What Is a Slot?

A narrow opening or groove, as a keyway in machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a job, position or rank: He was given the slot as chief copy editor.

The number of possible combinations on a slot machine. In the early machines, a single symbol could only appear on one reel, and that limited jackpot sizes and the number of winning combinations. As the machines evolved, manufacturers incorporated electronic controls that weighted symbols to make them appear more frequently or less frequently depending on their value. The resulting multiple payouts and increased jackpot sizes were a significant step forward for casino gamblers.

In some states, it is illegal to privately own a slot machine. Other states prohibit the ownership of slots that have been in operation for a certain period of time, while others allow private ownership only of certain types of slot machines or machines built before a particular date. Still other states only regulate the location of slot machines.

The amount of money required to spin a slot machine’s reels, usually expressed as a fraction of a credit or a bet size. For example, a machine may offer denominations such as penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar. The amount of money needed to spin the reels is based on the machine’s paytable, which specifies the prize value and winning combinations for each bet size. The paytable is generally accessible through a ’help’ button or “i” on the machine’s touch screen, or by asking a slot attendant for assistance.

A slot is a narrow notch or other similar opening in the primary feathers of certain birds, which during flight help to maintain a continuous flow of air over the wings. Similarly, it can refer to any of the numerous openings in the wing surface of an airplane that are used for control surfaces.

The job or position of chief copy editor: He had the slot at the Gazette for 20 years.

Term for the slot on a newspaper’s editorial staff, usually occupied by a senior copy editor or a senior member of a copy desk. The term is often synonymous with a “slot editor,” the person who oversees the work of other copy editors and occasionally edits the paper itself.

A portion of a newspaper’s editorial page devoted to opinion pieces and letters to the editor. The editorial page is a traditional staple of any newspaper, but is increasingly being replaced by other types of content, including news and feature articles, as well as web-based content.

The amount of time available for an aircraft to take off or land, as determined by airport or air-traffic control authority: They allocated 40 more slots for the new airline at U.S. airports.

In the casino, a time slot is an assigned spot for a player to play. Some casinos offer players the option to pre-book their time slots, which can save them from waiting at the slot counter or paying for a slot in line.