Slot Machine Glossary: Terminology and Definitions

Slot Machine Glossary

Do you know your slots terminology? Want to learn all of the definitions from our list? Our complete slots glossary will teach you all you need to know about slots terminology!

Slot Machine Glossary and Terms

Slot machines are among the most popular, easiest, and the most profitable games you’ll ever see in casinos and online. But a lot of players might not know that there’s more to slots than merely a cheery array of lights and sounds. In fact, pulling a lever and watching the reels spin is only the beginning. It’s essential to know all the key slot machine terms and phrases in order to make it rain.

So if you learn all the basic slot terms, you will be more confident on the gaming floor or online. What’s more, the easiest way to do that is to browse through this handy A–Z slots glossary that we have created for new and experienced players alike. Players can use our glossary of slot terms to find out about different slot machine types, basic slot functions, and more. This guide will cover terms such as progressive jackpots, random number generators, slot volatility, and many more.

Luckily, you can simply look over this glossary and learn as many terms as you can before your next game, and we bet you’ll be more successful. Plus, the convenient thing about this dictionary is that you can simply bookmark it and use it later. So if you need to learn slot terms quickly, just check them out below!

Slot Terms


Action — Alternatively called “Play,” this term refers to the total amount of funds a player wagers during a game session or over a specific time period. The casino often tracks the action to give out reward points or other benefits in the players’ club.

Active Payline  — During a game, this term denotes a payline which is in play. It means that payouts will occur if that active payline has a winning match. See “Payline.”

Annuity Winner — Refers to jackpot winners who choose to get paid in yearly installments. When players request a full jackpot payout, they might get a high tax, so in some cases, it’s easier to get paid in installments.

Autoplay — Many slots have an autoplay feature. Players can trigger it when they want the reels to spin automatically without needing to operate the machine each round.


Bank — A bank is a row or line of machines that are placed next to each other in a casino. Sometimes, the machines can be connected physically and feature a similar theme or name.

Bars — The most basic game symbols you will see on slots are marked with the word “BAR” on the reels. Usually, they form a winning match if two or more appear on a payline.

Bet — Signifies how much money players use per spin.

Big Bertha — A slang term for a machine used as a marketing device to attract attention. The machine is usually bigger than most slots and is located close to the casino entrance to attract the largest number of players.

Big Win — Signifies the highest payout available on a slot game or a jackpot.

Blank — The blank space found between the game symbols on a reel.

Bonus Feature — Also called the “bonus game” or the “bonus round;” the term refers to an additional feature in the game that can lead to a win on top of the typical reel pay.

Bonus Multiplier — A game type similar to the “Straight Multiplier,” but includes a bonus prize. See “Straight Multiplier.”

Bonus Slots — These are specific machines that will give players free spins or other bonus features if they match a certain number of bonus symbols.

Branded Slots — These licensed slots feature themes based on popular TV shows or movies (e.g., Game of Thrones).

Buy-a-Pay Slot — A unique slot type in which each wagered coin unlocks new winning matches. This slot type is a rare sight on casino floors nowadays.


Carousel — Another word for “Bank.”

Candle — The candle is a small light at the top of a machine. When it lights up, it means there is a malfunction in that particular machine.

Cashback — A feature on some slots or casino reward programs in which players will receive money back for their losses.

Certified Slots — These types come with a 98% to 100% payout rate.

CICO — This is an abbreviation for “Coin In, Coin Out.” It’s an industry term that denotes how many coins the machine has received and how many it has paid out in total.

Classic Slot — Another term for “3-Reel Slot.” It was introduced due to the fact that the earliest slots only had three reels.

Coins — The currency that players use at the machine. Coins come in various denominations, including a penny, $5, etc.

Coin Size — Signifies how much money one coin is worth. Also known as “Denomination.”

Coin-Free Play — In land-based casinos, coin-free play games will give the players tickets instead of payouts in coins. The tickets can be exchanged for rewards or money.

Coins Per Line — The number of coins players choose or are allowed to wager per available payline.

Coins Per Spin — The number of coins players choose to wager during one spin.

Coin Hopper — A container or box which holds all the coins until they are paid out.

Cold Slot — Players use this term to refer to a machine that hasn’t paid out for a while paying out.

Collect — Some machines may have a “Collect” button that players can press to get their winnings. The machine will then turn the players’ credits into real money.

Comps — Players receive comps or complimentary points depending on how much they have played or wagered. The casino tracks their actions and then gives out comps in the form of free gifts or/and other prizes.

Combination Slot — A slot game that combines different types, i.e., buy-a-pay and multiplier.

Console Slots — A special type of slot machine in land-based casinos that contains built-in features that ensure player comfort (customizable display settings, special seats, etc.).

Credits — When players insert coins into slot machines, their funds will be changed to credits. Then, the players will use the credits to place wagers during every spin.

Credit Indicator — Often found at the bottom right corner in electronic or virtual machines. It indicates the number of credits or coins the player has at their disposal.


Denomination — The denomination is the value of one coin. Also called the “Coin Size,” it can indicate a penny, quarter, or a dollar value.

Double Symbol — Indicates a game symbol or a group of symbols. When double symbols appear in a winning match, they can double the payout.


Edge — Expressed as a percentage, the edge is the advantage the casino has over players.


Fill — A casino term for a bag which contains coins and is used to fill up a coin hopper when it runs dry.

Five Liner — A slang term for a machine that contains only five paylines.

Fixed Jackpot — A jackpot that is worth a fixed sum of money which never changes.

Fixed Value Slot — Fixed value slots are machines which come with only one bet size. Generally, they do not allow players to choose the number of paylines or coins per line.

Free Spins — Many slot games will give you free spins that you can play and cash out without wagering. Players might receive or unlock free spins based on an achievement in the game, as a casino bonus, rewards club prize, or a slot tournament prize.

Free Play — Online slots frequently offer a free play or free money mode. The players will get a certain “fun” balance to play with but will not be able to cash out the winnings from the free play rounds. Some land-based casinos could also offer a free play mode.

Fruit Machine — A British slang term used to describe a basic slot machine with few gaming options. Quite often, the symbols on these machines are fruits.


Games Per Hour — Casinos and players use this phrase to refer to the number of spins played per hour. The average for most players is approximately 500.


Hand Pay When the payouts are made by the casino cashier as opposed to the actual slot machine.

Hammer A Machine Refers to the act of playing the same machine for a long time, usually in hopes of winning a big progressive jackpot.

High Volatility Slot — These machines come with a high difference between the maximum and minimum win sizes. If jackpots are high, the volatility will also be high. See “Volatility.”

Hit — Indicates a winning round or spin.

Hit and Run A technique in which the players only spin the reels a few times. If there is no payout, they then change machines to find one that will pay out after only a few spins.

Hit Frequency This term denotes how often a specific slot will pay out. Some players might measure this frequency to increase their odds and win more often. Generally, machines with a lower frequency will pay out more often but with smaller amounts. Alternately, those that pay less often might pay larger amounts. Sometimes called “Hit Rate.”

Hold Percentage — Indicates how much money is kept by a particular machine. It’s a percentage of the total action on that slot.

Hold and Respin — A game feature in which the player can choose to “hold” some of the reels that contain the best symbols. That way, those reels will stay frozen on the screen while others can keep spinning. This could lead to more winning combinations. Some machines in land-based casinos could feature a “hold and respin” button.

Hot Slot — Players use this term to refer to a “hot” machine that seems to be paying out more often than others.


Instant Winner — Opposite of ”Annuity Winner.” Refers to jackpot winners who get a full jackpot payout at once.


Jackpot — Refers to the top prize offered by a particular slot.


Line Bet — The amount of money players wager on the paylines.

Linked Progressive Slot — A slot that is connected to a network of games which share a progressive jackpot. See “Progressive Jackpot.”

Loose Slot — A machine with a high payout rate. Loose slots offer high chances of winning.

Loss Disguised as a Win — This phrase is used to denote a partial victory, and it’s a mind trick the casino can sometimes play on its customers. The machine will make sounds and light up to make it appear like there is a win. However, it will give the players less than they wagered in the first place without them noticing. It’s a trick to make players feel like they got lucky.

Low-Level Slot — In land-based casinos, the machines that have a chair or some type of seat are called low-level slots.

Low Volatility Slot — A slot that gives out wins more often but only for small and mid-sized payouts. See “Volatility.”


Major Jackpot — If a slot offers multiple progressive jackpots, the major jackpot is the largest of the two.

Maximum Bet — The max bet is the highest allowed bet at a particular slot. It is set per spin, and it varies depending on each game.

Mechanical Slot — Older machines did not operate electronically and were made with mechanical reels and symbols. Some of them are still made this way, and in general, the number of reels and paylines is lower compared to other types.

Minimum Bet — Opposite of the max bet, i.e., the lowest allowed bet a game will allow. It is set per spin, and it varies depending on each slot game.

Minor Jackpot — If a game offers multiple progressive jackpots, the minor jackpot is the smallest.

Multi-Denominational Slot — A machine that allows a variety of coin denominations.

Multi-Line Slot — Describes a machine which contains multiple paylines. See “Payline.” Generally, multiple paylines offer more ways to win.

Multiplier — This is a bonus feature found in many slots. When activated, the winnings will be multiplied by a specific number (e.g., a 10x multiplier).

Multi-Spin Slot — Unique slots that have up to 9 reel sets, instead of only one.


Near Miss — When players miss a winning match by only one game symbol.

Nickel Slots — Slots that are played with only a denomination of a nickel or 5 cents.

Nudge — Some machines in land-based casinos could include a “Nudge” button. When pressed, a reel can be nudged up or down to form a winning match.

Number Symbols — Also referred to as minor symbols, these symbols are generally 10, J, Q, K, and A. They appear on most games and are the symbols that pay the least.


One Armed Bandit — One of the most popular slang terms for a slot machine. The moniker refers to the mechanical lever that players used to pull while playing. Over time, the machine would rob them of their money.

One Liner — A game that only has one reel.

Onesies — A slang term for only playing one coin/credit per spin.


Payline — The payout of each game depends on the payline or paylines on which players bet on. When the winning pattern appears on a payline, players will win. This pattern can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

Payout — The amount of money won after each winning spin.

Payout Percentage — Also known as “return to player” percentage, or RTP, the payout percentage refers to the money players are guaranteed to get back from the machine over time.

Paytable — The paytable is clearly displayed on a machine or in a virtual slot game, and it shows all the potential payouts one can receive based on the winning combination in question. Players can also view information about the bonus features in the paytable.

Penny Slot — Slots that are played with only a low denomination of a penny or $0.01 for each spin.

Pick and Match — A common bonus round in which the game will display a selection of items, and then the players have to find two of the same ones to get a prize.

Pick to Win — A bonus round similar to Pick and Match. The slot will display symbols which contain a hidden object behind it. When players select a symbol with the hidden object, they will get a prize.

Pokies — In Australia, “pokies” is a popular slang term for slot machines.

Progressive Jackpot — A large jackpot that increases in size over time, depending on all bets made in a particular game. For example, for each bet, the game adds a small portion of the wager to the jackpot size. In time, the progressive jackpot can grow to a huge size. These types of jackpots can be won at random and can be worth an entire fortune.

Progressive Slot — Refers to games which offer a progressive jackpot. Progressives are often interlinked online or in land-based casinos. The progressive jackpot is offered on all the machines which feature it.


Quarter Slots — Slots that are played with only a denomination of a quarter, or 25 cents.


Raining — When a slot machine pays out, and it looks and sounds like it’s “raining” coins.

Random Number Generator — Land-based and online slots contain a random number generator (RNG). The RNG is used to make sure the machine is fair by creating random results. In theory, players should not be able to use strategy to win since the machine determines the winning patterns. However, players have found several ways to employ strategy and increase their odds.

Reels — Reels are the rotating barrels which contain the game symbols. Early machines featured reels made of metal. To start the game, players will instruct the machine to spin the reels mechanically, electronically, or virtually. And when the reels stop and a winning pattern shows up on them, the players will get a payout. The 3-reel slot type is the most common, but there are many variants of games with 1, 2, 4, 5, and even more reels.

Roll-Up — A roll-up is a suspenseful sound made by a machine right after a win.


Scatter Symbol — This game symbol doesn’t need to show up in a predetermined combination or on specific lines or reels during a spin. When it appears anywhere on the reels, the scatter will activate the game’s bonus features or free spins.

Scatter Pay — A winning match that contains the scatter symbol.

Second-Screen Bonus — Used mostly by casino game developers, the term signifies a unique bonus round in a video slot that takes the player to another game screen.

Select Lines — The number of selected paylines in one game.

Short Win — When a player hits a winning pattern but doesn’t get paid due to a low-denomination bet.

Signature Slots — A proprietary slot brand designed by a particular land-based or online casino.

Skill-Based Game — A common bonus round that resembles a video game.

Slant Top Slot — A newer type of machine found in land-based casinos. It is wider and smaller than common machines, and it is becoming increasingly popular.

Slot Club — Refers to a rewards club for players in a casino.

Slots Drop — A term used in live casinos to denote the total sum of money played on a particular slot machine.

Slots Hold — A term used in live casinos to denote the total sum of money that the machine will not pay out to players.

Slot Host — A slot host is an employee in a land-based casino who will assist players in case they need help. Plus, the host is often in charge of hand pays.

Slot Machine Used to refer to the casino game as well as the actual machine found in casinos.

Slot Talk — When players exchange information about a game with a host in a land-based casino.

Slot Testing — When a player spends a roll of coins on a slot machine in order to test it and find out the payout rate.

Slot Tournament — An offline or an online event which makes groups of players compete for big prizes.

Slot Type — Refers to the game type (e.g., classic, video, progressive, etc.).

Slot Schedule — Another term for “paytable.”

Stand-Up Slot — In land-based casinos, the slot machines that are placed upright and require the player to stand while playing are referred to as stand-up slots.

Streaky Slot — A slot that is both hot and cold.

Stop — A stop or stops refer to the moment when the reels stop.

Spin — Describes the physical or virtual spinning of the reels. To spin the reels, players can push a button or pull a lever. In online casinos, players can press the “Spin” button. Additionally, players use this term to describe one round of a game.

Spin the Wheel — A common bonus round in which players spin a wheel, and when the wheel stops, it can determine their bonus prize.

Stacked Wilds — Refers to a stack of wild symbols in which the symbols are placed on top of one another on only one reel.

Straight Multiplier — A slot type in which the player can trigger all the winning matches with only one coin.

Symbols — The game symbols are the illustrations and images you will see in a slot game. They show up on the reels and have to form a predetermined combination in order for the player to win. The symbols can include numbers, cards, fruit, or any other type of illustration (e.g., animals, objects, funny characters, etc.).


Take/Pay Cycle — Signifies an assumption that machines have a cycle during which they will make a payout after players have inserted enough money into it.

Three Liner — A game that has three reels. Slang for a 3-reel slot.

Ticket — A printed ticket players get from the slot machine. Players can use the ticket to get their winnings at the cashier.

Tilt — A term denoting a malfunction or an error in a live or an online slot machine.

TITO — Signifies “Ticket in/Ticket out” machines that print paper tickets. The tickets include the payout amount and players can use the tickets at several machines after winning. The tickets replaced coin payouts for the most part; however, many modern slot machines use plastic cards nowadays.

Tight Slots — Opposite to loose slots — payouts will occur less often in tight slots.

Total Bet — The entire amount of credits a player wagers on a machine for the duration of the game.

Two Liner — A game that has two reels. Generally, it takes a match of three symbols to win. But if there is a match of six symbols, the payment will usually be doubled.

Taste — Used to signify an extremely small amount that a machine pays out and the assumption that the amount was paid to make sure the player keeps spinning the reels.


Volatility — Refers to the amount of risk in games and how difficult or easy it is to hit a jackpot in a particular game.

Video Slots — A type of slots that don’t contain mechanical reels. They are the most common machines in casinos and are operated by software. All the elements are shown on an electronic display.

Virtual Reel Technology — This technology allows the random number generator to pick more non-winning matches than winning combinations. It’s a solution to make players’ chances of winning smaller, and therefore, increase the jackpot size.


Wager — Same as “Bet.”

WAP — Abbreviation for “Wide Area Progressive.” Used to denote a progressive slot available in many different online casinos which offers a linked jackpot. It is the highest progressive jackpot available.

Wager Management — Refers to strategies some players might use to keep track of their betting habits.

Well — Denotes the tray in which the coins fall in after a payout.

Wild Symbol — These game symbols can be used as a substitute for others in a winning pattern on the reels.

Wild Multiplier — Much like the traditional wild, the wild multiplier symbol can swap out any other game symbols in a winning match, except for the bonus and scatter symbols. This symbol also multiplies wins depending on the combination and the game rules.

Win — When the player hits a winning combination.

Winning Combination — This is a pattern of game symbols. When the pattern appears on the reels, players will get a win. The winning pattern can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or it can pay all ways.


Zigzag — A winning combination that forms a zigzag pattern, and it is featured in slots with multiple paylines.


243 Pay Lines — A special game with a high number of paylines (243). It is said that this game covers every line, so it is quite difficult to estimate all the available combinations.

3-Reel Slots — Same as “Three Liner.” A slot game that has three reels.

5-Reel Slots — Same as “Five Liner.” A slot game that has five reels.

Time to Spin and Get Lucky!

Now that you know about all the essential terms, it will be easier to start gambling and try to win a lot of money. So bookmark our complete guide and good luck playing some slot games!

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3 Responses

  1. Crazy Diamond says:

    I love spinning the reels, and I found your list helpful, even though I’ve already known many things. For example, now I can tell the difference between the Annuity winner and the Instant winner. Awesome!

  2. Henry says:

    I have to give you credit for explaining briefly and in human terms what slots volatility is. This is an extremely important thing to know when choosing a machine to play on. Other sites failed to offer a simple explanation like yours.

  3. Ennia says:

    I am new to slots, and I adore playing these fun and flashy machines. I found everything I needed to know about them on your list, so now I’m ready to roll.

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