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Slots: How they Work

slotm achineSlot machines, or slots, are one of the most popular attractions in casinos. Perhaps they are the most popular. A good 60% of annual casino profits in the United States come from slot machines. Click here to rean an article written by How Stuff works on how slot machine works.

The original purpose of installing slot machines is to create a diversion for more casual gamblers. Traditional table gambling games, such as craps or blackjack, require some level of skills. On the contrary, slot machines require no gambling knowledge at all. You just place a bet and pull a lever or push a button. No gambling skill can affect the machine’s outcome. Moreover, anyone can play with only a small bet.

As mentioned before, they eventually moved up from being diversions to becoming the biggest bringer of profits in the gambling industry.

Like many other things, slot machine technology also evolved throughout the years. The mechanical designs used in the first machines are eventually replaced by computer operation. However, the game itself stayed the same. Slots will be composed of reels, usually three, that have pictures on them. The player pulls a lever or pushes a button and these reels spin. Whether the player wins or loses is determined by the pictures that line up with the pay line – the row in the middle of the viewing window. If the reels align the same pictures along the pay line, you win. The payout will depend on which pictures align.

The classic design of slots operates through an elaborate arrangement of levers and gears. The fundamental component is a metal shaft that supports the reels. A handle mechanism, which lets the reels start moving, connects to this shaft. Stopping the reels is taken care of by a breaking system while sensors tell the payout system of the position of the reels. Machines were fitted with coin detectors which tell the machine that the player has inserted a coin in which case the handle is unlocked.

Configurations of these elements vary. Different manufacturers give their own approach in to designing slots. Here’s an example of a basic design: Three reels are mounted on a central shaft. Three notched discs, connected to the reels, are also supported by this shaft. Below the central shaft, there is a second shaft that supports the kicker, a metal with three paddles. These paddles will push against the notches on the discs. Stoppers are also situated with the second shaft, which lock onto the discs, making the reels stop.

When players pull the handle of the slots, the mechanisms start their work and give out results arranged in different probabilities.