What Is a Slot?

A narrow notch, groove or opening, as in a keyway in a machine or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series, sequence or other context. The slots in the calendar are already full for next month.

In computing, a slot is a place in memory or on disk in which a certain type of object can be stored. A computer may have many slots, and each one can hold many objects. In this way, a computer is flexible and can adapt to its environment.

When playing a slot machine, players insert cash or, in the case of ticket-in, ticket-out machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into the designated slot and activate a spinning reel that can generate combinations of symbols when they stop. Winning combinations earn credits based on the paytable. The symbols vary, but classic examples include fruit and bells. Many slot games are themed and offer bonus features aligned with the theme.

Psychologists have linked video-slot gambling with addiction. Studies have shown that people who play these games reach a debilitating level of involvement with the game three times faster than those who play traditional casino games. The 2011 60 Minutes episode “Slot Machines: The Big Gamble” focused on this issue, revealing that some players were spending millions of dollars per hour trying to hit the jackpot.

Air traffic management slots are a kind of permission that allows airlines to fly at particular times and under specific conditions at congested airports, like Heathrow or some Greek islands. The use of these slots has led to huge savings in delays and fuel burn.

A slot is a dynamic placeholder that either waits for content to be added (passive) or actively calls for content from a repository or from a targeter. It is possible to specify multiple slot properties, and you can also add slot items via a scenario. To learn more about creating and using slots, see the Using Slots chapter of the ATG Personalization Programming Guide.