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Slot Machine Basics

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Everything you ever wanted to know
about slots and slot machines.

Inside a Slot Machine & RNG's

Random Number Generators or RNG’s are the bedrock of all modern slot machine design. RNG’s work by continuously generating random numbers and can actually generate up to many thousands of random numbers per second. The RNG is doing this all the time so that the instant a player hits the play or spin button a random number is calculated which determines the outcome of their spin.  The important thing to remember is that because of the random number generator each spin has an equal chance of winning, the payout's are not pre programmed and this system is completely fair.

Are all Random Number Generators Equal?

In a word no, there are also pseudo random number generators or PRNG’s.  As these only appear to be generating random numbers, the theory goes that at some point they will repeat the sequence of number that they generate.  This means that such a system is flawed as it could lead to a predictable pattern of payout's which is not so good for casinos.

True random number generators continue to generate numbers when the machine is not in use.  This means that a player will never know where in the sequence a slot machine is.

Can You Count the Symbols?

The RNG is the factor that determines all winning combinations and this is all in the slots programming so there is no way of predicting the outcome of any spin as the outcome will be random.

As all modern slots use the RNG computerized technology the amount of symbols on the reels cannot be counted and the odds of the game are determined by the RNG.

Casinos cannot simply adjust the programming on slot machines to adjust the payout's of a slot machine, this is a common misconception.

The Lever

Some slots in land based casinos still have the traditional style lever at the side which a player pulls to spin the reels. After inserting coins or tokens you pull the lever which then sets the reels in motion if the slot has electro mechanical parts.

Let’s look at how this would work in a 3 reel slot. From a players point of view they will see the reels spin and the first reel would stop, then the second and the third.  If the player is lucky they will have a winning combination of symbols on the payline and they will get a payout.

Video slot machines and online slots usually have a button to press which causes the reels to spin. In the case of video slots and online slots the reels are virtual and are a graphical representation of a slot machines reels on a screen.

Some online slots have a virtual reel to pull which mimics a traditional style slot in a casino lobby.

Coin Chute

When a player gets a payout coins are dispatched by the slot machine via the coin chute.  This is a passage or tube that extends from where the coins are kept inside the slot machine to the cash tray.

The coin chute normally extends to a position just above the cash tray which allows for the coins to fall neatly in to the cash tray where they can be easily collected by the player.

This is a found in both video and electro mechanical slot machines in casinos. In an online slot the slot machine is virtual so the winnings are simply deposited electronically in to a players account.


Strongboxes are where the coins or tokens are kept inside a slot machine and these need to be as secure as possible.  When a player creates a winning combination the correct amount of coins is released so that the coins can travel down the coin chute to be collected by the player.

In online casinos money and credits are kept safe in a secure account in the casino ready to be deposited in to a players account when they get a wining combination.