A Slot is a container that waits for content to be added to it (a passive slot) or that calls out for content using a scenario and a targeter (an active slot). The slot can have a name, which is specified by a slot> element with a name> attribute.

In a slot machine, a player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, and activates the machine by pushing a button or lever (either physical or virtual on a touchscreen). The reels spin and, if a winning combination of symbols appears on the pay line, the player earns credits based on the payout table. The number and type of symbols vary by machine, and may be aligned with a theme.

Research has shown that people enjoy playing slot machines because they produce intermittent rewards that capture attention and distract them from negative emotional experiences. These findings have led to the development of psychophysiological measures that assess reward reactivity without the need for cumbersome electrodes or wires, and without requiring players to think about their feelings.

Most slot games have a pay table area that displays information on the jackpot amounts for specific reel combinations. These are sometimes displayed prominently on the machine, and in other cases — typically on video slot machines — they are available through an interactive series of images that can be switched between to view all possible win combinations. This feature can help players make informed decisions about what they want to play and the best strategies for doing so.