Slot Machines Terminology

Slot Machines Terminology

There are many terms that are used by those who play on slot machines. It is essential to understand these terms before placing any coins in any slot machines. Some of the most commonly used terms include:

coinhopperThe Coin Hopper:

It is the container where the coins that are won by players are held. It is a mechanical device that pumps out coins whenever players are entitled for a win.





A candle refers to the light that is found at the top of any machine. Of course, it can only be found at land based slot machines. This light will flash in order to alert the machine operator that a change is required, a pay is requested or that there is a problem with the slot machine.


This term is used to refer to a group of slot machines. They are usually grouped in an oval or a circular formation.



The bonus in a slot machine is a unique feature that can only be found at the slot machine and it is usually related to the theme of the game. This bonus can be triggered when players get certain symbols on any of the activated lines of the game. The bonuses differ from one game to another. For example, some bonuses can reward players with a number of free spins, they are called “Free Spins Bonuses. Others can reward players with instant cash prizes while others can give players the chance to pick symbols and each symbol will give a random instant cash prize, those are called “Click Me Bonuses”.

These bonuses can be triggered from the main game but there are some bonuses that can only be triggered other bonus rounds or through the Free Spin round. For instance, the progressive jackpot is usually not triggered from the main game and it is triggered through a bonus round.

creditmeterThe Credit Meter:

It is an LED screen display that will show the amount of credits or money on the slot machine.




Weight Count:

A weight count refers to the dollar amount of the winning coins or tokens that are taken from the drop box or the drop bucket of the slot machine. It helps players know the value of the coins by using a weight scale.


It is an abbreviation for Electronic Gaming Machine.

Drop Box:

It is also called a Drop Bucket. It is a container that can be found at the base of the slot machines. Its purpose is to take in any excess coins that fall from the Coin Hopper.

Hand Pay:

It refers to any payment that is made by the casino floor attendant or at the exchange point rather than the slot machine. A Hand Pay happens when the payout amount is more than the maximum payout that was set by the operator of the slot machine.


This term refers to the small payouts that are given to players by a slot machine in order to keep them betting and seated at the slot machine.


A payline refers to the line that crosses one symbol on every reel. Players who want to earn a payout will have to achieve a winning combination of symbols on this line. Slot machines can have from one line up to 200 lines that can have different shapes such as horizontal, oblique, zig zag, trapezoidal and vertical among others. Players can choose the lines they want to activate, as they do not have to bet on all of the lines that the game offers. Some games do not offer lines as they offer players ways to win.


The Tilt Switch is found at electromechanical slots. This switch will break the circuit and stop the game if the machine is tampered with in any way or tilted, hence, it is called a Tilt Switch. It will also activate an alarm to attract the attention of any attendants.

The Theme of the Game:

Each game has its own theme. This theme dominates the symbols on the reels, the soundtrack, the design of the interface and the bonus rounds. The theme can be a certain TV show, a movie or a sport. The games can also be branded such as the Marvel Branded games.



As mentioned, players will be paid according to winning combos on activated winning lines. Players can know the different combos and the payouts that they can earn through a table that is called the “Paytable”. At land-based slots, the paytable is usually printed on the slot machine itself or if it is an electromechanical machine, players can view it by clicking on the Paytable button. For online slots, it can be found right beside the reels or by clicking on the View Payout or Paytable button. The paytable will also show players the special features and the bonus symbols that the game offers.


The reels are what spins when players start spinning the reels. The games can have 3 reels of 5 reels. Most classical slots have three reels while the more advanced video slots have 5 reels. These reels can be mechanical, which is the case for traditional slots and they can be digital, in the case of land based and online video slots. The symbols that appear on the reels can be classical such as bars, bells, cherries and other fruits.  The symbols can also be inspired by the theme of the game.