What Is a Slot?


A slot is a placeholder on a Web page that either waits for content to be added (passive slot) or calls out to a renderer to fill it in (active slot). The slot tag is a child of the element tag and is used to set its global attributes.

On electromechanical slot machines, a player inserts cash or, in the case of “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, into a designated slot to activate the machine. A spinning reel then displays symbols, and if the player matches a winning combination according to the machine’s pay table, the player receives credits based on the number of the matching symbol on each reel. Symbols vary by game, but include classic objects like fruits and bells as well as stylized lucky sevens. Many slots have a theme, and bonus features align with that theme.

The allure of slot machines may be attributed to their ability to provide short-term gratification with intermittent rewards. However, a subset of gamblers experience severe gambling-related problems, including mounting debt, trouble with personal relationships, and even involvement in criminal activities to support their gaming habits. Moreover, arousal may not be the sole reason that people enjoy gambling; some people play as a form of coping with painful emotional experiences. Consequently, a deeper understanding of the underlying factors that drive gambling behaviors is critical. (See also addictive gambling.) (Reproduced from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.