Just as many other gaming providers, WMS initially main product were pinball machines from where they branched out to supply a whole variety of arcade video games. The company was founded as early as 1943 by Harry E. Williams and went on to become on of the major suppliers in the industry. They produced some great classics of the early video games such as Paddle Ball, Defender, Stargate and Robotron: 2084. Most of the people growing up in the late 70s will remember them fondly as they could be found in virtually every major games arcade and where also ported onto the first home video game systems.
The abbreviation WMS goes back to the year 1987 when the company was renamed into Williams Industries Inc. and publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which designated WMS as their ticker symbol. The spread of video games saw a sharp decline in the market for pinball machines and led WMS to the decision to enter the slot machine industry. The background in video games proved very helpful in launching their own reel slots as they replaced the physical reels of classic slots with graphical video slot reels. This allowed them to design virtually any type of theme for a slot machine and on top to add a whole variety of bonus games.
Their first ever hit slot was Reel’Em In, which turned out to be their launching pad for successfully establishing themselves on casino floors around the world. It led to the release of their Monopoly series which was at the time the first ever interconnected slot where all machines of the same type in a casino would contribute to a progressive jackpot. This was later expanded to cover multiple casinos. With 100’s of machines contributing, the jackpots grew quickly into millions of dollars.
The first WMS slots at online casinos appeared in 2010 as they embarked on a strategy to bring their most popular slot machines from the casino floors into the homes of slotting enthusiasts. The name Williams Interactive was adopted in 2012 to emphasize their focus on the global online gaming industry. Just over a year later, WMS merged with Scientific Games Corporation into the newly formed subsidiary SG Interactive. By 2014, the two brands were joined by Barcrest, Shuffle Master and Bally Technologies, creating a major game provider to the online casino market.
Over the years, WMS was able to attract an immensely large base of slotting fans. Some of their games such as Reel’ Em In, Raging Rhino, Black Knight, the Monopoly series, Zeus and Wizard of Oz achieved legendary status in the gambling community. That increased even more when they started offering the games at online casinos.