What is a slot machine and how does it work?

A slot machine is an electro-mechanical gambling machine utilizing randomized numbers to provide probable results. How a slot machine work is both more complicated and interesting than you would think. The machine features a payout table, reels, winning paylines, a credit meter, and arm or spin button.

The payout table shows the player what each of the combinations is worth when three, four or five identical symbols appear on a single payline.  Classic slots feature a single payline while video slot offers multiple payline or calling winning lines across the reels, so with most slots options are given on how many payline you want to wager on. Each of the paylines is equal to one bet, so by selection a one-coin bet across five paylines it will equate to betting of 0.05, should the coin denomination value equal 0.01.

The credit meter keeps track of the number of credits the player has, also referred to as the player’s bankroll and subtract bets, while it also adds winnings. The main reason why the credit meter in most cases shows credits instead of money or cash amounts is that for the player, losing credits are not as traumatic as losing money.

The spin button should only be used once you have selected the number of paylines as well as the coin denomination and number of coins per payline, once the spin button is selected, the button locks the setting, and select a series of random numbers, while the reels spin.

The RNG is responsible for ensuring that the result of every spin is fair and random number generated. The RNG generates thousands of numbers per second and RNGs are also assisted via the use a method that gathers thermal noise and transforms that into electrical signals to assist in generating the numbers as computers on their own are only able to generate pseudo-random numbers.

Reels are basically for the show since by the time they start spinning the slot machine already has the outcome of the spin. The reason for reels being added for visual purposes only is that the spinning and reels coming to a halt in sequence builds suspense and excitement for the player, while it also keeps gamblers interested. Each of the reels usually offers 20 to 30 stops, which are the symbol spaces on the reel.

Each slot machine also has an EPROM, this is the erasable programmable with a read-only memory, which regulates the weighting of the machine, it ensures the desired payout percentage is reached.

Are Slot machines designed in such a way that they are tamper-proof to both the casino and the players?

Slot machines are created and designed in such a way that they are tamper-proof to player and casinos. In land-based casinos, the slot screen and cabinets act as the Faraday cage that disperses ground electrical signals and disperses electricity, which prevents electrical signals from outside the cabinet to interfere with the mechanical processes of the slot machine. The screen is coated in an electrically conductive chemical, it is connected to the metal cabinet to enable conductivity between the screen and the machine.

The EPROM of slot machines are tested and programmed in the factory before it is placed inside the machine, each is fitted with an evident sticker securing it. The chip is reprogrammable by using an ultraviolet light and therefore it would need removal from the machine to be reprogrammed and this process is only allowable when a gaming authority is present. The slot reels are fitted with sensors sensitive enough to detect any extra movements so anyone attempting to change the reels manually will cause an error to the display and any winning on the LCD screen will be annulled as the display instantly turns to display errors.

Back to FAQ

Doug Holmes

Doug Holmes Author

Doug is a passionate Slot fan and an expert in the gaming industry and has written extensively about online slot games and various other related information pertaining to online slots. In his spare time, he enjoys time with friends and family, reading, travelling, and of course, playing the slots.