With modern slot machines there’s a greatest potential for a dangerous side effect; gambling addiction as more people are addicted to slots than any other form of gambling. The modern slots are like hightech video games that play music and scenes from TV shows. You can play hundreds of lines at once and instead of pulling a handle you bet by pushing buttons which means each bet can be completed in as little as 3.5 seconds.
It looks like great fun but it can be dangerously addictive. Whether or not it’s their intention the gambling industry is designing machines that can addict people.
One MIT Anthropology Professor had studied gambling slot addiction for over 15 years. She’s interviewed gamblers, casino owners and slot machine designers.
One question we put to her was – Do you think that most people would even think that a machine could addict you, that a machine can do the same thing that a drug could?
Answer: What addiction really has to do is with the speed of the rewards and these machines they’re packing 1200 hands per hour into play. You’re being exposed as you can see that being exposed to a higher dose because all that speed means more bets and that means more excitement.
Another core aspect of their addictiveness is their continuous nature. You’re not interrupted by anything. You’re not waiting for the horses to run. You’re not waiting for the guy next to you to choose his card to put down. There’s no one in that wheel spinning it’s just you and the machine. It’s a continuous flow without interruption.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada measured how players respond physiologically while they gamble and show that the new machines can make them think they’re winning even when they’re not. The gamblers almost always get some many back. If he puts in a dollar he might get back 50 cents but the sounds and flickering lights trick his brain into thinking he came out ahead. “The constant feeling of winning creates so much pleasure”. The regular players can slip in a trance like state, a place she calls the zone.