In 2015, Morphy Auctions held an event from May 1 to 3, and a Caille Peerless 5-cent floor roulette slot machine went for $300,000, setting a world record for an auction sale. 

The first slot machines popped up in the 1890s, and while we think of them as machines that pay us money for landing the winning spins, we often don’t think about how much a slot machine is worth. This goes for antique ones like the Caille mentioned above and modern ones you see on the Vegas floor today. 

Here, we’ll explore these slot machines more, including their evolution, influencing factors on value, what the market looks like today, and more. 

Understanding Slot Machines: Antique vs. Modern 

Antique Slot Machines

Antique slot machines were manufactured and produced at least 25 years ago, like other items. However, what defines an antique differs from state to state, and the ability to own one changes, too. 

For example, in New Hampshire, you can own a slot machine that’s 25 years old or older. In Kansas, you can only own machines manufactured before 1950. 

The value of antique slot machines can be elevated based on their historical significance and the story behind them. 

Modern Slot Machines

If you were to look at an antique slot and a modern slot side-by-side, you’d be amazed at the evolution of this item/product. 

Modern slot machines typically have a completely digital interface that can sometimes be used with just a finger. These machines come equipped with integrated graphics, animations, sound effects, and other features meant to create an immersive experience. 

Additionally, these slots are completely crafted and programmed with RNG, meaning each spin is completely different. 

Modern slots also come with various features and themes, such as fairy tales or ancient civilizations. There are numerous paylines, and because of the digital nature of these, there can be some unique reel arrangements. 

These devices are made to be more immersive and digitally based as opposed to a spectacle of craftsmanship and the more straightforward antique slot machines. 

Historical Significance and Evolution

When looking at the history of slots and their evolution, there are only the main “stages” of the process to examine through the well over 100-year history of the device/machine or, to some extent, product. 

These include the mechanical slots, electromechanical, and digital landscape. 

  • Mechanical Slots: The earliest slot machine that we can trace back to is the “Liberty Bell” invented by Charles Fey in the 1890s. This device was incredibly simple compared to today’s slots. This machine had three reels straight across with one payline. 

  • Electromechanical: The machine that we can point to as the staple of this slot machine revolution is “Money Honey” from Bally. These machines had things like motors and circuits added to allow for an automated payout. They all featured larger jackpots and the ability to wager more. 

  • Digital: During the 1980s and into the 1990s, a massive rush of more digital slots began. These slots sacrificed some unique craftsmanship for a more complex and intricate game, including features like scatters, wilds, free spins, and more. From here, we saw online casinos emerge in the late 1990s and become legal in New Jersey in 2013, further allowing for more innovation and mass production of titles via licenses. 

How Much is a Slot Machine Worth: Influencing Factors

Determine the value of a slot machine, which changes from person to person, and really, day by day. Like any unique item like this, the value is ultimately contingent upon what someone is willing to pay. 

That said, we’ll examine what factors contribute to a slot machine’s value, including its age, rarity, original parts, and more. 

Slot Machine Age

As with most items individuals want to purchase for a collection, the age rarity is vital. 

For age, not only does the number of years matter but also whether there’s any historical significance. Was it crafted in the late 19th or early 20th century? If so, these are highly sought after as they are the first iterations of the machine. 

Then, there were machines crafted a bit later in the mid-20th century. The market for these can often be driven by nostalgia and “retro-ness.” Seeing the vibrant colors and classic themes could evoke an emotional response from buyers. 

The only issue where age can be a factor is how damaged or tattered a device is. The chances of something that’s 100+ years old being damaged are quite high, so if it’s not, that’ll greatly improve the value. 

Going back to the Caille piece mentioned above, Dan Morphy, the owner of Morphy Auctions, had this to say about it: “It had everything going for it and was a connoisseur’s piece. Whenever an item comes up with such originality and such a beautiful patina, it draws the attention of the most serious of collectors.”

The Slot Machine Rarity

Of course, if you’re looking for a piece like Liberty Bells, it’s one of a kind and there are no others produced. However, for machines that aren’t the standards of their era, the number of devices crafted matters greatly. Those crafted over a short period and not many produced that also have age and good condition greatly matter. 

There can also be machines that iterated on features before others, and those can be of interest. For example, Fortune Coin was an extremely early iteration of a digital slot with numerous symbols and ways of winning. 

Original Parts and Condition

It should go without saying, but if you have a device with all of its original parts, this will greatly impact the value to collectors. For most, they’ll even compromise on the operating ability of the slot if it means it’s equipped with all original parts. Collectors typically aim to conserve the authenticity and originality of the craftsmanship. 

Of course, the ideal scenario involves original parts and working order, but restored machines or new parts will reduce the value quite a bit. 

Before selling, the owner might think that the nicer it looks, the more appealing it’ll be, but as you saw with the quote from Morphy above, the patina (the rust) on the machine does add that value, especially if it’s organic rust that happens simply due to age. 

Top Examples of Valuable Antique Slot Machines

We mentioned several examples already, but we’ll examine those a bit more. 

  • Caille Peerless 5 Cent Roulette Slot: Sold for $300k at auction

  • Liberty Bell: The first modern slot machine. This was invented in the 1890s and was coin-operated. Following this, the inventor, Charles Fey, made a new machine, the 4-1-44, and this gave him the confidence to go forth and produce them full-time. He then produced the Card Bell before the turn of the century. 

  • Money Honey: Created by The Bally Manufacturing Co. in 1964, Money Honey was the first-ever electromechanical slot machine. Even though the reels were electric, the lever was still familiar to players. It could pay out as much as 500 coins. 

  • Fortune Coin: The first video slot, Fortune Coin, was developed in 1976 in Kearny Mesa, California. 

Take your pick and enjoy our incredible slots below:

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How Much is a Slot Machine Worth: The Modern Market

Cost of New Slot Machines for Casinos

When you enter a casino or any location with slot machines, you’ll look at machines ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. These all differ based on the slot machine manufacturer and the complexity of the machine. 

Something else to consider regarding the cost of a slot machine is if any licensing is needed. Over the years, slots have been for Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Monopoly, and more.

There was a slot machine created by Sidney Mobell that featured 818 gemstones and valued between $18 million and $21 million. Of course, that’s not used on the casino floor, though. Mobell discusses that slot machine in this video:

According to, the components to consider when examining the cost of a slot machine are the game software, embedded game board, VGA converter, and I/O evaluation board. 

Collector’s Market

Like any collector’s market for antique and unique items, the marketplace for slot machines is incredibly diverse, as each collector has their interest. What drives this market is a genuine passion for casino gaming and perhaps even residents of the Las Vegas, Nevada area. For some, it could be those that grew up around the first iterations of the more modern machines in the 1980s and 1990s, the Bally-like slots from the 1960s, and more. 

To some collectors, these could be viewed as investments, as holding them in a safe location free of any potential damage may only increase their value as time goes by. 

Of course, for collectors, learning the local market is important, including the legal ramifications, which we’ll discuss below. 

Online Slot Machines

Online slot machines are used at online casinos. Further, only a few states have legal online casino play. You cannot purchase an online slot for individuals not associated with an online casino. Of course, could develop one yourself, but these would be illegal to play and profit from until they’re licensed and regulated by a legal online casino state. 

Starting an online casino includes licensing fees, partnerships, and providing games to the site. It’s a multi-million dollar operation. 

According to Juego Studios, an online slot can cost between $20k and $50k to develop. From there, there are additional costs like testing and marketing. 

They lay it out as such: 

  • Concept: $2,000 to $4,000

  • Design: $30,000 to $50,000

  • Development and Testing: $30,000 to $50,000

  • Marketing: $10,000 to $100,000

Legal and Practical Considerations of Slot Machines

Legal Restrictions to Own a Slot Machine

There are different laws in each state as it pertains to owning a slot machine. Below, we’ll list each state and what the current law is. The information below is sourced directly from Gameroom Show


Legal Status


Class II machines legal


All machines legal


All machines legal


All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines before 1984 legal


All machines prohibited


Machines 25 years or older legal

Washington, D.C.

Machines before 1952 legal


Machines 20 years or older legal


Machines before 1950 legal


All machines prohibited


Machines before 1950 legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines 40 years or older legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines before 1950 legal


All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines 30 years or older legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines 30 years or older legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


All machines prohibited


All machines legal

New Hampshire

Machines 25 years or older legal

New Jersey

Machines before 1941 legal

New Mexico

Machines 25 years or older legal

New York (state)

Machines 30 years or older legal

North Carolina

Machines 25 years or older legal

North Dakota

Machines 25 years or older legal


All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines 25 years or older legal

Rhode Island

All machines legal

South Carolina

All machines prohibited

South Dakota

Machines before 1941 legal


All machines prohibited


All machines legal


All machines legal


Machines before 1954 legal


All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal

West Virginia

All machines legal


Machines 25 years or older legal


Machines 25 years or older legal

Restoration and Maintenance

While resorting to a slot machine and fixing parts may seem like the right thing to do to improve the overall aesthetic and “newness,” this will often damage the value. As mentioned above, collectors generally want slots to be as original and authentic as possible as that’s the key factor guiding their interest in the particular device. 

So, if you possess a slot machine that you’re interested in selling, believe it or not, it might be worth more to have some broken original parts than resorted and new parts. 

Buying Tips

If you’re looking to get into the marketplace to purchase a slot machine, it’s important to first identify what your motive is. Is there a particular piece you want? Do you want to collect? Is having all of the original parts important, or do you prefer a completely resorted item with new parts? 

From there, you can start to finalize your buying process. 

That said, there are some general things to examine during the buying process. 

  • Authenticity: Before purchasing any slot, verify that it’s a real, authentic slot machine. This includes the manufacturer’s logo, serial numbers, and more. For value, we recommend only purchasing pieces that haven’t been restored. 

  • Condition: The more intact a piece is, the better. Check for signs of wear and tear, damage, and corroding. 

  • Documentation: Examine and secure all documentation present with the piece. This helps further enhance the value and authenticity. 

  • Functionality: Having a working slot, especially for older ones, greatly enhances the value. However, there are situations where slots, even if they’re not in working order, still have great value. 

  • Legal Issues: Verify your state’s laws for owning a slot machine. 

How Much is a Slot Machine Worth: Future Trends and Market Predictions

Emerging Trends

  • Cryptocurrency: As time progresses, we’re seeing cryptocurrency used more and more, and that’s also the case for online casino play. However, most cryptocurrency isn’t allowed to be used at online casinos in the United States. 

  • Blockchain Technology: This is the technology behind cryptocurrency. Some developers are exploring ways to implement that into the online gaming industry. These offer things like security, transparency, and decentralization. 

  • Responsible Gaming Initiatives: As time passes, the concept of responsible gaming is becoming increasingly widespread. These include online casinos implementing tools such as self-exclusionary periods and limits on deposits, spending, and time. 

  • Social Gaming: Social casinos are also coming to the forefront. These allow players to play for fun or via a “sweepstakes” model while signing up with their social media accounts. 

  • Licensed Slots: More than ever, we’re finding online slots branded by hit TV shows, sports teams, and leagues. 

Predictions for the Market

It may seem unfathomable to imagine the future of slot machines at this point, but there are numerous directions the industry could take. 

  • Augmented/Virtual Reality: This technology could allow players to be more immersed than ever and be the next evolution of live dealer games. 

  • Blockchain Gaming: This could allow for a more secure platform that offers players tokenized assets that can be exchanged for cryptocurrency. 

  • AI: Artificial Intelligence could be used to enhance algorithms and better understand the play patterns of players. It could also assist with responsible gaming and creating promotions that suit the needs and desires of the player base. 

  • More Widespread Legalization: Online sports betting is legal in over two dozen states, while legal online casino play remains in the single digits. As time goes on, we can expect this number to increase. 

How Much is a Slot Machine Worth: Conclusion

Understanding the slot machine market can be valuable for collectors and allows them to have more of an appreciation for the devices they play at retail casinos and the development costs for their favorite online slots. 

Like any collector's item, though, a slot's value depends on numerous factors, including what you’re interested in, the condition, authenticity, and more. 

Even if you don’t plan on collecting slot machines, we hope you take away information such as the evolution of slots, important pieces in the device's history, and legal ownership restrictions, and have the question of “How much is a slot machine worth?” answered.

Sean Chaffin
Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. He has covered the poker and gaming industry for many years.