Slot Machines


A slit or narrow opening, often one that receives something, such as a coin or letter. Also: a position or time in a group, series, or sequence; an allotment of work or space. (From Middle Low German slit, from Old High German slitt, slitt, from Late Latin slit, slit, from Latin for a narrow opening.)

In slot machines, a player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a slot on the machine. Then, the machine activates reels that move and stop to rearrange symbols. If the player matches a winning combination, he wins credits according to the machine’s pay table. Symbols vary by game, but classic symbols include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Most slots have a theme, and some feature bonus features aligned with that theme.

In sports, the slot is the area directly in front of an opposing goaltender and between two face-off circles on an ice hockey rink. This unmarked zone affords a vantage point for speed players, who can attack both inside and outside the circle. In business, using time slots to establish important deadlines can help organizations organize and monitor multiple tasks. For example, a health care provider may use a slot-based schedule when booking appointments with patients. Using this method can help the organization ensure that all staff members are aware of important meeting or project deadlines. In addition, slot-based scheduling can provide consistency and support the organization’s ability to meet its objectives.