If you were born in the 70s and 80s, and if you hurry me up in the 60s, it is likely that bar slots seem as inseparable to the Spanish bar as are tapas, ham paw and full floor of sawdust, napkins and prawns. Its status is such in the bars, which boast the honor of being the best soundtrack of any Spanish bar – its noisy melody, like Paulov’s dog, is enough to make us evoke the typical Spanish bar and fill its dead hours. And not only that, they have also become (with the permission of the cane, the cubata and the carajillo) in inseparable friends of a great part of the fauna that frequents the bars.
Since they appeared on the peninsula, they have reigned for almost 40 years without competition dethroning classics such as dominoes, tickets (yes, those that the bar gave you if you consumed more than one coffee or cane and that rewarded with cash prizes that never touched ), tute and some other game. The bar slots came to coexist in the eighties, not without competition, against such emblematic recreational machines as the Pinball and the Pacman or the legendary Galaxian. But thanks to unexpected allies of American or Japanese origin (Spectrum, Nintendo, Gameboy and the PC) they entered the 90s dominating the entertainment of any pub that prided itself.
Unlike online slots, the popularity of bar slots is not the fruit of a day, much less. Its origin goes back to the year 1891, when Sitman and Pitt developed in New York a gaming machine that would become the precursor of the modern slot machines that we know today.
It was based on poker and it was enough to insert a nickel to pull its lever and play. The popularity of the new game became evident with its presence in the bars of Brooklyn. The new game did not have automatic payment mechanism, the prizes depended on each establishment and could consist of cigars, free drinks, etc.
We have to wait until the end of the 19th century for the Liberty Bell to appear, the first slot machine proper, which also introduced the famous bell symbol on the reels.
Lacking patent, the Liberty Bell was imitated by different manufacturers who improved it and were adding fruit symbols in different models that, until shortly after World War II, were all mechanically functioning.
Its implantation the USA it was then limited, many states legislated against the game and forbade cash prizes for slot machines.
The true leap to the fame of slot machines occurs in the 50s and 60s when Las Vegas becomes one of the favorite leisure destinations of the average American (do you hear the parties and chaos of the ‘Rat Pack’?) And the first electromechanical slots appear.
Their presence no longer only floods the halls of Las Vegas casinos, they are present anywhere in the city of sin, from gas stations and restaurants, to those in city motels passing through the most extravagant chapels with priests dressed in Elvis Presley marrying anyone who asks for $ 50.
The 70s and 80s are golden years for bar and casino slots alike. Not only have they been implanted in a large part of Western society, they are the most accessible game of chance for the average citizen. But when did the bar slots come to Spain?
The landing of the slots in Spain
Spanish society has never been oblivious to gambling and even before the civil war most of the most important cities in the country had their own casino that played a double role: entertainment place and social life of high society. But they did not have slots. The game ran into an implacable reality – the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the restrictions that the Second Republic imposed after the game frustrated the future of the provincial casinos. Later, with the Franco regime, the game is prohibited, the casinos are converted into cultural centers and the game is relegated to the football pool, the horse betting, the ONCE and the National Lottery – little thing.
To watch a bar slot in Spain we have to wait until no less than the year 1981, three years after the game was legalized in 1977. By then, the Franco Brothers had been exploiting and developing recreational machines for more than 15 years. Recreativos Franco company. They started exploiting property and shortly after opened the first recreational room in Spain on Fuencarral street in Madrid. Already in the 70s they set out to manufacture their own recreational machines with models such as the Pinball Mississippi, Alaska and Dragoon, all of them hits among the Spanish kids of the 70s. They were also the pioneers in introducing the first video recreational in Spain with such legendary games as Galaxian, Phoenix and Speed Race CL5. If you’ve been to the EGB, it sure sounds good.
But the real success of Recreativos Franco takes place in the 80s when they diversify their business and launch themselves to the manufacture and exploitation of slot machines, or how they prefer to call them: recreational machines with a prize. His leadership in the sector was indisputable, not only commercially but also in innovation – a true hallmark of the Franco. But it was not the only company. The cake of the market was shared with the Catalan CIRSA, founded in 1978, entered the sector with strength and contributed to the implementation of slots in all types of catering businesses, from bars and cafes to recreational rooms, hotels and restaurants. casinos (no online casino at the moment)
Currently, the market of bar slots in Spain is shared among many actors. To the aforementioned Recreativos Franco y Cirsa, join Jomesa, UORSA, Codere, etc.
How are bar slots currently
In Spain, three types of bar slots are commercialized. The most common, those found in bars and cafeterias are “type B”, also called “recreational machines with prize”, and by law must have a percentage of return for the player of at least 65% of the money they play. Slots are programs that, sooner or later, have to reward the player.
Those of “type A” are only machines for recreational use, that is, they do not give out prizes and technically they are not slot machines. And those of “type C”, also called “recreational chance”, are slots as we all know them, but subject entirely to chance, with a lower percentage of payment and intended to be exploited only in casinos, ships and authorized spaces. the game.
Although it may not seem like it, slot machine manufacturers claim that those of “type B” are the most profitable because they are the ones that most encourage and entertain players. The normal thing, is that the manufacturer and the establishment are distributed to 50% the benefits of the bar slot machine.
How to win at the bar slots
Spaniards love to play slots, why deny it. But in Spain we already know, when the game and money come together, the traditional Spanish picaresque appears. One issue is how to win online slots and another is if there really is a way to win slots in bars. I only know two tricks:
The Chinese trick
There is an urban legend according to which the Chinese have tricks for bar slots, and the thing goes with the ears. The trick is to throw a coin and hit the ear to see if it falls on the lower tray or hoppers. If the first occurs, it is a sign that the hoppers are full and the prize is falling. If the second happens, they give up and do not keep playing. Of course, the Chinese trick only works in slots with non-digital rollers.
The trick of cycles
This is another trick for bar slots. It is somewhat more complicated, requires time, patience and much dissimulation. It can only be done on a type B slot and it is necessary to be a regular at the bar, or in other words, to spend the day at the bar.
Being programmed to distribute a prize after a certain cycle, the trick is to do a daily monitoring of the machine and calculate the time and bets made between one prize and another. How to win in the slot machines of bars is to keep track of the slot machine day and night, and play when we believe that the prize is about to fall. Of course, for this trick you need a loose budget for canes, coffees and carajillos to stay at the bar.
The cinema and the bar slots
Currently, movies and slots are linked together only in the online world. The marriage between cinema and online slots is one of the best avenues in terms of profitability. But the relationship of the seventh art and the bar slots differs quite a lot from what we can imagine. Here we will collect two examples of how slot machines have served as suggestive and intelligent narrative tools in a movie and a series, both of cult.
Ham, Ham (1994)
In this film, the slot machine of the bar tells us its melody and winning combination that Javier Bardem has played the great prize that is none other than satisfying his carnal desire with the character played by Penelope Cruz. Bigas Luna is occupied with the jug of boiling milk.
Twin Peaks (2017)
The new part of Twin Peaks contains a scene from the world of David Lynch that has as protagonists the character played by Kyle MacLachlan and the slot machine of a casino. Indescribable, inexplicable and almost unsettling, the scene has no waste. Judge yourself in the next video.
Stories and anecdotes of bar slots
Yes, the bar slots have been protagonists of a thousand stories and anecdotes that deserve to be told. I tell you a few that have made me laugh and almost cry.
1. A neighbor from the city of Valladolid decided to fit his tractor against a bar to prevent it from closing and letting him continue playing the bar slot machine.
2. In the US, a woman was awarded the slot machine ($ 43 million no less) and the establishment refused to pay the prize on the grounds that there had been a breakdown in the slot machine. The owners of the establishment only agreed to change the prize for a dinner and the balance of their departure of about 2.25 dollars. The case is still in court.
3. A certain woman who had won several prizes in a slot in the casino bar of a cruise and urged to go to the bathroom, began to evacuate behind the machine instead of going to the bathroom for fear that someone would steal your profits .
Is internet the end of bar slots?
The arrival of the new millennium has not been beneficial for the queens of bars. The arrival of the internet and the subsequent boom and boom of online slots, has been relegated to bar slots almost to oblivion. The irruption of online casinos and their undeniable success does not stop confirming, year after year, that online slots are here to stay. And the facts are incontestable.
The so-called slots are much more varied, offer prizes a thousand times more juicy (many of them millionaires), do not ask for a change to the waiter to play some coins, and best of all, can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime on your mobile.
The decline is such that even Wallapop has been filled with bar slots for sale with prices ranging from € 25 to € 300. Many already predict its imminent disappearance, and reasons do not seem to be lacking. It is no longer so easy to attract the public of loyal players who, on top of that, tend to disappear by their average age. Is the end of the bar slots near as we have known them? I would say not. While the Spanish bar continues to be the temple of social life more usual in Spain, and while there is thirst for canes, cuba and cut coffee, the bar slots have for a while.