Why is slot machine gambling so addictive? Why is it coined the “crack cocaine of addiction”? Why is slot machine gambling considered to be the MOST addictive form of gambling that exists today?
I will try to answer these questions in this article. The questions are quite significant, and the answers can help to explain why so many people have gotten hooked on the “slots”, “pokies”, and “fruit machines”.
Slot machines use what is known to psychological behaviorists as “intermittent reinforcement” Basically, what this means is that a winning hand on a slot machine only happens sometimes.
This type of reinforcement is known to be very powerful because an individual is only rewarded at certain intervals. This can create an addictive reaction , resulting obsession quite easily. When you reward only sometimes., it is sure to create an obsessive reaction.
In addition, studies have shown that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays an important role in developing a gambling addiction. Dopamine is known as the “feel good” chemical. The illusions of patterns in slot machines, and the intermittent winning spins create a rush of dopamine in the brain that makes people desire continued play.
You have probably heard in the past that gambling addicts are “addicted to the action”and not really as interested in winning money like they may think they are. This is because the dopamine rush is so powerful and pleasurable, that the action of gambling becomes euphoric in its’ own right. It is a means it itself rather than a means to an end.
The role of dopamine is in the brain is very significant and powerful. Individuals with Parkinsons Diseases who were taking medications to increase dopamine in their brains were becoming addicted to gambling, specifically, slot machine gambling. Once these individuals stopped the medication, their addictive and obsessive gambling stopped. This happened to a significant amount of people taking these types of medications.
Slot machine addiction is considered to be the “crack cocaine” of gambling for a few different reasons.
Crack cocaine is one of the most highly addictive drugs that exists today. Slot machine gambling is also considered to be the most addictive form of gambling… hands down.
The two can also be compared to each other because of the very quick, accelerating progression of the addiction. A person can hit total despair and devastation with a slot machine addiction in one to three years. Other forms of gambling do not accelerate as quickly.
Another comparison is how both forms of addiction can create such debasement, despondency and despair because of the power and intensity of the addictive substance/behavior.
Stealing, prostitution, drugs, loss of job, marriage, and finances are common with both of these addictions. You may have heard horror stories of individuals with either of these addictions. These stories are all too common.
As you can see, it is very easy to compare slot machine addiction to crack cocaine addiction. The common characteristics of both addictions is quite impressive.
Why is Slot Machine Addiction Considered The MOST Addictive Form of Gambling?
This question is related to the above two areas that I have covered, except for a few other concepts which I believe are worth noting:
o Slot machines are designed by psychologists and other specialists who are specifically instructed to design slot machines to seduce and addict people.
o The new video mulit-line electronic slot machines have graphics and colors that are very compelling and stimulating to the eye.
o The music in video slot machines is very stimulating, repetitive, seductive , and truly reinforcing. There is strong subliminal suggestion in this.
o The bonus rounds in video slot machines can encourage continued play, even amidst great losses, since bonus rounds are very exciting and provide a rush.
o The speed of play, and the speed of modern slot machines keeps your adrenaline pumping, especially with all of the above factors.
o The jackpots in slot machines can be huge, however, the chances of winning these jackpots are equivalent to winning the powerball lottery, if not more improbable.
o Slot machines can be a place to “zone out”. Today’s slot machines can put you into a hypnotizing trance that is hard to break out of.
o Slot machines require little or no skill, making it easy to just sit there and push the buttons, without a thought, forethought, or contemplation.
o It is very easy to keep playing slot machines because all accept dollar bills, and give players coupons upon ending play. Money loses its’ value and becomes “monopoly” money.
o ATM Machines are usually in close proximity to the slot machines, again, encouraging continued play.
o Many slot machines use denominations of 1 cent to 5 cents. This fools the gambler into thinking that they are not spending much. What is not being said, however, is that the maximum bet can be as high as $15 to $20 per spin. Is this really a penny or nickel machine?