‘Slot Machine’ is a generic term that refers to a game operated traditionally by coins although in recent years notes or credit have been seen, and involves the spinning of 3 or more reels to determine a sequence of symbols which may cause the player to win a prize. Other names include, ‘One-armed bandits’, ‘fruit machines’, and ‘poker machines’. Within this definition however, there are literally hundreds of thousands of different types of slot machine that vary in relation to their size, their themes, their payment systems, and their operational settings. It is precisely this variation that has caused the slot machine to be the greatest earner in the casino industry today.
The two main divisions when talking about different types of slots is the difference between progressive slots and straight slots. This division refers to the jackpot options available. Straight slots are not so far removed from the concept of the first slot machine; money goes in, if you win you win, if not; not. Progressive slots however add another element of interest by introducing a jackpot paid into by many machines and therefore much increased in size giving the opportunity for a jackpot of sometimes over a million dollars – a far cry from the $5 jackpot of the first slot machine!
There are then a number of different types of slot machines which can fall into either of these two main categories. European slots are a particularly popular type of slot machine and it is these that are most correctly referred to as ‘fruit machine’. Found in any UK pub, the fruit machine is much the same as an American slot machine but with the addition of sub games and path trails to be followed making it far more of a skill game than its American counterpart. An Australian slot machine is referred to as a poker machine. Poker machines more usually have 5 reels than 3 and are heavier on bonuses than other types of slots. Japanese Slot Machines vary from the American slot machine in 4 major ways. Firstly the Japanese machines always have LCD screens with additional reels; they are all -skill stop- rather than -auto-stop-; the Japanese slot machine is operated by a knob rather than an arm or handle; and a jackpot hit on a Japanese machine will relinquish only a part of the coins in the tray, whereas an American machine will release them all.
The other types of variations refer to the physical type of the slot machine. The main variations are Five Reel, Three Reel, and Video slots. On none of these types are the reels truly determining the outcome, rather they simply represent to the player an outcome that has been determined by a random number generator – the best way to ensure a truly safe and honest game. The difference between the reel slots and the video slots therefore is that whilst the reel slots do have physical reels in them that are controlled by the computerized system, the video slot simply portrays the image of a reel on the screen. Ultimately, the game is the same for all as the results are as random as each other, no matter the media through which they are presented.