Slot Machine Symbols: The Meaning Behind the Images

Slot Machine Symbols: The Meaning Behind the Images

Slot machine symbols are an important part of any casino’s history and tradition. Furthermore, the designs of slot symbols contribute to the uniqueness of each slot game.

We’ll go over all symbols, not just the classic symbols, so you can become a casino trivia master among your friends and family.

Are you ready to learn about the most well-known and fascinating slot machine symbols in history?

How Many Symbols Are There in a Slot Machine?

The number of symbols in a slot machine varies from slot machine to slot machine. Original slot machine symbols were first printed on 3-reel slots and had a number of 3 reels. This means that the number of common slot machine symbols can be calculated as follows 20 x 20 x 20 = 8000 symbols. 

Old slot machines symbols

After adding the playing cards, and the original slot machine symbols, Charles August Fey (the inventor of the first coin-operated gambling machine) decided to add the horseshoes and the liberty bell. Soon after, slot fruit machine symbols started popping out from other designers of the time, and thus the revolution of gambling began.

These and the good ol’ number 7 are the most recognizable slot symbols worldwide, given the fact that they are the oldest and most used. You can find them in almost any casino worldwide.  

Fruit slot symbols

Whatever casino you visit, there will undoubtedly be plenty of slot machines with vintage fruit slot symbols such as cherries, lemons, bananas, grapes, apples, and so on.

Initially, slot machines only had numbers, but the owners rigged the machines in their favour, resulting in a gambling ban. To get around this, “the Bell-Fruit Gum Company” designed slot machines that paid out in gum rather than cash, assuring law enforcement that the machines were nothing more than vending machines. 

Modern slot machines icons

Modern slot machine icons are a lot flashier and provide the players with bigger Jackpot money prizes, and even more, chances to win. 

Modern casino sites provide animated slots, 3D graphics, and plenty of incredible visual effects. It’s no surprise that modern symbols, rules and graphics are becoming more diverse, given the competition between software providers and casinos.

Alternative slot icons

Alternative slot icons, such as wilds and scatters, offer gamblers more chances of becoming winners. These symbols are typically used in online gambling because digital slot machines have a lot more room and resources for creativity than traditional physical ones.

Moreover, we’ll go over all the different slot machine symbols below so you have a better understanding of them.

Types of Slot Symbols

If you fancy yourself a gambling person and enjoy apps that provide slot machines, roulette or other casino games for beginners, not to mention the promotions they offer, you should know your way around the slot symbols available for most gambling games.

Standard Symbols

Classic standard fruit symbols can be cherries, grapes, oranges, melons and lemons, while the traditional playing card symbols are: Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks and Tens. They are the most common in most slot machines today, although graphics vary by provider.

Wild Symbols

Wild Symbols come in many shapes and sizes, but the one you’ll land most often will usually replace other symbols on the reels so you’ll be able to land a winning combination. These symbols only appear on occasion, and they can help you unlock multiple paylines, leading to massive wins. 

Scatter Symbols

The Scatter is used by software developers to give players extra bonuses which are not present in the basic game. They also pop up randomly on the reels, and that’s all they need to do to trigger free spins, extra bonus rounds and so on.

Bonus Symbols

As their name suggests, the Bonus Symbols will trigger bonus rounds, but unlike Scatter Symbols, they have to land on specific lines in order to be activated. 

Multiplier Symbols

These slot symbols are the easiest to understand, as they’ll usually tell you the number of times your winning bet will be multiplied by. While they are extremely common, they are not found in every slot machine.

Stacked Symbols

Stacked symbols are the same symbols that are stacked on top of each other on the reels. Landing them in a row, or wherever the game’s payline is, will result in you winning that round of spins.

Sticky Symbols

Sticky symbols, which can be wild or regular icons, will remain in place on the reels for one to several spins. Matching them on the payline with other winning symbols will result in you being declared the round’s winner.


If you enjoy playing slot machines, there has never been a better time for both gamblers and those who simply enjoy spinning the reels.

Slot symbols enhance the entertainment value of any slot game, whether played in a casino or online. And, with fierce competition at the top, the owners are working hard to develop games that casino fans will enjoy.

Once you understand how everything works, you can try your luck by selecting a slot game with the most appealing slot machine symbols.


How many symbols are on a slot machine?

The number of symbols on a slot machine varies from game to game, but the most common three-reel slots have about 20 symbols per reel. That means that you have 60 symbols on an average three-reel slot machine, and 100 symbols on a five-reel slot machine.

How do you read a slot machine?

To determine the true odds of winning, focus on the RTP rate. Return to Player is the percentage of total wagers that are returned to players as winnings. If this percentage is higher, the slot is more likely to produce more wins. Just read the game’s pay-table and information section before you play.

What does BAR mean on slot machines?

Historically speaking, the BAR symbol is considered to be the stylised image of a chewing gum pack belonging to a brand of the time that sponsored the creation of a slot machine. Although its origins are disputed, the BAR symbol, together with the fruit ones, remains one of the most recognisable slot machine symbols around the world.

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