A slot machine addict needs the hits as much as he/she needs air to breath. Just when we thought that alcohol, cigarettes and crack cocaine presented the worst form of addiction, casino slot machines were silently creeping in and quite surprisingly, not as widely discussed as its counterparts.
First things first, there is a difference between gaming and gambling. When you imagine you are onto a pass time but day by day your relationships, finances, time and life become more at risk, it’s a cinch you are gambling and are on the pathway to addiction and ultimately, compulsive gambling and problem gambling become inevitable diseases. To get to the root of the solution, what do we know about slot machines?
Some quick facts to bear in mind:
- Casinos mint much more revenue from slots than all other games. An extract from Nevada Gaming Control Board Gaming Revenue Report indicates an estimated 7 billion dollars revenue from slots alone compared with $4 billion from table wins and a further $ 19 million from sports over a 12-month period. Clearly, there is no question about slot machine revenue.
- Slot machine addiction is never about wins. More wins mean even stronger desire to keep at it which if care is not taken entices you invest all you have won and much more.
- In slot machine gambling, you don’t plan for addiction, a single win is enough to get you hooked.
- Casino gambling is now legal in more than 40 states in the United States.
Signs you have officially crossed over from gaming to addiction, When:
- Every time you decide to stop gambling, you find yourself stopping on your track right before the exit and going back to have one more take which eventually translates to hours on end.
- Your world comes to a standstill and everything else including work gets delayed just so that you can accord ‘well deserved’ honor to the slot.
- As trivial as it might sound; the thought of adult diapers crosses your mind as solution to postpone washroom visits
- Your gambling session wins and spends become your top secret
- You have to trade your finances to a point of theft to sustain gambling
- You actually think you are addicted
Sometimes, addiction goes beyond all these.
The National Council for Gambling has estimated that in every 5 gambling addicts, one goes as far as attempting suicide, and this is by far the highest statistics in any addiction.
Is it Possible to Tame the Addiction?
The science behind gambling lies within what takes place in the brain. As excitement approaches its peak when an individual is in the slot, the brain releases chemicals associated with excitement and pleasure, like oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine. These are in fact the drive behind the urge to gamble. If you are not already at it, here is how to keep off gambling
Research Resources like the award-winning book “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas” by MIT Anthropologist Natasha Dow Schull will help you understand addictive gambling behaviour. In addition, take your time to access resources from the National Council on Problem Gambling and National Center for Responsible Gaming.
- Learn from other people’s experiences not your own. You do not have to be an addict to join gamblers anonymous or gambling addict’s forums. Sometimes the information you get from other people’s experience is the only deterrence you need to play responsibly or keep off completely.
- Have a maximum budget for slot wins: Supposing you walk into a casino and with the $ 10 in your pocket decide to have a go at the triple stars, three-reel game. You spin and win. What next? Your mind gets captured and you dig deeper into your pockets for another spin. The last thing you know is that as these small wins increase, your mind’s adrenaline starts rushing. The next reasonable thing is that you will have created a desire in you to keep winning and alas, you’re hooked! Other games like blackjack on a slot machine give you up to 60 spins a minute increasing your chances of winning 1000 times. Rather than wish you never even set your eyes on a slot, would it be much better if you had walked off after the first win? This may only be possible with some background knowledge of the effects of machine slot wins.
- Casino ATMs Are A No-No: Casinos are gifted at labeling their slots some charming names like King Midas, wizard of Oz and Rich Devil. As if this is not enough, some will have ATMs within site for easy access to betting funds. The latest technology has these functions inbuilt in their slot machines. Addiction definitely gets you to exceed your limits and the sight of ATMs should be your red lights. Flee from ATM vulnerability before it’s too late.
- Keep to the Crowd This may not be a lasting solution but since we all know that slot games are designed for loners, you may want to stick around your peers. The idea is to minimize your spend to less addictive games like roundtable and sports games. Only, take care that you do not get hooked to these two.
Deal with the Environmental Factors Surrounding Gambling: Slot machine gambling is defined a great deal by environmental factors like depression or hanging around gamblers. Therefore, more often than not addiction is not really the problem, rather the causative factors. Again, some people are more vulnerable than others. All the same, as Reza Habib Professor of Psychology at Southern Illinois University, advises, addiction is better-taken care of at the risk factors-stage.