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A place for something, especially a hole in a surface. A piece of metal or wood that can be slotted into a recess to secure it, such as the handle on a door or the slot where the bolt goes into an engine. Also, a space in an aircraft for a control lever, as on a flap or wing.

Until recently, casinos mainly relied on slots to generate most of their profits. By the late 1990s, one gambling official estimated that slots accounted for 85 percent of casino profits.

When a gambler inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper barcoded ticket, the machine activates reels that spin and stop to arrange symbols according to the paytable. If the symbols match a winning combination, the player earns credits based on the payout table printed on the face of the machine or, in electronic video slots, in the help screen. Symbols vary depending on the game, but classic symbols include fruit, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot games have a theme, and the symbols and bonus features are usually aligned with that theme.

In hockey, the area in front of a goaltender and between the two face-off circles in the offensive zone is called the slot. The term is also used to refer to the position of a shooter on a team. A player in the slot is often considered a key contributor to the team’s success. In contrast, players in the lower part of the rink, which is directly below the face-off circle, are often thought of as supporting roles.