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The basic concept of a slot machine is simple: spin the reels and match symbols on the payline to win money. In modern electronic slots the number of possible combinations has expanded significantly as a result of advances in technology.
Historically, electromechanical slot machines used tilt switches that would make or break a circuit to determine whether a player had tampered with the machine. More recently, video slot machines have incorporated electronic sensors to detect various kinds of tampering and have added features like advanced bonus rounds.
Another factor that affects the odds of a winning combination is the “taste” – how much the machine pays out to keep players seated and betting, or how often it fails to pay even the minimum amount over several pulls. The taste is usually small, and the frequency of near-misses can cause players to lose track of their actual bankroll.
Aside from the RNG, another element that affects the odds of winning a jackpot is the weighting of the symbols. This is a subtle feature that increases the odds of getting the highest-paying symbols early on, then decreases the probability of getting them later on. This creates the illusion that a player is advancing toward a jackpot, but it is only an illusion – the RNG has already selected the symbols.