What Are Slots?


A slot is a container that can either wait for content (a passive slot) or be called upon to provide it (an active slot). Slots are used to manage dynamic items on Web pages; they work in conjunction with renderers and repositories.

A narrow notch or other opening between the tips of certain feathers, which during flight helps to maintain a smooth flow of air over the wings. Also known as a slit or flutter. In ice hockey, a unmarked area near an opponent’s goal that affords a vantage point for attacking players.

An electromechanical switch that triggers when a slot machine is tilted or otherwise tampered with and thus breaks an internal circuit that would normally cause the machine to stop working; the term is also used for any kind of technical fault condition such as a door switch in the wrong state, reel motor failure, out of paper, etc. Modern machines no longer have mechanical tilt switches, but they may have other conditions that require a similar action — for example, the failure to pay out any credits in a given number of spins, often caused by an overflow of the hopper.

The amount paid out to a slot machine player during a session to keep him or her seated and continuously betting; also, a small amount that a machine will occasionally pay out in order to attract customers and maintain its popularity. A small amount that is paid out only to keep the gamer seated and playing continuously. It is usually less than the minimum bet size.

In the past, most slot machines used revolving mechanical reels to display and determine results. However, with the advent of microprocessors, it became possible to use computers to assign a different probability to each symbol on each reel. This means that a machine might appear to pay out regularly, but it is actually very unlikely that any particular combination will occur. Psychologists have found that people who play video slots reach a debilitating level of involvement with gambling three times as rapidly as those who engage in traditional casino games.

A time-stamped reservation for an aircraft to take off or land at a specific airport, issued by an air-traffic control center or the airline itself. In Europe, slots are allocated using EUROCONTROL’s Flow Management system. Unlike reservations, which are booked for a particular seat, slots are based on the available capacity of the runway or airport and can be traded or leased to other airlines. Increasingly, however, the availability of slots is being balanced against the need to improve runway throughput and reduce congestion. As a result, some airlines are not always able to obtain a slot at their preferred airport. This has led to some criticism of the Flow Management system, which some say is unfair and inefficient. Other critics point out that waiting for a slot is better than wasting fuel and causing unnecessary delays by flying when there is no need to.