What is a Slot and Why Can’t We Take Off?


You’ve checked in, made it through security, found your gate, queued to get on board, struggled with the overhead lockers and settled back into your seat. But what’s taking so long? The captain says they’re waiting for a slot. What is a slot and why can’t we take off?

When a slot machine is active, you insert cash or a paper ticket with a barcode into a designated slot on the machine’s front or, in electromechanical machines with physical reels, a mechanical switch. You then activate the machine by pressing a lever or button (either physical or virtual on a touchscreen) to spin the reels and rearrange the symbols. A winning combination of symbols generates a payout, which can be anything from free credits to a jackpot or progressive jackpot. Most slots have a theme and bonus features that align with that theme.

Many online slots include a pay table, which can be accessed by clicking an icon often located close to the bottom of the screen. The pay table will reveal a lot of information about the game, including how much you can bet per spin and what the maximum stake is. It will also list the different types of symbols and their value, as well as any special symbols that may be in play. The pay table will also provide details on how to activate the slot’s bonus rounds, if applicable. If the slot has multiple jackpots or progressive ones, the details of how to win them will be listed as well.