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Slots terminology

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Display screen of a slot machine in tilt mode

Bonus is a special feature of the particular game theme, which is activated when certain symbols appear in a winning combination. In the bonus, the player is presented with several items on a screen from which to choose. As the player chooses items, a number of credits is revealed and awarded. Some bonuses use a mechanical device, such as a spinning wheel, that works in conjunction with the bonus to display the amount won.

Candle is a light on top of the slot machine. It flashes to alert the operator that a hand pay is requested or that there is a problem with the machine.

Carousel refers to a grouping of slot machines.

Coin hopper is a container where the coins that are immediately available for payouts are held. The hopper is a mechanical device that rotates coins into the coin tray when a player collects his credits/coins (by pressing a “Cash Out” button). When a certain preset coin capacity is reached, a coin diverter automatically redirects, or “drops”, excess coin into a “drop bucket” or “drop box”.

Credit meter is a visual display of the amount of money or credits on the machine.

Drop bucket or drop box is a container located in a slot machine’s base where excess coins are diverted from the hopper. Typically, a drop bucket is used for low denomination slot machines and a drop box is used for high denomination slot machines. A drop box contains a hinged lid with one or more locks whereas a drop bucket does not contain a lid. The contents of drop buckets and drop boxes are collected and counted by the casino on a scheduled basis.

Hand pay refers to a payout made by a slot attendant or cage, rather than the slot machine. A hand pay occurs when the amount of the payout exceeds the maximum amount that was preset by the slot machine’s operator. Usually, the maximum amount is set at the level where the operator must begin to deduct taxes. A hand pay could also be necessary as a result of a short pay.

Hopper fill slip is a document used to record the replenishments of the coin in the coin hopper after it becomes depleted as a result of making payouts to players. The slip indicates the amount of coin placed into the hoppers, as well as the signatures of the employees involved in the transaction, the slot machine number and the location and the date.

Low Level or Slant Top slot machines include a stool so you can sit and play. Stand Up or Upright slot machines are played while standing.

Optimal play is a payback percentage based on a gambler using the optimal strategy in a skill-based slot machine game.

Payline is a straight or zig-zagged line that crosses through one symbol on each reel, along which a winning combination is evaluated. Classic spinning reel machines usually have up to nine paylines, while video slot machines may have as many as fifty.

Rollup is the process of dramatizing a win by playing sounds while the meters count up to the amount that has been won.

Short pay refers to a partial payout made by a slot machine, which is less than the amount due to the player. This occurs if the coin hopper has been depleted as a result of making earlier payouts to players. The remaining amount due to the player is paid as a hand pay.

Tilt In the old mechanical days, slot machines had tilt switches. Any kind of mechanical failure (door switch in the wrong state, reel motor failure, etc) is still called a “tilt”. Just a historical thing.

Theoretical Hold Worksheet is a document provided by the manufacturer for all slot machines, which indicates the theoretical percentage that the slot machine should hold based on adequate levels of coin-in. The worksheet also indicates the reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout schedule, the number of reels and other information descriptive of the particular type of slot machine.

Weight count is an American term, referring to the dollar amount of coins or tokens removed from a slot machine’s drop bucket or drop box and counted by the casino’s hard count team through the use of a weigh scale.

Pay Table

Each machine has a table that lists the number of credits the player will receive if the symbols listed on the pay table line up on the pay line of the machine. Some symbols are wild and will pay if they are visible in any position, even if they are not on the pay line. Especially on older machines, the pay table is listed on the face of the machine, usually above and below the area containing the wheels. Most video machines display the pay table when the player presses a “pay table” button or touches “pay table” on the screen; some have the pay table listed on the cabinet as well.

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