Slot Machines – What is a Slot?


A slot or gap in a surface, especially one that accommodates a fastener. (Computer) An area in memory, on disk etc. in which a specific type of object is stored. The slot that the file occupies in the system can be seen when you open it.

In sports A rectangular area in front of the face-off circles on an ice hockey rink, in which players fight for control of the puck. (Australian rules football) A space in the forward zone between the last defensive lineman and the wide receiver on either side.

Traditionally, the payouts and bonus features on a slot game were relatively simple to keep track of, but with the advent of microprocessors it became possible to weight individual symbols. This meant that a symbol that landed frequently on a reel would seem to be more likely to appear than one that appears rarely, even though the probability of both appearing was exactly equal.

This was an obvious problem that led to the introduction of provably fair algorithms to slot games; if a machine was programmed to give you a certain amount for a particular number of coins, then the algorithm would be immediately apparent as being unfair and not based on actual probability. However, errors do happen; in 2010, two casinos in Colorado reported jackpots of $11 million and $42 million, but analysis showed that the true value was far less. Psychologists have also found that people who play video slots reach debilitating levels of gambling addiction three times more rapidly than those who don’t.