What Is a Slot?


A slot is an area of a computer motherboard occupied by an expansion card. The slot may be an ISA, PCI, AGP or memory slot. Slots may also be used to refer to a specific location in a virtual machine, for example the slot assigned to a CPU.

In the old days, a pull of the lever on a mechanical slot machine gave you either a win or a loss — and when you lost, you walked away. Today’s video machines let you bet on multiple lines at once, up, down, sideways and diagonal, all with a chance of winning. In addition to the dazzling visuals, each time you win on one of these multiline machines, there’s an auditory onslaught of sounds, and the symbols responsible for the winning line are highlighted in a way that makes them stand out from non-winning ones. Research has shown that image and sound, when used congruently, tend to amplify each other (Loba et al. 2001).

While slots still don’t have the high-stakes aura of table games like blackjack or roulette, they are now bringing in a majority of gambling industry profits. As a result, forces of morality and clergy have increasingly resisted the use of these devices. In the early 1900s, San Francisco banned them.