How Do Slot Machines Work?


A slot is an opening in a machine or other object where something may be inserted. In computer terms, it means a place to put information, such as a file or program, to be processed. It may also refer to a position or time when something happens. For example, you can book a time slot to have an appointment or a meeting. You can also use a slot to describe the time period a machine is in operation.

Whether you call them fruit machines, pokies, fruities, one-armed bandits, or slots, they’re the most popular casino game around. But do you know how they work? And what makes them so profitable for the casinos?

A modern slot machine might look like the mechanical ones of the past, with reels that spin and symbols lined up to win money. But behind the shiny exterior, there’s a complex computer system. A random number generator inside the machine generates a new combination of numbers every millisecond. Whenever the machine receives a signal—anything from a button being pushed to a handle being pulled—it sets that particular combination of numbers. The random number generator then tells the reels where to stop. If a specific symbol doesn’t appear on the reels, it’s because the machine hasn’t received the right combination of signals.