A slot is a narrow opening or groove that allows something to pass through, such as a piece of wood that fits in a doorway. A slot can also be a place, time or position that someone or something occupies.

In a slot machine, a player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a slot on the machine and activates it by pushing a lever or button (either physical or on a touchscreen). The reels then spin to arrange symbols on their paylines in combinations that earn credits based on the payout table. Classic symbols include fruit, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Most slots have a theme, and bonus features are often aligned with that theme.

Many players believe that by rapidly pressing the spin button a few times before they see a winning combination on screen, they can “sneak” a win by catching the slot machine’s computer on a false positive. This is a myth, however, as there is no way to predict the outcome of a spin or the timing of a jackpot.

In air traffic management, a slot is a time period that an airline has the right to operate at an airport when congestion or limited runway capacity prevents other airlines from doing so. Airline slot rights are assigned by EUROCONTROL as part of its Network Manager function, and can be bought and sold for substantial sums. In addition to enabling airlines to manage air traffic flows, slot allocations also help optimize resource usage and increase efficiency for both airports and airlines.