Tracing slots colorful past

Aug 21, 2007 12:09 AM

Virtually, the entire casino industry is hinged on slot machines, and for those who marvel at the one-armed bandits, two books chronicle the subject starting with the days of Bugsy Siegel up to the present day.

The books are titled Reel History (A Photographic History of Slot Machines) by David Mead (439 pages, paperbound, $39.95) and The Casino’s Most Valuable Chip — How Technology Transformed The Gaming Industry by Saverio Scheri (176 pages, hardbound, $29.95).

Reel History, written by David Mead, son of the late Dan Mead of Las Vegas, is a companion to the Loose Change Blue Book, a super source for all collectors, beginners or experienced. This book has been in the works for more than 20 years. It answers the need for a picture book, answering the question of who manufactured what machine and what each machine’s correct name is.

The authors found machines at private homes, at collections, at trade shows and auctions. These include front and side venders, consoles, revamped fronts, jackpots and other special features.

Each machine listed and photographed contains the original manufacturer’s name, date of introduction, nickname and machine type. (Those not listed are fully electronic machines, reproductions, trade stimulators, payout pinballs and one-of-a-kind machines.) This edition includes only those machines manufactured before 1980.

A short three-page index of nicknames, located at the end of the book makes it simple to find machines through that method.

Scheri’s The Casino’s Most Valuable Chip is written by an industry insider with more than 20 years experience. It assists in explaining how technology helped rid the gaming industry of organized crime while allowing for the design of more exciting casino games and creating a system to reward players at the same time.

It reflects, too, on how casinos learned to improve their marketing and game security.

Twelve fascinating chapters, along with many illustrations, discuss the evolution of slots from spinning reels to video screens; the birth of the mega resort; the evolution of computer systems in casinos; Indian casinos and technology; casinos on the Internet; security technology today and the future of casino technology.

This is a must-read title for intelligent casino management personnel, those new to the industry, historians, those taking a course or interested in entering the industry.

To order, go to the Gambler’s Book Store’s web site at The toll free number is 800-522-1777.