When people think of casino gambling, they often picture blackjack or roulette — high-stakes games where fortunes can be won or lost in seconds. But while those games may have the most storied history, slot machines are rapidly gaining popularity and now account for almost half of all casino profits. In fact, one gambling official estimates that slots generate twice as much revenue as table games.

Until recently, slot machines were all-or-nothing affairs. Players inserted bills or tokens and yanked on the lever, and either all the cherries or lucky sevens lined up and they won, or nothing happened and they went home empty-handed. Then came better computer technology, which enabled casinos to fine-tune the odds and percentage paybacks of their machines.

Today’s multi-line video machines allow a player to bet on up to 200 lines at a time, each with a chance of winning. In addition to calculating payouts, the machine displays special winning scenes and plays energizing music.

When it comes to playing hockey, the slot is where a defenseman can take a shot from right in front of the goalie. The area in front of the goaltender between the face-off circles is called the low slot, while the higher area in the center of the rink is called the high slot. A well-placed one-timer from the high slot can be one of the most devastating shots in hockey. However, it’s not easy to do — especially for a defenseman.