03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Slot Machines Require Actual Skill

The venerable slot machine is undergoing a generational shift. For more than a century, since its invention by a German immigrant named Charles Fey in the 1890s, slot machines have required little more than cash, faith and an ability to pull a lever or push a button.

But now, a new class of machines, aimed at attracting younger players who grew up with video games, is demanding something else -- skill.

Adding an element of hand-eye coordination, however simple, is just one way slot makers are laboring to broaden the appeal of the insistently bleating devices that have proved so popular among older players. Besides new devices that provide an extra payoff for game-playing dexterity, manufacturers have developed communal games that link clusters of machines -- which are proving popular with people under 40.

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