Throughout history, from ancient Roman dice games to today's Las Vegas casinos, the concept of luck has been paramount in gambling. Lucky charms, by definition, are items or symbols believed to bring good luck and fortune to their bearers. Icons like rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, and clovers have long symbolized this sought-after luck.

Whether viewed as superstition or genuine belief, their presence is undeniable in gaming culture. These symbols even grace many slot machines, beckoning players with the hope of good fortune. This article delves into the significance of these charms, from their historical origins to their role in modern gaming. As you spin the slots, whether in a casino or on your mobile, spotting these charms might just bring an added thrill to your play. Dive in to explore more.

Physical Lucky Charms for Gambler


These symbols have come to signify a lucky turn of events or a need for a nice stroke of fortune. This symbol also fits well with horse race wagering. It’s believed this lucky charm dates back to the 8th Century.

The Chaldeans, who trace their roots to ancient Babylon, believed the crescent shape represented various moon goddesses and protected against the curse of the evil eye. Horseshoes were even featured on slot machine inventor Charles Fey’s first slot machine, the Liberty Bell, which was manufactured in 1899.

  • Lucky qualities: warding off evil spirits

  • Bonus spin: Others believe horseshoes’ luck comes from St. Dunstan, the patron saint of blacksmiths. He’s believed to have tricked the devil, shoeing Satan’s own cloven hoof with great force and pain.

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Rabbit’s feet

How many poor rabbits lost their lives in the pursuit of luck? That might not be known, but carrying these devices on keychains remains popular for many seeking some positive vibes.

Some historians believe Celtic tribes believed rabbits could communicate with gods and spirits because they spent so much time underground. In turn, someone carrying a rabbit's foot could do the same. By the 1600s, some believed these lucky charms could stave off ailments like arthritis as well.

Some believe that notion comes from the “Hand of Glory” in the Middle Ages, which involved pickling the left hand of an executed man and keeping it for good fortune. The rabbit’s foot token of luck continues into modern times for some as well.

  • Lucky qualities: warding off evil spirits; keeping good health.

  • Bonus spin: Luckily for those poor bunnies, many rabbit feet now are artificially manufactured.

Clovers & Shamrocks

Chances are you’ve seen clovers and shamrocks in many casinos and slots. Some Irish-themed casinos even incorporate these into the decor of the property. Why are these small green plants considered lucky? The four-leaf variety is not only rare, but for hundreds of years, the Irish saw them as being even luckier for those who found one. The four leaves themselves were said to represent faith, hope, love, and success.

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Four-leaf clovers are considered lucky for their rarity,” Parade magazine notes. “In the Middle Ages, it was believed by some Celtic groups that wielding a four-leaf clover would help you see fairies, as well as to ward off evil spirits, and grant the holder good luck.

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  • Lucky qualities: seeing spirits and fairies, warding off evil spirits, magical protections

  • Bonus spin: Famed author John Melton may have been one of the first to mention the luck of a four-leaf clover. He wrote in the 1600s: “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after finding some good thing.”


Along with being synonymous with wealth, gold seems to have taken on a sense of luck on its own. Many see wearing gold as lucky, but the idea of this may have deeper roots in the U.S. and Canada In the 19th Century. Americans from all parts of the country headed west to be part of the quickly growing gold mining trade.

Those seeking their fortunes traveled to areas like California, Nevada, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Alaska, British Columbia, the Klondike, and more. Gold fever brought many hoping for some success. Gambling halls also sprouted up in these areas as well, serving miners with plenty of cash looking to play some cards, dice, or roulette.

Not only do many of these areas now offer casinos, including slot machines, of course, but the spirit of gold fever stays alive with the iconography of this precious metal still a major inspiration. A quick stroll through a casino will often yield many slots offering a chance at a gold strike.

Some casinos are still featuring gold in their own slot themes including properties like the Golden Nugget (Las Vegas), Gold Spike (Las Vegas), Cities of Gold (Arizona), Golden Gulch (Colorado), Gold Country (California), and numerous others.

  • Lucky qualities: wealth, success, money, good fortune

  • Bonus spin: In the early days of slot machines, gold coins could be used in the U.S. as a form of currency. Some slots were built to even accept this form of payment.

Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat)

A delightful blend of color, art, and belief, the Maneki Neko, or the beckoning cat, hails from the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan. This charming feline, often seen with one paw raised, promises not just companionship but also a wave of prosperity. While traditionally adorning shops and business establishments, the reach of the Maneki Neko has expanded to the buzzing tables and lobbies of casinos worldwide.

  • Lucky qualities: wealth and prosperity.

  • Bonus spin: The color palette of these cats is diverse and each hue promises a different kind of luck. Gold beckons wealth, while white promises purity and happiness.

Dream Catcher

A testament to Native American wisdom and artistry, the dream catcher is a symbol steeped in legend. Traditionally handcrafted using natural materials, its intricate web and feathers were believed to filter dreams. While its primary role was to protect sleepers, ensuring only positive visions reached them, gamblers have reimagined its purpose. Many now hang them in gambling venues, believing these ancient talismans could sieve out bad luck.

  • Lucky qualities: protection and positive energy.

  • Bonus spin: The web's design represents the spider's web. This meticulous pattern is believed to catch and hold anything harmful.


Majestic and wise, the elephant holds a revered spot in many cultures, particularly in the vast landscapes of Asia. Its towering presence and gentle demeanor symbolize both strength and tranquility. The elephant's significance isn't merely in its physical grandeur; it's also viewed as a reservoir of wisdom and a remover of obstacles. Many gamblers, inspired by these noble creatures, often carry miniature figurines or tokens, hoping that the elephant’s revered qualities might guide their endeavors in the unpredictable world of casinos.

  • Lucky qualities: wisdom, loyalty, and remover of obstacles.

  • Bonus spin: The orientation of the elephant's trunk can be telling. An upward-facing trunk is believed to shower prosperity and good fortune.

Lucky Dice

Dice, quintessential to the essence of many gambling games, are more than just tools of chance. Their origins trace back to ancient civilizations, symbolizing both fate and fortune. While inherently connected to gambling, the allure of dice extends beyond the games. Many gamblers, even those who don’t play dice-centric games, carry a pair with them, viewing them as tangible representations of luck and the exciting unpredictability of life.

  • Lucky qualities: chance and good fortune.

  • Bonus spin: Julius Caesar's declaration, "Alea iacta est" (The die is cast), is an eternal testament to the weighty outcomes a simple roll can determine.


The humble acorn, a symbol of potential and growth, traces its lore to the Norse folklore. To the ancient Norse, the acorn wasn't just a seed but a promise. The mighty oak tree, revered for its longevity and strength, begins its journey as this small seed. Drawing parallels, many gamblers see the acorn as a token that embodies hope, believing that small beginnings can lead to grand outcomes in their gambling pursuits.

  • Lucky qualities: potential, growth, and protection.

  • Bonus spin: An acorn carried in one’s pocket is often viewed as a charm that ensures both good health and sustained wealth.

Lucky Penny

There's an old adage that many still believe: "Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long, you'll have good luck." The simple penny, often overlooked, carries with it tales and traditions. For many gamblers, the penny is not about its monetary value but the symbolic weight it carries. Whether found by chance or passed down as heirlooms, these pennies are viewed as conduits of good fortune, especially if discovered heads up.

  • Lucky qualities: wealth and protection.

  • Bonus spin: There's a belief among some gamblers that tossing a new penny over one's left shoulder into a river can be a prelude to a successful stint at gambling.

Lucky Charms Symbols in Gambling

In the world of gambling, lucky charm symbols have always held a special place. These symbols, rich in history, give players hope and a touch of magic as they chase their fortunes. Dive in as we present the list.


These mythical beasts are seen as lucky in several cultures. Through the years, many people in Asian countries have viewed dragons as symbols of power and good luck. Some have even seen them as controlling water-related weather such as rain, typhoons, and floods. Their mythical sense of luck is still recognized by many.

For this reason, dragons are regularly featured in numerous slot games, especially those with Asian-inspired themes. Contrary to Asian culture, many Western countries view dragons as dark, mysterious, and even evil. This may actually add to Western gamblers' interest in dragon slots as well.

  • Lucky qualities: good health, strength, power

  • Bonus spin: The creature is also the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes good luck and health. More babies are said to be born in the year of the dragon than in any other.


These mythological one-horned and flying creatures have fascinated people throughout history. The legendary animals have been depicted in European culture and art for over a thousand years, and are said to have magical powers.

Many ancient people believed unicorns, usually depicted with a white coat with a single horn, represented purity and grace. They also believed the mystical animals could heal the sick, among other powers often ascribed to them. Some argue that unicorns even allude to several times in the Bible.

  • Lucky qualities: purity, grace, strength, healing powers, and more.

  • Bonus spin: Hermit country North Korea claimed to have “discovered” a unicorn lair in 2012. The North Koreans seem to be living in a real fantasy world. This propaganda was likely meant to help legitimize the rule of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.


Seeing a rainbow, or better yet a rare double rainbow brings a smile to the faces of most people. These bright multi-colored spectacles may seem like a mystical phenomenon but are a part of the real world. For that reason, along with their rarity, many cultures may see them as lucky.

It’s easy to see that connection to using these symbols in modern slot machines. These natural displays of a light spectrum have been featured in numerous mythologies and cultures including Celtic, Greek, Norse, Christianity, Buddhism, and more. These beautiful specters naturally appear as symbols of good luck – hopefully at a slot as well.

  • Lucky qualities: hope, promise, transition, peace, equality

  • Bonus spin: Much of rainbows’ lucky charms can also be attributed to the Irish, where legend has it one could find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Sevens (777)

Numbers play a role in luck in many cultures. Friday the 13th is considered a spooky day where things can go completely wrong. Some elevators don’t even have a 13th floor. Many people have a lucky number also, but 7s are synonymous with luck in a casino and especially at slot machines. This superstition seems to run across many cultures, especially in religious contexts.

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Lucky number 7 is even the basis for many myths and folklore,” Reader’s Digest notes. “Ancient beliefs from around the world believed that the seventh son of the seventh son would be gifted with magical powers (both good and evil). In the Bible, scholars claim that God created the world in six days and used the seventh day to rest.

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There are also seven heavens in Islam and Judaism. In Confucianism, the number represents harmony made up of yin, yang, and the five elements. Hindus believe there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds and in Buddhism, the newborn Buddha takes seven steps.

  • Lucky qualities: harmony, magical powers, the afterlife, good fortune

  • Bonus spin: This lucky number even had some influence on James Bond author Ian Femimg. Apparently, 2, 5, or 8 wouldn't work for the spy’s secret code – 007 seemed a much better fit.

Anything Irish

Perhaps no other country or culture is associated with luck as that of Ireland. “The luck of the Irish” has become a regular part of the English language and many of the lucky charms on this list are also associated with the country such as shamrocks, rainbows, and leprechauns.

There have been at least four films produced through the years with that exact phrase as the title. The idea of Irishmen being lucky, however, may have more to do with the North American gold rush than anything.

It’s to America that we may have to look for the origins of the expression 'the luck of the Irish', notes

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It’s well known that in the 19th century wave after wave of Irish immigrants headed over the Atlantic to seek their fortunes. Many chose to take part in the search for gold and silver and there is some evidence to suggest that many of the most successful finds were made by Irish miners.

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That success became a legend and the Irish have been seen as lucky ever since. Casinos and slot manufacturers have played up the stereotype of Irishmen and the Emerald Isle.

  • Lucky qualities: successful, rich, timeliness.

  • Bonus spin: Numerous casinos have modeled their properties after all things Irish, such as O’Sheas in Las Vegas and Fitzgerald's, a brand used in multiple U.S. states.

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These supernatural beings come from Old Irish folklore and represent luck. The oldest known mention of leprechauns comes from the Echtra tale in which Fergus, the King of Ulster, falls asleep on the beach. He awakens to find three leprechauns dragging him out to sea. Instead, he captures the mythological trio, which then grants him three wishes for their release.

The diminutive creatures are believed to be cobblers and mostly live a solitary existence, but also enjoy practical jokes. In Ireland, these fairies originally differed depending on which part of the country you were in. They also wore red clothing, not the green they typically wear in modern depictions

These popular shoemakers are also said to own a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Those lucky enough to capture a leprechaun are entitled to these riches.

  • Lucky qualities: wealth, riches, magical powers

  • Bonus spin: Leprechauns have come to be represented in two American sports teams. The University of Notre Dame, known as the fighting Irish, features a leprechaun who helps fans cheer on the home team. The Boston Celtics NBA franchise also Lucky the Leprechaun. A popular American kids’ cereal, Lucky Charms, also features one of these magical creatures as well.


Whether one believes in luck or not, many slot players and gamblers believe certain objects and icons come with some extra positivity. The belief goes that these lucky charms just might bring a nice winning session or perhaps an even bigger win – a nice jackpot perhaps.

Open up your favorite slot game or take a seat at a slot machine in a casino. Which of these popular lucky charms can you recognize when spinning those reels?

Sean Chaffin
Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. He has covered the poker and gaming industry for many years.