What Is a Slot?

A narrow opening, especially a device for receiving something, such as a coin or letter.

Sports A position on a football team that is closest to the center of the field and is used as a target for opposing defenses during passing plays or as an important blocker on running plays. Slot receivers typically are shorter and quicker than traditional wide receivers, making them harder for defenses to cover. As a result, they often are targeted on 40 percent or more of passing attempts.


A space on a motherboard that holds expansion cards, such as an ISA slot, PCI slot, or AGP slot. A slot can also refer to a specific position within a series or sequence, such as a time slot or an assignment.


A slot machine is a gambling machine that displays reels with symbols on them and pays out credits based on combinations of those symbols. Typically, the more symbols that line up on a payline, the higher the payout. Each machine has a pay table that lists the payouts for different symbol combinations. The pay tables are usually listed above and below the reels, or, on video machines, within a help menu. Historically, electromechanical slot machines had “tilt switches” that would make or break a circuit when they were tilted. Although modern slot machines no longer have tilt switches, any kind of technical fault—door switch in the wrong state, reel motor failure, or a lack of paper—is still called a “tilt.” Psychologists have found that people who play slot games reach a debilitating level of involvement with gambling three times faster than those who engage in other forms of gambling.