What Is a Slot Machine?

Slot machines are devices that allow a player to insert coins or tickets into a designated slot. Depending on the type of machine, this may be done manually or with the help of a touchscreen display. When the player lands a winning combination of symbols, credits are awarded to the player according to the rules of the game.

Pay Table

A pay table is a list of winning combinations and their values, which are based on the number of coins inserted into the machine. This information is usually displayed on the front of the machine, but it can also be found in an interactive series of images available on touchscreens.


Slots generally feature a variety of symbols that can range from fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens to traditional symbols such as bars and nines. The symbols are usually aligned with the theme of the game and often include a symbol that represents a bonus round or other feature. Some games feature a Wild symbol, which can substitute for other symbols to complete a winning line.

Ticket-in, ticket-out

Some slot machines have a ticket-in, ticket-out system, where players can drop a paper ticket into a box to activate the reels. This is different from machines with a lever or button that activate the reels.

Scatter or Bonus Symbols

A scatter or bonus symbol is a special icon that can trigger a bonus feature in a slot game. These can range from free spins to cash prizes. They are commonly accompanied by a text box that explains how the bonus features work.


A slot jackpot is a fixed amount of money that is won when the maximum bet is placed. It is typically a multiple of the total amount won by all players who have landed at least three matching symbols on the pay line. The payout percentage varies by machine and is usually higher for machines with a lower minimum bet.


The amount of money that is paid out to keep a player seated and continuously betting is called “taste.” It is usually less than the actual value of a jackpot, but it does tend to tease gamblers to feed the machine more frequently. This is especially true of slot machines that offer “renchan” features, which can trigger a multiplier.


A tilt is a mechanical fault or technical problem that makes it difficult for a slot machine to pay out correctly. This can be caused by a door switch that is not in the correct position or by a reel motor failure.

In addition, a tilt can be triggered by a player intentionally changing the settings of the machine. This was once a common way to rig a slot, but manufacturers have made it more difficult for cheaters.


A player can be arrested for attempting to cheat at slot machines. For example, one woman in Nevada was caught using a brightly colored piece of yarn as a coin.

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