Sunday 27 October 2019

Do Slot Machines use Psychology to Get You Addicted?

A quick answer: You bet they do!

There has been lots of media coverage about the addictive nature of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. Basically, an FOBT is a betting machine where you can choose a myriad of games to play and bet. 

Whether you play roulette, slot machines or whatever games they display they have become a problem. 

I can't say I have ever bet on one of these machines in the bookies. I'm not keen on bookmakers as I find them depressing places where most people lose money. The FOBT terminals have been in the news because many punters were becoming addicted to playing them which had devastating effects on their finances and family life. Such was the uproar that the government restricted the amount gamblers could bet. I think it was at a level of £100 a spin. Not that I can see the difference between these betting machines than going to a brick-and-mortar casino. I honestly think it was a public relations episode to take the heat off the gambling problem that seems to cut across the country if not the world. 

I did play on the virtual slot machine via Betfair, one evening when I was a bit bored. I actually won a few quid. But it made me think how these games use psychology to keep you playing (and losing). The main psychological fact which they use is making a real song and dance when you get a small win. Also, it is nearly impossible from looking at the symbols on the reels that it is very difficult to work out whether you have won on any spin. In fact, I was left thinking I had won almost every go. This clearly is made to make gamblers carry on betting. I always, remember reading, in the good old day that slot machines are the most addictive form of gambling and that was decades ago. I would hate to imagine what they are like now. With the advancement of psychology as a tool to manipulate there is little doubt that most people can easily succumb to this gambling problem. 

After winning on the first hour or so of play I was tempted to have another go. Well, betting at small stakes, I soon realised I wasn't going to be winning £100K as the adverts like to proclaim. The small wins kept coming. I loved that jingle and the sound of virtual money dropping at will. However, the small wins didn't outweigh the bigger losses and after a while, I realised I had lost all the money I had won. 

What I found was that it is very difficult to stop pressing that play button. I felt like one of those pigeons in a psychological experiment where I pecked a disc when I saw a different colour and for my action received some corn. The trouble with playing the slots is that even a pigeon would stop sooner than most men or women! Yes, that is a joke. However, the psychology behind the slot machine is now so advanced that they are extremely addictive to a point that logic or common sense goes by the way. 

I would say never bet on these slot machines because they are truly bad news.