Slot Machine Addiction

Addiction to Slot Machines

Slot machines are a fun and exciting way of spending time in a casino. The lights, graphics, and sounds all heighten the enjoyment players get out of pulling the lever (or in today’s case, pressing the button). Many people travel to a casino every week to drop their money in a slot machine in the hopes of winning a big payout. The games, even though they are part of a booming industry, should be for entertainment but for many players, slots can become a serious addiction. It is no longer just fun. Playing slot machines becomes an over-powering need to keep playing, no matter how much you win or lose. And with an addiction to slot machines, over time, the player will lose big.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction, which also known as compulsive gambling, is a form of impulse-control disorder. Gambling addicts, which includes slot machine addicts, can’t control their impulse to gamble, despite knowing that they are hurting themselves and their loved ones with this problem. It is as serious as an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Compulsive gamblers will continue to gamble whether they are winning or losing, and will generally continue to do so after they are completely and utterly broke. Even when the odds are against them, they will continue to bet. All a gambling addict can think about is gambling. The problem usually starts long before it becomes a serious disorder. Like any addiction, it slowly grows. The addiction will start to disrupt the gambler’s lifestyle until it takes up their whole focus. iF a gambler begins to spend less time with friends and family, and more time gambling, then this is a problem.

There are two types of compulsive gamblers; the action gambler and the escape gambler. Action gamblers are addicted to the thrill of the risk and the possibility of winning big. They usually gamble with a group of other people because part of the addiction is the ability to beat the house or other gamblers. These type of gamblers usually prefer games such as poker, blackjack, or craps. Escape gamblers do so to escape something in their personal life such as worries, pain, or emotional loss of some kind. Instead of gambling to feel the rush of excitement, escape gamblers gamble to numb themselves from the burdens of life. Escape gamblers prefer isolated games such as bongo, online games, and slots.

Video Slot Machine Addiction

Slot Machine AddictionStudies have shown that slot machine addiction is a serious problem within the gambling industry. In Canada, a survey done on casino revenues found that around 60% of slot revenues came from slot addicts.  Video slot machines are apparently responsible for roughly two-thirds of gambling addicts in the United States.  There are even some areas where slot machine addiction is even more outrageous.  In the state of South Dakota, video slot machines are credited with creating around 98% of the state’s gambling addicts.  There is a saying about slot machines in the gambling industry. It goes “hook one person, pay for the machine; hook two people, pay for the bar; hook more and it’s all gravy.” What an attitude to have. The problem stems from the fact that slot machines, either online or in a land-based casino, are the easiest and most user-friendly games to play. The average gambler doesn’t need to know any rules. You just sit down, put your money in the machine, the press the button. The slot machine will tell you if you win or not. How much easier can it be?

Signs of Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is sometimes called the "hidden illness" because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms like drug or alcohol addiction. Players with an addiction to slot machines will typically deny or minimize their problem. Slot machine addicts will also go to great lengths to hide their gambling. This includes lying, sneaking around, and avoiding friends and family. Some signs that a person may be suffering from slot machine addiction are:

  • Neglect work or family to gamble
  • Play slots in secret
  • Lie about how much you gamble
  • Feel compelled to try just one more spin
  • Feel remorse after gambling
  • Gamble until you’ve spent your last dollar
  • Gamble with money you need to pay bills
  • Steal, borrow, or sell things to get money for gambling
  • Dream of making a big win
  • Play slots to escape worries
  • Play slots in the hope of solving financial problems
  • New desire to control household finances
  • Unexplained loans or cash advances
  • Lack of money, despite the same income and expenses
  • Unusual increase in credit card activity
  • Asking friends and family for money
  • Missing jewelry, cash, or valuables
  • Dwindling savings or assets
  • Missing bank or credit card statements
  • Unexplained cash, especially when there are unpaid bills
  • Secrecy over finances

Treatment of Slot Machine Addiction

Years ago, someone with a gambling problem could just avoid the places where there were slot machines. They might have to rely on friends and family to help them do this. It was an easier solution because the only places with slot machines were casinos within certain states. Unfortunately, things are a lot harder now. There are more states within the U.S. that have casinos thanks to Indian reservations and there is also the immediate lure of the internet which can be accessed from just about anywhere in the world. Luckily, there are treatments for gambling addiction.

The first form of treatment for a gambling with a slot machine addiction is that they must admit they have a problem. No treatment is going to help a gambling addict who won’t help themselves. They must first recognize the problem in order to treat it.

Once a gambler has admitted their problem, the next step is to come clean with their family and friends (if those people are still unaware) and then seek help with an addiction specialist. Trying to overcome any form of addiction is never easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing someone could ever do. But recovery is possible if you seek help. One source of help is the National Council on Problem Gambling. They have a confidential hotline that a gambler can call: 1-800-522-4700.

There are other forms of therapy and recovery that a gambler addicted to slots and other games may try. There is cognitive therapy which focuses on changing a gamblers behavior patterns, unhealthy habits and beliefs. This form also teaches compulsive gamblers how to fight their gambling urges. Another form of therapy is Gamblers Anonymous. This organization is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous and uses group support to help gamblers recover from their addiction. There are usually groups anywhere there are casinos. A third form of therapy is medication. No, medication will not cure an addiction, but it will help a gambler who suffers from slot machine addiction to cope with related symptoms such as depression or other emotional disorders that fuel the addiction.

In short, slot machine addiction can be crippling and severely disrupt a person’s life but there is help and treatment for those who understand they have a problem.

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