What Is a Slot?


A narrow notch, groove or opening, especially one for receiving something, as a keyway in machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also used figuratively to refer to a position in a group, series, or sequence. The term is also used of an assignment or job opening.

In football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up pre-snap between the tight end and offensive tackle, or in the middle of the field, depending on the play. Because they are often shorter and smaller than outside wide receivers, Slot receivers must be extra speedy and have top-notch route-running skills to compensate. They also need to block well on running plays, such as sweeps and slant runs, since they are closer to the ball carrier than outside wide receivers.

Many modern slot machines use electronic microprocessors to determine the results of each spin. These devices allow manufacturers to weight the probability of a particular symbol appearing on a payline compared to the frequency of other symbols on the reels. This allows for higher jackpot sizes, and a greater chance that a particular symbol will appear on a given reel than would be the case if the reels were mechanical and the odds of each stop were equal.

Some states have laws limiting the types of slot machines that may be operated or owned by private individuals. Others prohibit the ownership of any slot machine at all, while still others have specific age or type restrictions. For example, in some states, it is illegal to own a slot machine older than 25 years or a machine with a certain type of paytable or screen.

An airport slot is a permit granted to an airline by an air traffic control authority to operate at a constrained airport during a specified period of time. A slot is a critical factor in an airline’s ability to manage its schedule, and it can be extremely valuable. Airlines that are assigned slots at desirable times are more likely to be able to schedule flights without incurring delays, which saves money on fuel.

In computer technology, a slot is a position on a motherboard that can accept an expansion card, such as an ISA, PCI, AGP or memory slot. The number of slots on a motherboard varies by manufacturer, but most motherboards have at least two slots for expansion cards. The expansion cards add functionality to the computer, such as adding a network card or video card. They can also increase the speed of a system by increasing its memory capacity. The most common expansion slots are the PCI and AGP slots, which both support high-speed 10/100 Mbps connections. The AGP slot is generally faster than the PCI slot.