Why Do Slot Machines Say “BAR” on Their Reels?

Historically, the BAR symbol has been very much attached to slot machines. We explore the historical reasons why BAR is so important to slots.

why do slot machines say
Why Do Slot Machines Say “BAR” on Their Reels?

One of the most common questions any slot player would think about is the meaning behind that "BAR" symbol. Why does it appear in several slots and what kind of "fruit" is it?

We dive into the history of slots in this article to know what the slot machine BAR symbol represents.

What is the BAR symbol?

BAR slot symbols are a common payout symbol among fruit slots and are often the letters BAR in a small box. Certain slots have multiple iterations of the symbols by having two BAR words stack onto each other while others also include three BAR stacked into one symbol.

Different fruit slots have varying values for their respective BAR symbol. A majority of games have the BAR symbol as the second-highest or mid-tier payout symbol in between the 7 and fruit symbols. In the case of games with multiple BAR symbols, the two or three-layered ones frequently have better payouts than the regular ones. Fruit symbols are used to add a retro aesthetic to a slot.

History of the BAR Symbol

The slot machine BAR slot symbol has to do with gums. To be precise, the symbol is a pack of rectangular gum that you can easily buy from your local grocery or convenience store.

Let us go back to the early 1900s when one-armed bandits or the earliest slot machines were banned due to the strict prohibition of the US on gambling at that time. Establishments found a way to get customers to spin the reels by offering gum as its payout. It is why cherries and lemon are often present in fruit slots since these are gum flavors. You can find these slots in bars or speakeasies.

In 1909, the Industry Novelty Company was the first one to create mechanical fruit slots. They were followed by Mills Novelty Company based in Chicago who made their slots with a single difference, a BAR symbol within the reels. What appeared on the reels of a Mills Novelty Company slot was a photo of a gum pack during its first iteration, which was replaced with the BAR symbol we are familiar with today.

Meaning of the BAR symbol on slot machines.
Meaning of the BAR symbol on slot machines.

It is important to note that this is just one theoretical history on the origins of the BAR classic slot symbol. Another theory suggests that the symbol was the logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company itself, which looks like a longer version of the familiar BAR symbol. Slots at that time would be dispensing gums from that company to anyone who matches the right symbols on the payline.

While the theory seems interesting, historians find this hard to believe since there were barely any gum companies selling bars or pack of gum at the time the fruit slots came out. Others claim that the symbol was a promotion for the upcoming gum packs that were yet to be available to the public.

Relive history through various BAR online slot games. Below are the top three games we picked based on their features.

1. Twin Spin - Netent 

In NetEnt's minimalist online fruit slot, Twin Spin has one defining feature: Twin Reel. When you trigger the Twin Reel feature, two to five random reels will have similar symbols on them. Backing this feature is the 243 ways-to-win payline mechanic and wild symbols. Having three Twin Reels from the left guarantees a significant win while five Twin Reel can lead to incredibly high payouts.

For the BAR fruit slot symbol in this game, it gives 15 coins for matching 3 of them, 100 coins for matching 4, and 400 coins for matching 5.

2. Progressive Diamond Jackpot - Betsoft

Betsoft's Progressive Diamond jackpot recalls the 70s style Las Vegas one-payline slot. BAR symbols come in one, two, and three stacked versions where the larger the stack, the higher the payout. Matching three of any BAR symbols with four coins. Other symbols include the Cherry, 7, and Diamond symbols. Having one cherry on any of the reels rewards you with two coins while two cherries can get you four coins.

As you can tell by the name, this online classic slot has a progressive jackpot feature. You can win the jackpot by matching three diamonds and are betting 3 coins.

3. Retro Reels: Diamond Glitz - Microgaming

Everything about Microgaming's Retro Reels: Diamond Glitz exudes luxury and fortune. BAR symbols come in one, two, three, stacked versions along with three different diamond symbols. Matching three different BAR symbols have a payout of 5 coins for three symbols, 20 coins for four symbols, and 75 coins per five symbols.

Diamond Glitz from MicroGaming

One of the notable features of this slot machine bar game is its scatter mode that you can trigger by having two or more of the Free Spin Bonus symbol appear on the reels. During the free spin mode, you get a 2x multiplier for all matches you create.

Classic symbols such as the BAR, 7's, and bells have a strong history among all physical and online casinos. You can relieve that history by spinning the reels of several online slot games.

This article was published on March 4, 2021, and last updated on October 24, 2022.