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Signs of slot machine addiction

When gambling on a slot machine, the bond between the gambler and the machine becomes personal, no one to interfere with their gambling and no one to compete against. The player feels a fondness for a particular machine and some players even get irritated if they see someone else playing their machine. If the slot player is playing longer than he planned, spending more money than he can afford, and telling lies about how much he wins or loses, perhaps he has a problem. If s/he is concerned about his behavior while gambling and even during periods when the person is away from the casino, perhaps s/he may have a slot machine addiction. Other signs of slot machine addiction include:

1. Belief that you are not gambling with “real money”.

2. Belief that you will win back money that you lost on a slot machine.

3. Developing a personal relationship or bond with a particular slot machine.

I'd love to share my story of my addiction to slot machines here with you. I was looking for some people who could understand the specific realm of slot addiction and compulsive gambling. I entered a casino, a place that I never thought twice about, when an old boyfriend suggested one too many times that we explore the place because we lived in. “Slot machines are one of the most popular forms of gambling worldwide, but they are also the form most consistently linked to gambling addiction,” says lead author of the study, Spencer Murch. More information: W. Spencer Murch et al, Measuring the Slot Machine Zone With Attentional Dual Tasks and Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia., Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (2017).DOI: 10.1037. Baba Wild Slots - Slot Machines. Welcome to Baba Wild Slots! LIKE & SHARE to get daily prizes and updates. Invite your friends for daily gifts, more friends = more gifts!

4. Feeling irritation when you see someone else playing on “your” slot machine.

5. Playing a slot machine longer than planned.

6. Spending more money on a slot machine than you can afford.

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7. Lying about how much you win or lose on a slot machine.

8. Thinking about playing the slots when you are away from a casino.

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9. Problems at work, home or in a social setting due to playing the slots.

10. If you think you may have a gambling problem, you probaby do.

Slot machines are designed to be addictive

Slot machines are also known as VLTs (video lottery terminals) or pokies. The machines are designed with three or more reels that spin when a button is pushed or a handle pulled. The machines have different themes containing graphics and music from popular movies or TV show. The sounds, colors, and images on slot machines have been designed by psychologists to seduce the player and the music reinforces the addictive behavior.

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Dopamine, adrenaline and slot machines

The rapid response from the machine has a hypnotic effect and stirs up the dopamine in our brains. And the speed of slot machine games keeps the gamblers’ adrenaline pumping. Even if the gambler does not win, the machine makes him feel that he almost did. And for the gambler that can be just as great a feeling as winning the jackpot. In fact, the person can sit there for hours just pushing buttons and zoning out because the games require no thought or skill. Many slot players have commented, “I just couldn’t get up and walk away.”

Instant gratification on slot machines

When a person gambles on slot machines they don’t have to think or plan their next move. They don’t have to wait for cards to be dealt, horses to run around a track, or the end of a sports event, to know the score. Playing the slot machines person knows instantly if he won. Even if he didn’t win, the reels show him how close he came to winning. The machine tells the player that it is ready to pay off because the images on the reels were showing us three, four or five of a kind.

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Slot machines are the crack cocaine of gambling

Slot machines are powerful revenue-generating forces designed to keep the player spending more money. The innocence of the slot machine attracts the gambler as he walks through the casino but the slot machine addiction has been described as the crack cocaine of gambling. The money that people gamble on slot machines typically isn’t important and is treated like Monopoly money. Even when the person loses, they believe they will win back all the money they lost to the machine. To compound the losing of money, several ATM machines are located in the gambling area. But what has your experience been? Are you having trouble with slot machine use? Please share your thoughts below, and we will respond to you personally!

Marilyn Lancelot is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive gambler with twenty years of recovery. She has authored three books, Gripped by Gambling , Detour, and Switching Addictions. She also publishes a newsletter on-line, Women Helping Women for recovery from gambling. This newsletter has been published for more than 10 years and is read by women and men around the world.

Most research on compulsive gambling focuses on the psychological, biological, or even moral profiles of gambling addicts—but the real problem may be the slot machines. MIT anthropologist Natasha Dow Schull recently won the American Ethnological Society’s 2013 First Book Prize for her new work, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, which explores the relationship between gamblers and the technologically sophisticated machines that enable—and encourage—them to bet beyond their means. Schull, who spent fifteen years conducting ethnographic research in casinos, gambling industry conventions, and Gamblers Anonymous meetings in Las Vegas, explained to me over the phone, “Addiction is a relationship between a person and an activity, and I see my book as compensating for the lack of research into the object side of the relationship. With alcohol research, for instance, there has been a focus not only on the alcoholic but on the alcohol itself. With gambling, the focus is most often on the person. It’s essential to broaden that.”

Alice Robb: Why should a cultural anthropologist study gambling?

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Natasha Dow Schull: Games are a great window into culture. They indicate what the populace is anxious about or is seeking out. The fact that people are being drawn to individual machine consoles rather than high-volatility, intense social games tells us a lot about the risk and volatility that people feel in the world, in their lives—think of the financial crisis, the culture of fear around terrorism, the environment, global warning. It makes sense that people would seek out games that allow them a sense of control and predictability.

You don’t think about gambling as that kind of a game. You would think it’s about thrill and risk, but actually slot machines provide people with a sense of safety and certainty.

In 1967, the anthropologist Erving Goffman described gambling as the occasion for “character contests” in which participants could demonstrate their courage, integrity and composure under pressure. Today, our anxieties are very different, and with slot machines we’re seeking a sense of safety and routine—the opposite of what Goffman describes.

AR: How does gambling promote a sense of security? Isn’t gambling about risk?

NDS: When gamblers play, they’re going into a zone that feels comfortable and safe. You’re not playing to win, you’re playing to stay in the zone— a zone where all of your daily worries, your bodily pains, your anxieties about money and time and relationships, fall away.

One addict I interviewed described being in the ‘zone’:

It’s like being in the eye of a storm…Your vision is clear on the machine in front of you but the whole world is spinning around you, and you can’t really hear anything. You aren’t really there—you’re with the machine and that’s all you’re with.”

New kinds of machines are key. With multi-line slot machines, say you put in a hundred coins. If you’re betting on 100 lines of play, you’ll always ‘win’ something back. If you put in 40 coins and get 30 back, that’s a net loss, a ‘false win’, but the machine responds as if you’ve won: The lights go off, you get the same audiovisual feedback. Almost every hand, you get the same result— there are no dry spells.

AR: You say that people want to get away from their fears about money and people. So why escape by spending money in a casino that’s full of people?

NDS: In order to get away from the burdens and anxieties associated with monetary value and interactions with other people, you have to work within those mediums and convert them into something else. To get away from money, you have to play with it; gamblers spoke about how money became currency for staying in the zone.

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And even though there are people around, it’s still very anonymous. You set yourself up alone in a machine-like pod and everything blurs away—the other people are just a kind of necessary background. People seem not to be able to do that on the couch alone. A lot of the gamblers I talked to would play on hand-held machines at home in between their sessions at the casinos, but they couldn’t achieve that zone as readily.

AR: Why are slot machines so much more addictive than more traditional forms of gambling?

NDS: Even though slot machines are considered to be a light form of gambling due to their relatively low stakes, ease of play and historical popularity with women, they are actually the most potent. There are three reasons why: Playing on slot machine is solitary, rapid, and continuous. You don’t have interruptions like you would in a live poker game, waiting for cards to be dealt or waiting for the other players. You can go directly from one hand to the next—there’s no clear stopping point built into the game. You don’t even have to stop to put bills in the machine; the machines take credit or barcoded tickets.

AR: What do new gambling machines say about our relationship with technology?

NDS: The cultural history of gambling in this country follows alongside technological advances—not only because technology make these new kinds of machines possible, but because we’ve become comfortable interacting with and even trusting computers and machines.

You can see that in the revenue: 80 percent of revenue in Las Vegas comes from individual encounters with slot machines rather than social forms of play around a table. Whereas in a place like Macao—which has far greater revenue from gambling than Las Vegas—it's the exact opposite: 80 percent is coming from table games, because people have a distrust of computers and machines.

AR: How could your work affect the public conversation on gambling?

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NDS: States around the country are considering gambling as way to increase revenue in the recession—and it’s the revenue from machines that they’re anticipating. I think this is a very dubious proposition since, as I show, these devices are so clearly problematic. Machines are designed to draw people in and sometimes do so in deceptive ways; their design affects all players, not just a small group of addicts. Legislators need to understand how these machines work.