What Is a Slot?


A slot is a notch or depression in a surface that allows for the fitting of another object. A slot is also the name of a position in a game or an event: the player with the most points is awarded a slot; the team that wins a slot at a competition receives a trophy. The word is also used as a verb, meaning to place or insert something into a slot: “I slotted the book on my desk.”

While today’s casino floors are alight with towering slots boasting bright video screens and quirky themes, many people don’t realize that their simple, mechanical design has changed very little since their invention. The most significant innovation has been the introduction of computer systems that control how often a machine pays out.

Conventional mechanical machines use reels and stoppers that are activated by handle pulls. The reels are spun and the stoppers are pulled back into position by a mechanism that uses hydraulic pressure. Electrical machines, on the other hand, operate on a totally different principle. Once the reels come to a stop, a central computer reads the results to determine whether the player has won or lost.

The computer starts by recording a sequence of numbers, usually between one and ninety-nine, then divides each number by the standard quotient to produce a final quotient or three-number sequence. It then matches this sequence with a corresponding location on the reel and, with its help, signals to the reel’s brake pedal and the kicker mechanism that it is time for the machine to stop.

You May Also Like

More From Author