Russian Slot Machines: A Journey Through History and Popular Games

Greetings, fellow slot enthusiasts! Dimon here, ready to take you on a thrilling journey through the captivating world of Russian slot machines. Join me as I recount my personal experiences and explore the rich history of the industry in Russia and the ex-USSR.

90s: My First Encounter with Slot Machines

Ah, the 90s! That's when my love affair with slot machines first began. It was 1997, and I was just a 10-year-old kid embarking on a kayaking trip with my parents to the breathtaking region of Karelia in northern Russia. Little did I know that this trip would introduce me to the mesmerizing world of slot machines.

As we arrived at the train station in Petrozavodsk, I couldn't help but notice a dedicated zone filled with slot machines. The sights, sounds, and blinking lights captivated my young mind. I was curious and eager to give it a try. So, with my parents' permission, they bought me five tokens, and I took a seat at a classic one-armed bandit with a mechanical lever.

With each coin I inserted, the excitement grew. On the third token, the machine came alive with even more flashing lights and enchanting sounds. To my sheer delight, a cascade of tokens poured into the tray. I had hit the jackpot! I won a whopping 200 tokens. My parents exchanged them for money, and with my newfound riches, we bought a bag full of chewing gum - the ultimate dream of every Russian kid back then.

Turbo, Donald Duck, Bombibom - those were the names that adorned the colorful gum packages. I couldn't resist sharing my joy with the other kids on our kayaking trip. I distributed the gummies generously, and there was enough to go around. The exhilaration I felt on that day is indescribable, and it's safe to say that it sparked my lifelong passion for slots.

Early 2000s: The Gambling Boom in Russia

Fast forward to the early 2000s. I was a bit older now, and the gambling scene in Russia was undergoing a transformation. A new breed of slot machines so-called "Сolumns" or "Stolbiki" in Russian started gaining popularity. These rectangular poles featured screens on all four sides, displaying three numbers, a coin slot, and a tray for winnings. The concept was simple - drop a coin, and the screen would generate a random number combination to determine your payout.

These machines found their homes in ordinary grocery stores, as the gambling market in Russia was still in its early stages of regulation. Local workers were drawn to these machines, hoping to strike it big with their hard-earned salaries. While I wasn't particularly attracted to the store environment, I couldn't resist the temptation and tried my luck a few times. I even managed to hit the coveted combination of 777, which paid out 200 times the bet - talk about a rush!

During this time, the Russian gambling market was expanding rapidly. Gambling halls were popping up, many of which belonged to popular networks like Vulkan and Jackpot. Interestingly, the creation of the Jackpot slot hall network involved none other than Yuri Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow. These establishments became my go-to spots when I had a bit of extra cash to spare. The demand for slot machines led to the rise of Russian manufacturers such as Igrosoft (founded in 1999) and Belatra, who became beloved by gamblers for their exciting games.

Now let's talk about the slots that stole our hearts back then. The most popular ones in Russia and the post-Soviet countries were:

Crazy Monkey by Igrosoft

Join the mischievous monkey in this beloved Russian slot as you venture into the jungle in search of bananas and exciting prizes. With its playful theme and entertaining gameplay, Crazy Monkey has captured the hearts of many slot enthusiasts.

Crazy Monkey Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Bonus Feature: Trigger the bonus game by collecting three or more coconut symbols, where you'll help the monkey choose the right ropes to uncover hidden rewards.

Crazy Monkey Russian Slot game

Fruit Cocktail by Igrosoft

With its vibrant graphics and classic fruit symbols, this slot has become a popular choice among players.

Fruit Cocktail Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Bonus Feature: Land three or more strawberry symbols to activate the bonus game, where you'll mix cocktails and reveal generous rewards.

Russial Slot Fruit Cocktail by Igrosoft

Garage by Igrosoft


Garage Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Bonus Feature: Land three or more box symbols to activate the bonus game. Land two or more lock symbols to earn points that will unlock the Super Key feature. 

Garage Russian Slot by Igrosoft

Fairy Land by Belatra

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Fairy Land, where a mystical pond covered with ivy and water lilies serves as the backdrop for this captivating slot game. Prepare to be mesmerized by the magical atmosphere as you encounter the charming protagonist, a toad, whose image graces the reels and triggers exciting bonus features.

Fairy Land Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Bonus Feature: Land three or more frog symbols to activate the bonus game.

Fairy Land Russian Slot by Belantra

Resident by Igrosoft

This military-themed slot takes you back to the era of World War II, where you'll encounter a cast of exaggerated spy-detective characters in a humorous and thrilling gameplay experience. The game's design pays homage to the nostalgic charm of classic fruit machines from the 90s, adding a touch of retro flair to the excitement.

Resident Slot Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Bonus Feature: Land three or more safe symbols to activate the bonus game.

Resident Russian slot by Igrosoft

An Escape from Alcatraz by Belatra

Take on the challenge of escaping from the infamous Alcatraz prison in this thrilling slot game. Navigate through prison cells and use your wits to unlock rewards as you experience the excitement of a daring prison break.

Alcatraz Slot Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Bonus Feature: Land three or more prisoner symbols to start the bonus game

Alcatraz Russian Slot by Belatra Games

Lucky Hunter by Igrosoft

Lucky Hunter is another popular in Russia slot, created by Igrosoft.

Lucky Hunter Technical Details:

  • Reels: 5
  • Paylines: 9
  • Wild Symbol: Look out for the horseshoe symbol, which acts as the Wild and can substitute for other symbols to help create winning combinations. 
  • Bonus Feature: The bottletop symbol serves as the Scatter, triggering exciting bonus games when you land 3 of them on the reels. Unlock the bonus games and uncover additional opportunities for generous rewards.

Lucky Hunter Russian Slot by Igrosoft

These slots were a hit among players with their 9 paylines, risky gamble games to double your winnings through card guessing, and bonus features that added an extra layer of excitement. While the mechanics of these games were similar, it was the unique themes and storylines that set them apart.

As the gambling industry in Russia continued to evolve, the internet opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Online casinos started gaining popularity, providing players with the convenience of playing from the comfort of their homes. One standout player in the market was Va Bank Casino, established in 2002, which boasted its own platform. Additionally, there was Casino Igrun, a game club with a unique vision of gambling. It offered exclusive entertainment with captivating storylines and high payout percentages, making it a distinct destination for players seeking something different.

The Decline of Offline Gambling in Russia: The Ban and its Consequences

However, the offline gambling business in Russia faced a significant setback on July 1, 2009, when the authorities implemented a ban on all gambling activities, except for a few designated zones. This decision led to the emergence of underground slot machine clubs, but many players shifted their focus to online platforms.

If you have any burning questions about the history of the gambling industry in Russia and the CIS, feel free to drop them in the comments. It's fascinating to reflect on how far we've come and the changes that have shaped the world of slots in our region. Stay tuned for more stories and insights from the thrilling world of Russian slot machines!

Helena Helena 6 months ago #

Thanks for taking us down memory lane with your storytelling, Dimon. Your vivid descriptions and personal anecdotes truly paint a picture of a time that shaped our perception of slot machines in Russia. Keep sharing these fascinating stories, my friend. 

I remember this. It seemed that these machines were on practically every corner, from Nikolskaya to Okhotny Ryad. People could not resist the temptation to try their luck, sometimes even sacrificing their hard-earned money.

«Luzhkov's» Moscow, as you put it, was a spectacle. It was a city of contrasts: advertisements filled every empty space, historic buildings were covered with posters, and cell phone stores like Euroset and Svyaznoy were popping up on every corner. The transformation of former grocery stores into arcades and the aroma of not-so-tasty shawarma permeating the air added to the uniqueness of the city.

And who can forget the endless road repairs and parks that seemed to always need tending? It was a veritable mixture of chaos, frustration and nostalgia. But in the midst of all this madness, we somehow found moments of joy and excitement in playing these slots and experiencing the thrill of the game.

Lenka-penka Lenka-penka 6 months ago #

Once upon a time, I played a game called 'Monkey' and I won. I spend all the money on sweets and McDonald's

By using, you agree to our use of cookies.