A slot is a position or time in which something can take place. The term is also used to describe a particular part of a machine or container, for example, the narrow opening in which coins can be placed in a slot machine. Moreover, if you “slot” something into something else, it means that it fits easily or is put into place. The car seat belt slotted into the receptacle easily. Similarly, a slot in a schedule or program is a time when something can happen. People sometimes book a time slot a week or more in advance.

A few experimental studies are frequently cited for providing evidence that near misses might reinforce gambling persistence. For instance, Strickland and Grote found that participants who saw winning symbols more frequently on the earlier presented reels of a slot machine (i.e., more near misses than far misses) opted to keep playing longer than participants who saw fewer of these symbols.

These results led to the popular belief that near misses provide a strong conditional reinforcement that encourages gambling persistence. However, these findings should be interpreted cautiously. A possible limitation is that the stimuli in the present experiments were very simple. This was intentional, as it was designed to reduce unsystematic variation in the outcome of each trial. Nonetheless, the simple stimuli may have also limited the generality of the contingencies.

The slot receiver is a key piece of the offense, and it is important for defenses to have coverage options to prevent them from becoming a one-dimensional team. For this reason, teams will often use a slot cornerback to help cover these receivers.