What is a Slot?

A narrow notch, groove or opening, as in a keyway in a lock or the slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also, a position within a series or sequence; an assignment or job opening. [Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition]

A slot in a typewriter is a groove in which the screwhead S fits; a slot cut into the side of a box or door allows it to close or open.

In gaming, a small amount paid out over the course of several pulls. This is called “taste”. In modern electromechanical machines, taste is often achieved by pushing the Bet Max button or the Spin Button. In electromechanical machines, any technical fault (door switch in the wrong position, reel motor failure, paper out) is referred to as a “tilt”.

On older machines, a slot was the name of the hole in a machine used for inserting cash or tokens. Later, slot came to mean a slot on the machine for coins or paper tickets, and finally, a slot in a screen used to display a jackpot or other information.

The game of slot began in the late 1890s with Charles Fey’s invention of an electromechanical machine. Unlike previous gambling machines, Fey’s slot allowed automatic payouts and had three spinning reels. His machines featured symbols including spades, hearts, horseshoes and liberty bells; a combination of three aligned liberty bells was the highest win, giving the machine its name, slot.