Casinos and the gambling industry, in general, have mysterious qualities about them. They can produce wonder and a sense of nostalgia, all in one package. From the history of slots to high-rollers and Robin Hoods of the gambling industry, here are five obscure facts you probably didn’t know about the industry. 1. Some of the First Slot Machines Were Card Games The original Little Model Card Machine was designed by a Brooklyn company called Sittman & Pitt and was released for distribution in 1891. Instead of traditional reels, the machine featured five drums, which displayed playing cards. Those who deposited a penny, or a nickel in later models, would hope for a winning poker hand. Because the units did not have a way to pay out wins, a bartender or other attendant would keep an eye on the game and would deliver trinkets like cigars or free drinks, depending on how good the hand was. Of course, this didn’t happen all too often, because the machines were easy for owners to fiddle with. The drums inside could be altered or a few key cards could be removed to make it more difficult for players to win. 2. The First Slot Machines with Automatic Payouts were Designed by an Auto Mechanic Legend has it that Bavarian-born Charles Fey created the Card Bell, later adapted to Liberty Bell, to keep his customers occupied while they waited for their repairs to be completed in his San Francisco shop. Although it’s a romantic concept, there’s not much info to back this story up. Regardless of what encouraged him to create it, the Card Bell was the first slot machine that provided automatic payouts and it also had the traditional three-reel design. He initially began building them in a workshop at his home, but demand grew so much that he had to expand and ultimately left his career as a mechanic behind to pursue his new passion. 3. There’s a Vegas Robin Hood Who “Steals” from Casinos to Help the Needy In the past, Robinhood702.com has held stories of families in need and has allowed people to submit video essays about why they need Robin Hood 702’s help. His website presently only holds a landing page, which includes a video of his philanthropic efforts to feed the needy. However, back in 2010, he helped the family of a young girl who had a brain tumor which left the family buried in medical debts. According to his website, Robin Hood 702 is a self-made man and a blackjack expert, who uses his skills to win big and help others. Despite the fact that he’s been on TV, he has kept himself cleverly disguised and does not reveal his true identity. His Twitter feed suggests he has been silent recently because he was “locked up by the Sherriff of Nottingham,” but it also promises that 2015 will be a big year for him. 4. The Original Fruit Symbols Represent Flavors of Gum In an effort to circumvent gambling laws in the early 1900s, Industry Novelty Company created a slot machine that paid out pieces of gum. Although they were manufactured as chewing gum dispensers, slot machine owners would routinely trade out the gum that was received for actual cash winnings. The bar symbol as it’s known today is actually a derivative of the Bell Fruit Gum logo of yore, and it was first seen on slot machines designed by The Mills Novelty Company. They were also the first company to provide a jackpot feature on slots. 5. High-Rollers Are Routinely Denied Admittance to Casinos Most people have a romantic idea about what it’s like to be a high roller at a casino. Being whisked away in private jets, having a free limo service, indulging in fine dining at no cost, admittance into VIP rooms, sleeping in lavish penthouse suites, and having casino staff at ones’ disposal are all common. However, even the high-roller has to do some work to get these “freebies,” and they actually have to enter into a written contract with a casino in order to get them. They can’t just show up at a casino with millions of dollars, drop it on the table, and have casino staff swoop in to pamper them. In fact, those with money to burn have to make arrangements with the casino ahead of time and the casino will then determine whether they’re willing to take a risk and let the gambler play. Sometimes, a high-roller will be turned away from numerous casinos before being allowed to put their money on the table. So, when stories emerge about celebrities being “banned” from casinos, this is what has generally occurred. It isn’t that the star did something wrong, per say. It’s simply that the casino doesn’t want to risk losing millions of dollars in one shot.