CasinosJungle > News > The Iconography of Casino Games: From Ireland to the Liberty Bell

The Iconography of Casino Games: From Ireland to the Liberty Bell

Penny February 29, 2024

Ever since the casino became inundated with noise and color, it has used visual appeal as a huge part of its draw. A casino floor is awash with images of everything from lucky clovers to cherries and everything in between. It can sometimes be overwhelming to see all of these different depictions as you navigate a venue or an online casino. In fact, since the internet revolutionized games of chance, the iconography of the casino has exploded even more. As the number of games has grown exponentially, the themes and cultural influences have developed to help attract as large an audience as possible. So what can we learn from the imagery and iconography that we see in casino games and why are they so popular?

casino game iconography

The Emerald Isle a Strong Influence

No country has helped shape the associated theming and iconography of casino gaming than perhaps Ireland. A tiny island on the very western outskirts of Europe, it may be more known for its contributions to the world of literature, music, and “craic” (also known as having a good time), but its legends and culture have had a big effect on the modern day games that we play both in brick-and-mortar venues and online casino sites. If you were to think about the most popular slots in the world at any given time, you would probably see lucky four-leaf clovers and leprechauns with their pots of gold. This isn’t exactly a new development and the idea of a lucky little man bringing riches to whoever finds the end of the rainbow has obvious connections to games of chance. Everyone would love to be the person to find that end-of-the-rainbow spin to claim a big win on a slot. But what if we told you that he isn’t as lucky as you would imagine?


According to Brittanica, the leprechaun is a lonely little fairy who spends most of his time cobbling together shoes. In later tellings of the myth of this fairy, he was said to have a crock of gold that he would rabidly defend unless threatened by a brave human. However, he was much more likely to fall back on his trickster ways and get the better of the human before escaping. That doesn’t sound too bad but consider that fairies are also commonly used in slot machine imagery. They might seem perfectly harmless but Irish mythology tells us that they are to be avoided at all costs. In particular, if you are to cross them, you will bring bad luck to your home and the evil side of these creatures will be shown. There are also changelings that steal the appearance of someone and terrorise their friends and family. So, while the cartoon leprechauns and fairies that we see on our cereal boxes and our casino games may be friendly enough and intended to signify luck, we might be best avoiding any we come across in the wild forests of Ireland.


The Liberty Bell and the Slot Machine

The very first slot machine from 1894 was called a Liberty Bell. As such, the image of a bell has come to be closely aligned with slots even centuries later. But why is the cracked bell such a pervasive part of the casino? When they were first designed, this image would award the highest payout and so has kept its place as an iconic part of the constantly falling reels. To those outside of the US, though, it would likely not mean much. To them, this is just a flashy depiction of a bell with no clear significance. To those in the States, the Liberty Bell is a symbol of independence, strength, and struggle against tyranny.


To this day, the Liberty Bell sits in Philadelphia and remains an enduring icon for patriots. It was used to announce the reading of the Declaration of Independence and, after decades of being used heavily, it acquired its now-distinctive cracked appearance, as told by the National Park Service. This history is exactly why the symbol remains so popular and is a key part of the slot experience. It represents winning and so is perfectly chosen to be the signal of a big win when spinning the reels. It may now be replaced on some of the games with much more specific themes but all classic slots will include it, making it one of the oldest icons to be associated with the casino. Because of that, it likely will never be lost and will be enjoyed by players for centuries more. 

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