History of Wheel of Fortune Slot

By Stan Rogers on January 24, 2015

Wheel of Fortune is an American TV game show that premiered in 1975. The risk and reward inherent in the game, and the thrill and skill needed to win, made the game show the most popular and longest running show in the United Sates. The show’s popularity prompted International Gaming Technology (IGT) to adopt the theme as one of its land-based slot machines in the mid-1990s.

Beginnings of the Wheel of Fortune Slot

IGT designed and developed the first Wheel of Fortune slot machine in 1996. The concept of the slot machine was based on the actual TV game show of the same name, featuring the proprietary theme music and sound effects of the said show. The slot game experience is close enough to the real game experience what with the slot’s realistic “wheel” spun by players and animated cheer from the “audience”.

Features and Design

The basic slot machine has the look and feel of a standard slot. The slot game is offered in 3-reel, 5-reel, and video variants. A player experiences a “spin the wheel” moment when presented with a chance to win the jackpot. The button featured on the slot game is akin to the one used in the actual TV game show.

A player places his bet by pressing the button marked BET. He has the option to place a maximum bet of 3 tokens by pressing MAX BET to facilitate the deposit of 3 tokens into the slot machine. Pressing the SPIN button sets the reels in motion. If a player receives a wheel symbol or three such symbols during a spin, he becomes eligible to play the Wheel of Fortune base game. The player is “transported” into an animated yet realistic Wheel of Fortune setup for the win.

The SPIN is the major way to make money in this slot game. A spin that stops on the third reel means a big moolah win! Though there are other payouts, they are basically minor. Not opting for the maximum bet cuts down the player’s chance to “spin” the wheel and win the progressive jackpot.

Wheel of Fortune Variants

There are over 200 land-based slot variants of Wheel of Fortune. The more basic games include Five Times Pay; Double Diamond; and Red, White and Blue. The interface is 3-D with realistic animation, sound effects and lighting. It is not easy to determine the actual dates the variants came out but some of them are listed below. Note that Wheel of Fortune slot machines have bets of 1¢, 25¢, $1, $5, $25 and $100. Wheel of Fortune variants played in most brick and mortar casinos are:

• Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme Spin 5R 720W
• Wheel of Fortune Big Money 5R 30L
• Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Double 3x 4x5x Lucky Pays 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Double 3X4X5X Pay 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Five Times Pay
• Wheel of Fortune Triple Double Emeralds 3R
• Wheel of Fortune Triple Diamond 3R 5L
• Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Double 3X4X5X Pay 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Triple Stars 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Double 3x 4x5x Lucky Pays 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Double 3X4X5X Pay 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond 3R 1L
• Wheel of Fortune Red White And Blue Wild Star
• Wheel of Fortune Lucky 7s 3R 1L

Other IGT variants are: Triple Strike, Wild Getaway, Winning 7s, Triple Point Respin, Retro Multi-win, Pink Diamond, Ruby 7, Classic, 5-Reel, Wild Get-away, Red Hot Wild, Special Edition Reel Money Spin,Dazzling Gems, and 100 plus more!

Wheel of Fortune Online Slots

The Wheel of Fortune slot series has made IGT a very popular brand in the field of slot machines. There are various brands who tried to re-create the success of the land-based Wheel of Fortune into online slots. Some of these online slots are Mega Fortune by NetEnt, Rags to Riches by Cryptologic, Cash Spin by Bally Technologies and more.

IGT joined forces with WagerWorks to design and develop online casino versions of Wheel of Fortune. To date there are two Wheel of Fortune online slots by WagerWorks and IGT: Wheel of Fortune Hollywood Edition and Wheel of Fortune Triple Action Frenzy. These are real-money-gaming online slots offered by IGT and WagerWorks.

IGT’s entry into social gaming brought about the creation of DoubleDown Casino Interactive. Its initial offering is the Wheel of Fortune Double Diamond online slot released in September 2014. Such was the success of the social gaming online slot that in November of the same year, the second social gaming online slot, Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme Spin, was released. In January 2015, the third release was launched titled Wheel of Fortune Extra Spin.

Fans of Wheel of Fortune slots can expect more variants of the game in online casinos and in social gaming sites through IGT’s partnership not only with WagerWorks but with Sony Pictures Consumer Products.