A slot is a narrow opening or channel through which something passes, especially a coin or letter. It can also refer to a position or time: He slotted his appointment for four o’clock.

In a slot machine, the player inserts cash or, in the case of “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, into a slot. The machine then activates a series of reels that spin and stop to reveal symbols. When the symbols match a pay table, the player receives credits based on their value. Symbols vary by theme, but classics include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot games have a specific theme, and bonus features and other elements are usually aligned with that theme.

During the 1960s, the development of electronic technology made possible new types of slots. Manufacturers began to use computers to control the reels, and they programmed them to weight particular symbols. As a result, some symbols appeared more frequently than others on a given reel, and their appearance on the pay line determined how much the player would win.

In football, a slot receiver lines up closer to the center of the field than traditional wide receivers. They are responsible for running shorter routes, such as slants and quick outs, and must be able to beat linebackers with speed and juke moves. They are often used on obvious passing downs to “move the chains” and get first downs. The best slot WRs are small and shifty with great speed.

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