Why Slot Machines Have a BAR Symbol on Their Reels

Why Slot Machines Have a BAR Symbol on Their Reels

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Few symbols have had a more profound effect on the development of slot machines than the BAR symbol. From the times of classic one-armed bandits to today’s modern online slots, the BAR symbol and all of its iterations still get linked to form winning combinations and remain a crucial element of slot machine gambling.

But, what is the meaning of this symbol, what is its origin, and does it have a place in today’s online slots? Join us as we examine the symbol that’s reshaped an entire category of casino games. 

Table of Contents: 
  1. Where Did the BAR on Slot Machines Come From?
  2. Types of BAR Symbols
  3. BAR Symbols vs. Fruit Slot Symbols
  4. Conclusion

Where Did the BAR on Slot Machines Come From?

Slot machines hit the ground running in the late 1800s in saloons and bars with slots across the US. Even though the payout percentages were low and people were trying to cheat their way into winning all the time, the game’s popularity grew considerably. However, the strict prohibition of gambling in the country had at that time forced gambling houses to find a way around the ban, so instead of paying out winnings in cash, they resorted to giving out gum, which could be traded back for currency or even used as legal tender in those establishments. 

Many historians have asked questions like — what is the meaning of BAR on the slot machine, and how is gambling prohibition connected to it? 

It is believed that the BAR symbol was an actual image on a pack of gum from the Bell-Fruit Gum Company, whose logo during the time bore a remarkable resemblance to the BAR symbol on slots. The first company to integrate the symbol into its classic slot machine was Mills Novelty Company, credited with inventing the first jackpot machine and said to have partnered with the Bell-Fruit Gum Company to incorporate the symbol into its slots. 

Apart from the early slots from Mills Novelty, there’s no conclusive evidence that the story of the origin of BAR symbols indeed relates to a gum brand. Still, the theory has some grounds and is commonly shared among the general public. 

Types of BAR Symbols

You’ve undoubtedly seen different BAR symbols on sweepstakes slots compared to those in online and brick-and-mortar casinos. Each BAR slot machine sign has its own feature and purpose and adds a specific flavor to the game. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Single BAR — The original and simplest form of the BAR symbol. It represents the beginning of the BAR evolution, usually offering the lowest payout among the BAR symbols.
  • Double BAR — A step up from the single BAR, the double BAR symbol carries a higher value and provides more substantial bonuses. It’s literally a stack of two single BAR symbols that pays twice as much as the original.
  • Triple BAR — This is the pinnacle of the BAR hierarchy. The triple BAR symbol stacks three single BARs and comes with the highest payouts. It’s a symbol seasoned slot players eagerly anticipate in their game. 

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These different BAR symbols make slot games more exciting, adding complexity and depth to classic three-reel slots with a single pay line and those more modern slots with five reels and stacks of symbols on the playing grid. 

BAR Symbols vs. Fruit Slot Symbols

When it comes to the language of slot machines, two main dialects exist: BAR symbols and fruit symbols. They each tell a unique part of the slot machine story, painting a vibrant picture of the game’s rich history. 

Do you want to know more? Read also: Top 10 Richest Casino Players In The World

Fruit symbols have been the dominant icons in classic slot machines. Symbols like cherries, lemons, oranges, plums, and the sought-after lucky seven, are remnants of the time when slot machines gave players with fruit-flavored chewing gum. Sounds familiar?

That’s right. The BAR and fruit symbols serve the same fundamental purpose and meaning and have the same roots — chewing gum. Yet, it’s the fruit symbols that truly capture the essence of classic sweepstakes slots. Their colorful charm and the nostalgia they evoke have become synonymous with the simple joy of spinning reels of old. The seamless blend of BAR and fruit symbols was the final step in defining classic slot machines and their dominant theme, so we can rarely see one type of symbol without the other. 

Final Thoughts

The story of the BAR symbol is a fascinating journey from a chewing gum company logo to a classic icon in both traditional and online video slots. It is a testament to slot machine evolution and an illustration of the game’s enduring appeal. Whether you’re playing in a bustling sweepstakes casino or spinning the reels at land-based casinos, the BAR symbol is bound to be there.

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