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Slot machines and slot machine players have their own unique lingo. If you run across a slot machine term you don’t understand or want to learn more about the language of slot machines, check out this handy Internet slot machine glossary of terms.


When slot players use the word bonus, they’re talking about the various features of a slot game that are activated when certain combinations of symbols appear on the reels. Bonuses on slot machines range from side games to free spin chances. Slot machines bonuses are meant to be exciting, with lots of flashing lights and sounds to accompany your bonus try.

Payback Percentage

A slot machine’s payback percentage is the amount of cash the slot machine pays back to slots players on average over time. It is a mathematical average representing a theoretical amount that a particular machine is designed to payback over time.


A payline is the imaginary line that rewards winning on slot machines. Paylines can be straight across and very simple to read, as in classic three-reel slots, or in zig-zag patterns across the entire gaming screen, depending on what kind of machine you’re playing. Slot players assume that the more paylines on a slot machine, the more chances they have of winning. You’ll often see slot machines, especially online slots, described by how many paylines they use to hand out winnings.

Random number generator

The random number generator, or RNG, is a part of the computer brain of a slot machine. The RNG is basically just a device that chooses numbers at random. The slot machine’s random nature comes from the random numbers spit out by the RNG, constantly coming up with different numbers until you pull the lever of the slot machine. When the lever is pulled or the button pushed, the RNG determines if that spin was a winner. The reels spinning, lights flashing, and numbers popping up all over the screen are there for show. The outcome of a round of slot play is determined well before the reels stop spinning.


The sound and light effects that signify a slot machine win is called a rollup inside the casino. As the lights and prize amount roll up higher and higher, the meters showing your winnings count up to your prize. The rollup is exciting for slot players because it means they’ve just won. Slot gamers on slot machine forums and other sites often post videos of their big rollups as a point of pride. Real Money Internet slots have their own fancy rollup animations and displays, similar to land-based slot games.

Theoretical hold worksheet

A slot machine’s theoretical hold worksheet is a manufacturer’s document that contains special information about a slot machine. This worksheet is required by law to ensure that the theoretical percentage of cash held by a slot machine (from the money paid into it) is based on mathematical renderings of how the machine should play. This worksheet contains other details, too, like the settings for the reels, the machine’s programmed payout schedule, the minimum and maximum bet amounts, and other features common to slot machines. This theoretical hold worksheet is basically the mathematical blueprint of the machine, and the worksheet is used by gaming control boards to verify that a machine is legal.

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