MIT Professor nails Slots Addiction

slot-machine-playersThe average person who plays casino games has very little trouble avoiding addiction. As Wikipedia cites, only 2.3% of North American gamblers are classified as having a gambling problem. Even still, there are addictive elements of gaming that can drain your bankroll quicker. Slots specifically have certain aspects that keep players spinning the reels longer than they may realize. And Natasha Schüll, an MIT professor and author of “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas,” recently gave the scoop on what keeps players glued to slots.

No Interruptions

So is it trying to win back losses that keeps certain people playing so long? A psychological disorder that makes players want to risk more and live on the edge? As Schüll explained to Radio Boston, slots addiction has more to do with how few interruptions the average player will experience:

“If you want to boil it down to three simple reasons, it’s that these machines are continuous, you don’t have to interrupt, you don’t even, these days, have to put another coin in because it’s all credit gambling…They’re also rapid. You can play 1,200 hands, or spins, an hour so there’s hardly any time to really pause and reflect on what you’re doing…With poker you’ve got to wait for other people to take their turn, wait for the cards to come around, or even [with] horse races, you’ve got to wait for the horses to finish. Not so on a gambling machine.”

Winning sometimes means Disappointment

Another interesting tidbit that Schüll revealed was how some players don’t really like winning because it gets them out of their zone. Yeah, this sounds crazy, but not so much in her words:

“Slot machines appeal to a totally different kind of gambler who’s seeking a different experience, which is not one of expectation and thrill and suspense but actually relaxation and rhythm and, [from] what I hear from gamblers, the term is ‘zoning out.’ So, they’re actually after the flow of it, not necessarily the win. Some of them will actually become disappointed when they win a jackpot because the machine will freeze up for a while and you’ve got to learn to listen to the little songs, maybe people will come over to you, congratulate you, suddenly you’re back in the world where you don’t want to be.”

So what can we take from all of this? Well, one thing is to slow down a little bit and take breaks when playing slots. This gets you out of the zombie-like mode where you’re spinning the reels without consciousness. And as always, you want to set a slots bankroll limit and stick to this amount when you’re playing. This way, you’ll never lose more than you can comfortably afford.