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What Is a Toggle? What Is a Slot?

Slot

A slit or narrow opening, especially one for receiving something, such as coins or a letter. He slotted the coin into the slot on the machine.

A slot is also a place where something fits, such as a seat on an airplane. You checked in on time, made it through security, waited patiently at the gate, and then were told to wait for a slot.

In a slot machine, a slit or narrow opening into which a player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, activates reels that spin and stop to rearrange symbols. The machine then pays out credits based on the paytable. The payouts vary by manufacturer, but classic symbols include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens.

Conditional reinforcement has long been a popular explanation for why people continue to gamble on slot machines even after experiencing a series of losses. For example, Skinner’s account of the near-miss effect, first proposed in 1953, suggests that audio-visual stimuli correlated with winning on slot machines may acquire conditionally reinforcing properties that encourage continuing play.

However, a return to player is not the only relevant statistic when assessing whether a slot machine has been designed to exploit players. The probability of each payout on the pay table is equally important. If every entry on a slot machine’s pay table returned zero, the machine would be dull to play and most people would not want to risk their money on it.