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Lakeside Blog

How March Became Madness: The Story of The NCAA Tournament

March 02, 2018

What is March Madness? Does it mean going crazy for the arrival of spring? No, It's the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division one men's basketball tournament known as "March Madness". It's a single-elimination tournament played primarily during March and has become one of the biggest annual sporting events. But, let's go back to where it all started.

The tournament was created in 1939, by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the idea of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen. From 1939 through 1951 only eight teams were invited to participate in the college basketball tournament. Today, there is a selection committee that ranks the whole field of 68 teams from one to 68. The committee then divides the teams amongst the regions. The top four teams will be distributed among the four regions, and each will receive a number one seed within that region. The next four top-ranked teams will continue the same process until all teams are seeded. The field will whittle down to the Sweet 16, and then Elite Eight, before the winning teams from each region form the Final Four.

Rise of the Electronic Slot Machines

February 01, 2018
In the mid 20th century, electromechanical slots began to appear and replace the previous mechanical models. By the 1950's there was a race to build the biggest slot machine possible and what resulted was "Big Bertha". It was a six by ten-foot machine with eight reels and twenty symbols on each reel, powered by a five horsepower motor. In 1963, Bally Manufacturing developed the first completely electromechanical slots titled "Money Honey". It had major differences from its predecessors, the inner mechanisms were now electronic parts rather than springs and they added sounds, lights, the option to bet multiple coins, and a hopper (drop bucket) for coins.
 
The advent of video slots in 1975 completely changed the slot machine industry. Video slots do not have any moving parts at all. The spinning reels are simulated on an electronic screen using software that contains a random number generator, which determines the final symbols on display. The first video slot machine was invented by Walt Fraley, and was named "Fortune Coin". Seeing the potential of video slots, International Gaming Technology (IGT) purchased "Fortune Coin" and used the technology to introduce an array of new games. Originally, video slots were not very popular because players did not trust the integrity of the software when compared to physical reels.
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