Video Lottery Terminal

Video Lottery Terminals

Video Lottery Terminals are machines that display video gambling games, and allow players to place bets on them. They were first introduced in New Brunswick, Canada, in the 1990s and are now found all over that country and across the United States. In many ways they are similar to Slots machines, especially in terms of their infrastructure and design.

If a Video Lottery Terminal and a Slot machine were placed alongside each other, many players would find it difficult to tell which was which. While both are standalone machines that randomly determine the outcome of a game, there are a few key differences between them.


The original mechanical Slots games, with their spinning reels, see not too far off what is simulated on the screens of modern machines. Random Number Generation is used to determine the line-up of the symbols on the reels, so while the way of reaching these combinations has been updated, in the original and modernised Slots games the results are created within the machine itself.

By contrast, a Video Lottery Terminal is simply a screen upon which to display the results of a game. Whatever is being played, the results are determined by a central computer system. The results are shown on the Lottery Terminal screen as a Slots combination, but this animation is purely for show. The actual game action takes place on a server.


Slots games are always centred on the action of spinning reels, while a Video Terminal might feature a few different games. The machine might receive a virtual Scratch Card, similar to what players might buy in a convenience store or online. The video reels will then spin and display the ticket’s results, whether numbers or corresponding symbols.

Another version is to have linked servers play a virtual Bingo game. All of the computers involved are sent a digital Bingo card and then play a game to its conclusion. At this point the reels spin to reveal results in the same way as with the simulated Scratch Card.

Jurisdiction and Payouts

While Slots machines and Video Lottery Terminals might be found in the same casino, the former is privately controlled and the latter is usually managed by a state-run lottery. There are some cases where an agreement exists between the state and private partners, but at least some of the revenue from a Lottery Terminal always goes to government works or other supported causes.

Slots games also tend to pay out much larger amounts than Lottery Terminals, and can pay out jackpots, which the Terminals cannot. In addition, the Slots games tend to be a lot looser. The Lottery Terminals operate in a market where there is very little competition, while Slots are vying for business and offer more tempting and easily given payouts.

Both machines offer players the opportunity to enjoy themselves and have fun, but the odds are slightly more in their favour when betting on a Slots machine. If, however, they are looking for immediate results and want to know their money is going to worthy causes, Video Lottery Terminals might be the perfect solution.