Cash Out is a term that has a basic function on slot machines, and is known both as an action and as a button.
Cash Out the action is making the decision to take your remaining money out of the machine and move on. Cash Out the button is the button that allowed you to do this.
In the early days of slots, you’d put coins into the slot, and if you won, it would drop the winning coins into a coin hopper. Some older slot machines still have this space, even if they don’t dispense coins anymore.
Then, machines got to the point where they could track credits, and accept bills. Credits would keep track of how many betting units were in the machine. Hitting Cash Out would drop the coins into the hopper, but you didn’t have to necessarily have them constantly drop into the hopper, only for you to put them back into the machine. The button was there when you were ready to move on.
More recently, slot machines added ticket-in, ticket-out systems known as TITO for short. Modern slot machines still track the balance via credits, a way of knowing how many betting units you have in the machine. When you’re ready to move on, hitting the cash out button would print a ticket, that could be inserted into another machine or redeemed for actual cash.
The latest bleeding edge solutions is the ability to carry a balance on your players card or other digital device, and when you cash out, it transfers the balance to that card. You can then deposit money on the next machine. Versions of this are starting to roll out in various casinos as they test the various permutations and aim to get players more comfortable with a paperless world.
But the throughline is still the ability to cash out your balance, whenever you want, to play elsewhere or take home with you. It’s a common function of slots that came into being with the credit balance, and is likely to endure given the current evolution of slots to come.