Have you ever thought about what slot machine symbols actually represent? Why are most of the slot machines out there having fruits, sevens, bells and bars on their reels?
There are many different legends on this subject. It takes hours to find information about them all and build your own opinion on what is true and what is not. In this article we are helping you to save your time. Let’s go through these dirty little symbols one by one. We do not claim by any means that what is written here is proven as truth. These are, though, according to our belief, the most likely explanations.
In US where the slots were invented in the end of 19th century gambling was forbidden. You could not gamble for real money, but you could gamble for items. You could exchange those items later on at the cashier for real dollar bills. The newly invented industry was in need of a new quasi-currency. The most logical choice at that time was to use chewing gums as currency. Slot machines were placed in bars and stores where chewing gum was easy to store. Grape, lemon, orange, cherry and strawberry flavors were the most popular ones hundred years ago.
Offering chewing gums as prizes was easy to explain to authorities that investigated illegal gambling activity. Or, at least, it was enough in case a reasonable amount was also offered as bribe. The society then was not as we know it today. Corruption was a common thing in States.
Different flavors of chewing gums were corresponding to different prize level amounts. You could win 10 orange flavored chewing gums in the machine and then get, let’s say, 10 dollars for exchanging them at the bar desk. If you won 10 cherry flavored ones, the money you would get for them could be substantially higher.
Needless to say, these chewing gums in most of the cases were old and impossible to chew. But who cares? It would be quite pricy and stupid to try chewing on something that you can exchange for a much larger amount than it actually costs.
It is stated in many sources that the BAR symbol has been developed from the logo of the main slot machine manufacturer Bell-Fruit Gum. This is only partially true. Of course it does remind the logotype of this company. However it remains unclear why it says BAR. The abbreviation of Bell-Fruit Gum would be BFG. So, why the hell do we see the word BAR used on pretty much all classic slot machines? The answer is simple. As the prizes you could win were physical prizes, you got a Mars bar out from the machine if you managed to get the winning symbols right on your reels. 3 BAR symbols would give you an old Mars or Snickers bar that, in turn, had a certain fixed value at the cashier.
Bells are actually derived from the name of Bell-Fruit. Bells were playing an important part in the brand book of this company. Later on, when the slot machines became popular world-wide, the bells have started being used for triggering a bell sound. When you got 3 bell symbols on your machine, the amount won was so big that it had to be paid out manually and the machine had to be reset by an attendant. The bell signal was the way of informing the casino employee about the need of his physical presence. An important aspect for each casino is “screaming” about the wins that occur. This sound acted as a great tool for bringing the attention of casino visitors to a large win.
Seven is a lucky number for many of us. It has been like this for ages. This number is magic in many different ways – there are seven days in a week, there are seven colors in a rainbow, God created the world in seven days etcetera. There is no universal explanation of why seven is a lucky number, but this number being lucky is the reason of this number being present on most of the slots machines.
Our theory is that the luckiness of number 7 in the world of Casino is the result of the concept “lucky seven” in craps. When you roll a dice, you are normally throwing two at a time. The probability of getting a certain number is different. This depends of number of combinations possible. You can have 35 different combinations, 6 of which will give you a 7. This means a 16.666% chance.
The chances of hitting a seven are highest. That is why placing a bet on “lucky seven” is quite popular. If you compare a 7 to rolling a 2, you will feel the difference. The probability of rolling a lucky seven is not less than 6 times higher than that of rolling a 2.
We suggest that the historical popularity of craps has contributed to “lucky seven” having transformed into one of the most popular slot machine symbols in the world.