What is a Slot?


A slot is an opening or position in a machine or system. A slot can also be a slit in an object, such as a coin in a vending machine or a door into a bank vault. The word “slot” can also refer to the timing of a transaction or event, as in “they slotted the meeting for 4 pm.”

A player places cash (or, in ticket-in, ticket-out machines, a barcoded paper ticket with a magnetic stripe) into a designated slot on the machine and activates the machine by pressing a lever or button (physical or virtual). When the reels stop spinning, if a winning combination is made, the player receives credits according to a pay table printed on or displayed on the machine. The pay tables may vary between different types of slot machines. Classic symbols include fruit, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot games have a theme and bonus features aligned with that theme.

In computer hardware, a slot is an empty or unoccupied region on the motherboard that can be used for expansion cards or other peripheral devices. Most modern motherboards have several slots for expansion cards, with each slot supporting up to four expansion cards. Some motherboards also have a separate expansion slot for a sound card or other device. The term “slot” is also used to refer to a specific function on a computer, such as a mass storage device or a video display adapter.

The NFL’s slot receiver got its name because of where the player lines up pre-snap, between the last line of scrimmage and one or more outside receivers. Typically shorter and faster than traditional wide receivers, slot receivers must have speed and agility to run routes that require a lot of elusion and evasion. On running plays, they are also crucial blockers for the ball carrier and must be able to perform quick chip blocks on safeties and outside linebackers.

Slot is a term that’s often heard in air travel, especially when delays occur and the plane sits on the tarmac, waiting for a “slot.” This is an allocated time during which a flight can depart for its destination, even though it’s not fully booked. This helps to reduce the number of aircraft that need to wait at each gate, reducing air traffic congestion and fuel burn. As more airports implement central flow management, the need for slots is likely to increase.