Sega Bell

From Sega Retro


SegaBellD SlotMachine.jpg
Sega Bell
System(s): Slot machine
Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Slot machine
$? ?

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The Sega Bell is a brand of slot machines in the Bell series sold by Service Games, Japan. It is believed to have originated from either 1956 or 1957.

The Sega Bell is thought to be an unlicensed clone of the High Top slot machine, manufactured by the Mills Novelty Company (later Mills Bell-O-Matic) from the late 1940s. It is thought that Service Games would take High Top machines in need of repair, would manufacture replacement parts in Japan then re-brand and re-sell as Sega Bells (or alternatively, manufacture full units using the High Top design).

It is thought that Sega Bells, like later slot machines and many of its rivals, were often bespoke units built to suit a customers' needs, so very few machines can be considered identical in terms of aesthetics. Sega Bells are often found set up for US dollar cents (usually 10¢) as many were sold to US military bases across the pacific. Around 1960 a distribution chain was also established to bring Sega Bells to the United Kingdom, usually taking 6d (sixpence in pre-decimal money; models may have been converted in the 1970s). The Copper Sega is a Sega Bell designed for one-pence pieces.


Service Games (incorrectly) claimed to have the rights to distribute Mills machines in the "Pacific Ocean area" (which at the time included Japan, Korea, Formosa (modern day Taiwan), the Philippines and the Japanese islands of Okinawa (which were occupied by the US after World War II and was classed as an entirely separate entity)). Equally they claimed to import parts from the Bell-O-Matic factory in Chicago (later Nevada) and would use the Mills logo to suggest they were authorised to do so[1][2][3], though more likely all parts were manufactured in Japan to cut costs. "Worldwide" Sega Bell distribution was handled by Club Specialty Overseas, Inc..

The High Top design was popular, but at this point quite old, being superseded by new models which Mills was pushing. Being theoretically based outside of the legal juristiction of the United States, it could be suggested that Service Games, Japan chose to capitalise on a market that Mills had not yet explored by selling older, partially-used products at a discounted rate, perhaps assuming that Mills wouldn't notice nor care about the operation.

Mills seemingly became aware of this practise in late 1957, declaring that only Mills Bell-O-Matic had the rights to manufacture its machines, in its plant in Reno, Nevada[4]. It would later start including warnings in its advertising[5], and would later directly name and shame Service Games and West German firm, Westlee GmbH (later Standard Equipment & Service GmbH), Service Games distributor in that country[6][7], for producing copies. It also noted the unlicensed use of its "owl" trademark[8], informing readers that this alone was not enough to ensure the product was official.

By mid-1959 Mills was still warning its customers of "imitation and rebuilt machines from Japan and elsewhere", though had established an official distribution network with the Leonard Haimes Company, which had offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Casablanca, Taiwan, Reykajvik and Madrid[9]. A second official distributor, Tradeship Ltd. had offices in Ottawa, Seoul, Pusan, Inchon, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Saigon. It is not known what effect these official distributors had on Service Games, Japan's business.

Later Sega Bells seemingly downplayed an official connection to Mills, and Service Games, Japan stopped using the owl trademark, but production of units continued. By 1960 Service Games had created its own unique designs of slot machine, collectively known as the Star series, and would no longer pretend to have any connection to Mills-related companies or products.

Promotional material

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Flyer 1
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Flyer 2
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Flyer 3
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Flyer 4
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A promotional lighter was made for Service Games using a Mills Hightop as a case.

Servicegames mills lighter1.jpg
Servicegames mills lighter1.jpg
Servicegames mills lighter2.jpg
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Servicegames mills lighter3.jpg
Servicegames mills lighter3.jpg

Photo gallery

Physical scans

Slot Machine,
MillsBell SlotMachine Manual.jpg


Sega gambling machines
Bell series
Sega Bell (1956) | Sega Bell Classic (195x) | Multiple Bell (195x) | Multiple Bell Classic (195x) | Electro-Bell (1958) | Copper Sega (1963)
Star series
Bonanza Star (1962) | Bonus Star (19xx) | Paybak Star (19xx) | Diamond 3 Star (1960) | Diamond 4 Star (19xx) | Double-Pay Star (19xx) | Mad Money Star (195x) | Progressive Star (1962) | Console Sega (19xx) | Multi-Bell 35 (19xx) | Starlet (196x) | Monaco Starlet (196x) | Copper Star (196x)
Continental series
Continental Bonus (19xx) | Continental 3 Star (19xx) | Continental Progressive (19xx) | Continental Bonanza (19xx) | Continental Mad Money (19xx) | Continental Bulk Pay (19xx) | Continental Big Jack (19xx) | Continental Grand Prix (19xx) | Continental Mark 10 (19xx) | Continental Mark 20 (19xx) | Continental South Seas (19xx)
Windsor series
Windsor Aztec (1974) | Windsor Bonus (1974) | Windsor Buccaneer (19xx) | Windsor Crazy Bells (19xx) | Windsor Crown (1974) | Windsor Derby (1974) | Windsor Imperial (19xx) | Windsor Mad Money (1974) | Windsor Playboy (19xx) | Windsor Sailor (19xx) | Windsor Speedway M1 (19xx) | Windsor Speedway M2 (19xx) | Windsor Vegas (19xx) | Windsor Victory (19xx) | Windsor Wild Joker (1974)
Olympia series
Olympia Star (1964) | New Olympia (1969) | Olympia Mark II (1971) | Olympia Mark III (1972) | Olympia Golden Star (1974)
Ascot (1966) | Mini-Sega (1958) | Lord Sega (196x) | Clover Bell (1960) | Black Jack (196x) | Bonus Line (1974) | Lucky Double (1974) | Bonus Twin (1974)
JPM International
Sonic the Hedgehog (1997) | Around the World in 80 Days (1997) | Planet Tours (1997) | Analog to Digital (1998) | Big Trader (1998) | Penguin's Fishing (1998) | Soccer Crazy (1998) | Club Firecracker (2003)
CR UFO Catcher (1998) | CR Sonic (2003) | CR Sakura Taisen (2007) | CR Virtua Fighter (2008) | Pachinko CR Sakura Taisen 2 (2010) | CR Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! (2011) | Pachinko CR Virtua Fighter Revolution (2012) | CR Persona 4 the Pachinko (2015) | CR Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! Tenshou Gion-hen (2015) | Pachinko CR Puyo Puyo (2017)
Jet Set Radio (2003) | Sakura Taisen (2005) | Virtua Fighter (2007) | Sonic Live! (2008) | Pachislot Puyo Puyo! (2011) | Pachislot Sakura Taisen 3 (2011) | Pachislot Sakura Taisen 3: Loop Ver. (2012) | Virtua Fighter Pachislot (2014) | Pachislot Bayonetta (2015) | Pachislot Devil Survivor 2: The Last Seven Days (2015) | Pachislot Ryu ga Gotoku of the End (2015) | Pachislot Chain Chronicle (2018) | Pachislot Sakura Taisen: Atsuki Chishio Ni (2017) | Pachislot Senjou no Valkyria (2018) | Pachislot Phantasy Star Online 2 (2020) | Pachislot Persona 5 (2022)
M3001 (19xx) | M3002 (19xx) | M3003 (19xx) | M3004 (19xx) | M4001 (1989) | M4002 (19xx) | M5001 (19xx) | Sevens Plus (199x) | Bonanza Bros. (2010) | Golden Axe (2010) | House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn Battle Genesis (2019) | Virtua Fighter Battle Genesis (2019) | NiGHTS Dream Wheel (2021)