long gone because they are not as secure or reliable as stepper slots.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots