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Just how does a video lottery terminal differ from a slot machine?

Slot machines involve spinning electromagnetic reels, and are known in the trade as line-up games. When the reels stop, the way they line up determines whether a player wins. Video terminals can also include line-up games, but the difference is the "reels" are animated on a video screen. In addition most Video Slots are coinless.

Video versions can also feature a variety of games, which require no line-ups such as poker, keno and blackjack, or a combination on a single machine. Both styles depend on a computerized random number generator in each machine to determine the outcome of each play.

In 1989 South Dakota approved the use of only video machines and placed their operation under the state lottery, hence the name Video Lottery Terminal (VLT). When Delaware legalized video lottery terminals in the 1990s, the state permitted both kinds of machines.

The difference between Delaware and Atlantic City is that in Delaware the machines are linked to a central computer under the aegis of the lottery office, which has physical control over the money and the hours of operation. The computer activates the games in the morning and shuts them down at night. All financial data is collected by the computer.

New York has taken the concept to the next level in its preparation for Video Lottery Terminals at eight of the state's 10 tracks. They have a new generation of technology where machines do not have a random number generator. Instead, there will be a predetermined number of winners, much like the paper lottery.

Gamblers play against other players as part of a lottery. In slot machines it is you against the machine. It looks like a video terminal, but the outcome is not determined at the terminal. The pool of winners are picked at the central computer. Information provided, courtesy, Courier Post Online

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