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Why People Get Hooked on Slot Machines. Explained

Why People Get Hooked on Slot Machines. Explained

Most of the research about compulsive gambling centres on the psychological and moral profiles of gamblers while we ignore the real problem that is slot machines. Natasha Dow Schull, an MIT Anthropologist, explained the relationship between gambling addicts and those technologically superior machines in her book ‘Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. Ms Schull, who spent fifteen years researching in casinos, explained: “Addiction is a relationship between a person and an activity.” Today, we’re going to look into the reasons why people get so hooked on slot machines. 

Effects of Uncertainty on Human Brains

One of the trademarks of gambling is the uncertainty associated with it. Uncertainty pokes a human mind whether he is going to get the jackpot in the next round or not. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that human brain releases in the course of an enjoyable activity like eating. This same neurotransmitter also gets released in a situation when the reward is uncertain. It likely adds courage during the reinforcement of risk-taking behaviour seen in gambling. 

Research has shown that the amount of Dopamine releases during gambling is comparable to that of drug abuse. In fact, repeated exposure to the uncertainty of gambling makes a long-lasting change in our brain. These changes can also make gamblers craving for addictive drugs. The continuation of gambling can modify your response to losing. As a result of this, losing makes them play even more rather than being disappointed and walk away.   

Lights and Sounds Stir You Up

The immersive environment of a casino with a line-up of flashy lights and sound effects triggers the urge to play more. That is why slot machines are built-in with extra flashing lights and different sound effects. Even an online slot machine gambling site includes piles of audiovisual frills in an attempt to apprehend your attention towards it.

The study suggests when paired with reward uncertainty, these lights and sounds enhance the attractiveness of the game. For example, jingles that change in length and tone when you hit a prize lead gamblers to overestimate their performance. This is when you think of playing faster and for a more extended period. 

The Feeling of Winning When Actually You’re Losing!

Over the last couple of decades, casinos have significantly upgraded their slot machines. Old mechanical slot machines are a thing of the past now, replaced by newer electronic gaming machines. These machines are ushering a new era of multi-line slot machines where you can place multiple bets per spin. 

Being able to bet up to 20 bets per spin, a typical gambler places the maximum number of bets per spin. Most of the time, you may win on some bet, but losing on others, make a net loss overall. In this scenario, most players concentrate on winning bets and think of himself as a gainer while that is not the reality. This phenomenon is called “losses disguised as wins.” Every win, even when it’s a “loss disguised as a win,” comes with the jingles and lights of victory.

Near-Miss Effect and Running After the Losses

Electronic slot machines can be programmed to show an output of a specific result more frequently than others. This includes the near-misses. If you are regular on slot machines, you have encountered the outcome where the reel stops one short of a jackpot. If you have noticed carefully, then, you can feel this type of results is more frequent than others. 

This shenanigan increases a gambler’s desire to gamble more. When someone gets so close to hitting the jackpot, they think it’s their day to shine, and they will get lucky in the future bets. So they keep on playing to recover the losses they have already made. Near-misses can be frustrating than missing by a longshot, but they trigger a strong compulsion to play more. They are highly motivating in nature and enlarge a player’s commitment towards the game. 

How to Get Out of It?

When you engage yourself in gambling, you’re not only playing against the casino’s odds, but you’re also battling against an enemy skilled with trickery and deceit. Slot machines are designed to hook players for longer playing sessions, and finally, when you finish playing, you walk away with a misconception of doing a good job back there. 

This is not a small issue. Up to 2% of US citizens are suffering from gambling disorders. For some people, playing slot games is a way to escape from depression and reality. If you’re one of them, then you should seriously consider finding alternative ways to improve your state of mind. You can start by spending more time with your loved ones, the ones who actually care for you. When you finally succeed, you will feel the pleasure that no slot machine can give you ever.

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Blog Summary

Blog Name: Why People Get Hooked on Slot Machines. Explained

Posted On: 11/10/2019

Author: Robert Bowron

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