All that you wanted to know about slot machines!

A slot machine is simply a casino-based gambling machine (played in both offline casino and online casino environment, like in case of Bet365) that has three or more reels attached to it, which spin by pushing of a button. The machine is known by various names in different parts of the world:
- Pokies or poker machine in New Zealand and Australian English
- Slots in Canadian English
- Puggy in Scottish English
- Fruit machine in British English and
- Slot machine in American English

Another popular term used for referring to the slot machines is ‘One armed bandits’ since they’re known to have the ability of leaving the players in an impoverished state and used to be originally operated with just one lever fitted on the machine’s side, as against a button situated on the front panel.
Modern day slot machines continue to be equipped with that conventional lever, as well as a button on the front. Any player who plays on multiple slot machines at the same time, in order to strategically increase his/her profits is referred to as ‘Multi-armed bandit!’
The original purpose of installing slot machines in casinos was to divert the attention of casual gamers towards them. Unlike some of the conventional table casino games such as poker, blackjack etc., playing on slot machines doesn’t require any particular gambling knowledge or skill. Just about anyone can play on these machines even with tiny bet amounts.
However, what was conceptualized as a basic diversion idea proved to be an amazing success! Slot machines gradually moved away from the sidelines, into the limelight, turning into the most popular casino game to have ever been produced.
All slot machines normally have a currency detector which validates the money that’s inserted into the machine for playing. The payoff from the machine occurs based on the different symbol combinations that come up on the front of the machine after the reels come to a halt. The modern-day computer technology has led to introduction of several variations in the conventional slot machines. Let’s now go over some of the basic and popular terms employed in context of slot machines.

Some popular terms associated with slot machines

Action or Play
This is the total amount of money bet by a person on a slot machine, either over a certain time frame or in a particular session. The club benefits earned by a player are normally based on his/her total action. The total action or play time is tracked by the club card inserted into the slot machine.

It’s a special feature of a particular slot machine game that gets activated if the player gets a certain combination of symbols after the spin. The type of bonus may vary depending on the kind of game being played. While some bonus rounds involve special sessions of free spins, the others give players several different items to choose from on the screen (mostly in case of an online casino, for instance the Bet365 portal). The player may get different number of credits based on the item selected.

Basic slots
Also referred to as straight slots, these are slot machines that have a static jackpot amount (that doesn’t change like in case of progressive jackpots) and just one single pay line.

In slot machine terms, cashback refers to the comps or rewards given exclusively to the slot club card members.

This is a light situated at the top of a slot machine, which flashes in order to alert the operator that there’s some problem with the machine, a hand pay has been requested or some change is needed. Any slot machine player can light-up the candle by pressing the ‘help’ or ‘service’ button.

The coins for slot machines can come in various denominations ranging from a penny to a ‘few pounds or even more.

This is a term used for referring to a group of slot machines that are arranged in an oval or circular formation.

Coin Hopper
It’s a container holding the coins available for immediate payout. It’s actually a type of mechanical device which rotates the coins into the coin tray whenever the player is ready to collect his/her coins or credits by pressing the ‘cash out’ button.

These are what coins get converted into, once they’re inside the slot machine. For example, a pound inserted into a slot machine may convert into 20 credits or more.

This is an option or a button on the slot machines allowing the players to cash out their credits.

Credit meter
Usually in the form of a LED display, it shows the amount of credits or money available on the slot machine. The machines featuring video reels have credit meter either in the form of a simulated LED display or shown in an entirely different font from the regular game graphics.

Dropbox or drop bucket
It’s a container situated at the base of the slot machine where excess coins from the hopper get diverted. In general, a drop box is utilized in slot machines of high denominations and a drop bucket is used in slot machines of low denominations. While a drop bucket doesn’t have any lid, a drop box usually has a hinged and locked lid.

This is the term used to refer to the Electronic Gaming Machines

Free spin
It’s a term employed in online or video slot machines to suggest that a free additional spin is available on the same wager. There are number of events that can trigger such free spin, with each game using a different method. In most cases, it’s a specific combination of symbols on the reels that activates such free spins. A player can get 5 to 50 free spins depending on the game being played.

Hand pay
This term is used to refer to a payout that’s made at the cage (exchange point) or by an attendant, instead of the slot machine. This kind of payout comes into play when the payout amount is more than the maximum preset on the slot machine. Normally, the maximum preset amount is the level from where the slot machine operator must start deducting taxes. It may also come into picture because of short pay.

slot machines

Hopper fill slip
This fill slip is a document used for recording the replenishment of coins inside the coin hopper once it gets emptied due to payouts. It indicates the total coin amount placed in the hopper along with the date, slot machine’s number, slot machine’s location and the signature/s of the concerned employee/s.

MEAL book
The MEAL in MEAL book is the abbreviated form of Machine Entry Authorization Log that records the entries of the employees into the machine.

Optimal play
This term refers to the payback percentage that a gambler can earn by using the most optimum strategy while playing a skill-based slot machine game.

Slant top or low-level slot machines
These slot machines have a stool to enable players to sit down and play with ease. The upright or stand-up slot machines on the other hand are played in a standing position.

Pay line
It’s the line that crosses through the symbols on every reel. The winning combination gets evaluated based on this line. While the new age video slot machines may have around 100 pay lines, the conventional spinning reel slot machines have up to 9 pay lines. These pay lines can be of different shapes like vertical, triangular, zigzag, trapezoidal, horizontal, oblique etc.

Roll up
It’s the name given to the process of dramatizing any win through different exciting sounds, as the machine’s meters count the total amount won.

Scatter symbols
In order to get paid in the slot games it’s important that the player gets a minimum of two similar symbols on a pay line. But, in case of scatter symbols, the players get awarded regardless of whether the symbols are on the pay line or not. Nevertheless, the player must get at least couple of them to get awarded in the modern slot games.

Short pay
Any partial payout delivered by the slot machine, lesser than the amount owed to the player, is known as short pay. It happens as a result of coin hopper getting emptied due to the earlier payouts. The balance payout is usually paid in the form of hand pay, or through the machine itself after an attendant has refilled it.

The electromechanical slot machines are normally fitted with a tilt switch that can make or break the circuit in the event that the slot machine has been tampered with or is tilted, thereby triggering an alarm. Although the modern-day machines are no longer fitted with such tilt switches, any technical fault in them like out of paper, motor failure etc. continues to be referred as a ‘tilt.’

It’s that small amount that’s often paid out to players in order to keep them seated, interested and continuously engaged in betting. It is only rarely that the machines don’t payout even the basic minimum bet amount over several pulls.

Theoretical hold worksheet
This worksheet is a document provided by the slot machine manufacturers and it indicates the basic percentage that any slot machine must hold depending on the paid in amount. It also indicates the payout schedule, number of reels, number of coins to be played, reel strip settings and more details related to the specific variety of slot machine.

Wild symbol
A wild symbol functions like a joker (of the cards) in a slot game. Just like a joker, a wild symbol can substitute any other symbol of the game, usually excluding the special symbols like jackpot and scatter. These wild symbols can come up on any of the slot machine’s reels, and their possibility of coming up can be altered from game to game.

Weight count
Basically an American term, the weight count is the total dollar worth of the tokens or coins that are removed from the slot machine’s drop box or drop bucket, and are then counted by the hard count team of the casino on a weighing scale.

This is a term used for referring to a slot machine that’s specifically hosted for online gambling purposes, and can be accessed via a tablet, smart phone or any other portable device. In most cases, these are nothing but standalone mobile casino apps that are integrated into the online casino environments.

Final Word
Even though slot machines are the easiest gambling medium in any offline or online casino (of the kinds like the Bet365 website), you must play them only after gaining a basic understanding of their operation and terms.