A narrow opening or gap into which something can fit. Specifically, in the context of computer games, slots are places where players can place their coins so that the machine will spin and possibly generate credits for them. The term also applies to time periods within which tasks can be completed, as in a doctor’s office where patients may schedule appointments.
A slot is also a symbol or marker that indicates a particular position on a reel in a slot machine, with each successive row having a different probability of containing a winning combination of symbols. Modern slot machines display a pay table that explains how much a player will win if a certain line of symbols is matched. Some machines also have special symbols, such as wilds that can substitute for other symbols to create winning combinations and scatters, which don’t need to appear in a specific pay line to yield credits.
In some industries, using time slots to establish important deadlines can help teams prioritize and stay on track with projects. It is important to communicate any changes to these timelines so that everyone is aware of the new expectations and processes. For example, an airline flight might delay its departure due to weather, and passengers might wait on the tarmac for another 20 minutes while the captain is waiting for a clear “slot” for takeoff. This is known as central flow management, and has resulted in significant savings for airlines in terms of delays and fuel cost.