In the UK, the terms ‘fruit machines’ and ‘slot machines’ are often used interchangeably. But there are some differences between the two.

Here are some of the main ways fruit machines and slot machines are different from each other, and why their names can also be misleading at times.

Slot machines

First of all, let’s think about slot machines. By definition, these are coin-operated machines and the name comes from the slot into which coins are dropped to buy a game.

By this definition, slot machines don’t just include fruit machines and quiz machines, but also everything from snack vending machines to coin-op kiddie rides outside your local supermarket.

It’s also worth noting that modern slot machines might not have a slot at all, as an increasing number have a note feeder for paper/polymer banknotes or a contactless card reader for cashless payments.

Fruit machines

Fruit machines are a particular subcategory of slot machines and include the familiar pub fruit machines most people have seen many times before.

The defining characteristic here is the system of symbols used on a pub fruit machine’s reels, which usually includes cherries, oranges, watermelons and plums, plus a few non-fruit images like bells and lucky 7s.

But it’s not necessary for any fruit to be used. You might see slot machines with cartoon characters, cops and robbers or even your favourite soap stars’ faces in place of the plums and cherries.

Slot machines vs. fruit machines

A more detailed definition that highlights the difference between slot machines and fruit machines is as follows:

  • Slot machines are usually very simple and may have a single push-button operation, similar to that of early one-man bandits.
  • Fruit machines are usually more complicated, with extra options like hold, nudge, gamble and feature boards.

This is a rule of thumb, and there are plenty of exceptions. But it’s useful to keep it in mind when trying to tell the difference between slot machines and fruit machines.

Legal definition of slot machines and fruit machines

In terms of UK law, there’s little difference between ‘slot machines’ and ‘fruit machines’. The Gambling Commission uses both terms to refer to Category A Gaming Machines:

“Most gaming machines are of the reel-based type, also known as fruit, slot, or jackpot machines.”

If you’re thinking of installing pub fruit machines or other slot machines on your premises and you’d like to know more about the rules that apply to different types of slot machines, contact Manco today on 0161 870 7777 and we’ll be happy to help.