A narrow notch, groove or opening, as in the keyway of a lock or a slot for coins in a machine. Also, a position in a group, series or sequence, such as a job or a time in a schedule. The car seat belt slotted easily into the slot.
Despite their seemingly harmless nature, slots have attracted a significant number of players who experience severe gambling-related problems (Blaszczynski, Sharpe, Walker, Shannon & Coughlan, 2005). While a majority of slot gamblers may be recreational and engage in the activity as a form of harmless entertainment, a small subset can experience significant arousal during play and subsequently develop serious gambling-related problems, including mounting debt, issues with interpersonal relationships, career difficulties and involvement in criminal activities to support their gambling behavior. Understanding what attracts gamblers to slots may provide insight into the underlying causes of these problems. This article examines the allure of slots and identifies specific features of slot machines that may contribute to the addictiveness of the game. Specifically, it explores the appeal of the rapid feedback associated with slot machine play and its attention-capturing, intermittent rewards, as well as the psychological reinforcement that occurs when a player experiences a win. Finally, the article discusses the impact of these factors on the development of gambling-related problems and proposes a model for reducing their prevalence. Amount of credits earned if symbols line up along pay lines on a slot machine, depending on the theme and type of symbol. Classic symbols include fruits, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Modern slot games often use more complicated symbols and bonus features.