Why do slot machines feature the number 7? And why is this such a special number in the world of casino gambling?
Slot machines hold a special place in the world of gambling.
Originally, engineers designed slot machines for bars or other gambling halls. But after a period of banishment and legal questions over gambling, slot machines came back in a big way in the 1930s.
One thing that’s remained the same is the importance of the number 7 on slot machines. In popular culture – movies, TV shows, even cartoons – the concept of someone “hitting the jackpot” is commonly depicted by a row of 7s, where each reel on the machine displays the big, red number.
Why Does 7 Appear on Slot Machines?
The simplest answer is that 7 is a number that comes up commonly in our culture. The Bible maintains that God created the world in six days, “and on the 7th day, He rested”.
But it goes further than that. There are:
- 7 days in a week
- 7 colors in the rainbow
- 7 seas on planet Earth
- 7 continents
Quite simply, many of the fundamental beliefs and institutions of our society revolve around this number. The ancient Egyptians believed it symbolized eternity, or more accurately ‘eternal life’. This helps to explain why slot machines use the number 7 so often.
777 Slots Symbol
Most old-fashioned slot machines depend upon simple symbols, including fruit, stars, or the word ‘BAR’ inside a rectangular box.
These symbols can be joined by horseshoes, cards of different suits, or any number of symbols. The symbol itself isn’t as important. When ALL symbols appear the same –that’s what triggers a win for the player.
However, the “7-7-7” became synonymous with a jackpot around the 1950s, when Mills Slot Machines began advertising the “7-7-7 SPECIAL AWARD” jackpot.
Some people believe there’s a connotation with blackjack, where 7-7-7 adds up to 21. In fact, there are blackjack games that still offer a bonus to a player who achieved 21 by accumulating three 7s.
In the 1950s, large red 7s were mixed into the other symbols displayed on each reel. If all three reels displayed the red 7, you’d win the highest amount possible in a single turn (typically $50, which would be equivalent to a little over $600 today).
As time went on, and jackpots expanded to well beyond $50, the number 7 maintained its association with scoring the big prize. Today, electronic slot machines and mobile-based game play render symbols on slots somewhat obsolete. Yet 7 continues to hold a special place in the world of gambling.
The Number 7 and Online Slots
In the 21st century, specific symbols traditionally associated with slot machines have given way to themed games that featured cartoon characters, superheroes, or other logos in the places of the traditional fruits, stars, and suits of cards.
Yet many online slot games still liberally employ the number 7. Sometimes, even incorporating the number into the name of the game itself – Lucky 7s, 7th Heaven, and different variations on ‘777’ are a few examples (not 88 Fortunes!).
The simplest explanation? Different cultures assign significance and meaning to their cherished symbols. In the Western world, 7 remains a lucky number. Therefore, it will always have a place in the world of gambling and slot machines.