Why is Slot Machine Gambling Considered "The Crack Cocaine" of Gambling Addiction?

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?

To Stop Gambling Problems, NLP is An Effective and Easy to Use Treatment

One of the more effective treatments to stop gambling is the NLP stop technique. NLP is neuro linguistic programming. Simply stated, when anything becomes a habitual behavior, it builds neural pathways in the brain. The brain becomes “wired” to perform that particular behavior. Every time the behavior is repeated, the programming goes deeper and becomes more entrenched.

Sometimes this pattern of wiring the brain is useful. For instance, when any new skill, like playing the piano, is learned, we read music and move our hands through conscious effort, but after repetition, when the brain becomes wired and the neural pathways are formed, we automatically move our hand to the proper keys when they eye detects the notes on the page. Another skill that becomes a habit and is stored in the subconscious is driving a car. At first, the student driver must try to remember everything but after a while it becomes automatic and the driver may drive down the road and think about things other than driving, even talking on the phone, while safely driving.

The key, of course is that these skills and habits re stored in the subconscious mind, also called the unconscious because we seem to do many things, unconsciously, without thinking about them.

Neuro linguistic programming means training the brain using words to form new neural pathways. One NLP technique is the stopping technique. A skilled hypnotherapist guides the client to a relaxed and accessible frame of mind and then has the client picture him or herself starting to do the unwanted behavior, in this case, gambling. Just as the client forms a picture of gambling and the neural pathways for gambling are stimulated, the therapist says “stop!” and the client lets the scene fade from his or her mind. As this is repeated, over and over, the neural pathways are rewired and the urge to gamble begins to fade away.

The neural pathway isn’t gone, it is simply rewired and the problem gambler has developed a new habit, non-gambling. Of course, the gambling problems never really go away completely so it is a good idea to continue with a good 12 step group of some other form of support.

Specially trained therapists can use the NLP stop technique and in several sessions get the problem gambler on his or her way to recovery. Another alternative is MP3 files that can be downloaded from the internet or even listened to online.

The key to successfully using these relaxing guided meditations is repetition and a positive attitude. Because they are so simple to use many people are now using them on a daily basis. You never know, that person sitting on the plane beside you with the headphones attached to the little MP3 player may be treating him or herself for a gambling problems or some other unwanted behavior. It is that simple and widely used.

Making Money Using Gambling Systems to Supplement Your Income – The Truth

To many people, the life of the professional gambler seems glamorous and inviting. But as in most cases in life, gambling, like any profession that offers the possibility of high rewards, is difficult and demanding. The truth is that most people who manage to make any profit from gambling over the long haul, work very hard, and have to sacrifice to earn the money.

When I say earn, I mean just that. I don’t mean to discourage you if you have your heart set on being a professional gambler, but knowing what you are getting into before you begin is one of the best ways to make sure you will succeed. You can make money from gambling systems if you have enough money to fund your bets and support you while you learn the game and adapt the system to suit your own talents and style, but being under funded is the number one reason that many gamblers fail. Gambling, even if you are very skilled, still involves risk and therefore losing streaks. It takes money and discipline to survive the lean times.

Surviving the losing streaks financially and emotionally is the mark of a true professional. One thing that professionals use to keep their sanity and not go on tilt permanently is statistics. I know you think that statistics are used by many gambling systems to beat the games, but they are also used to reassure the players that the tide will eventually turn in their favor. That is the strength of a system, whether it is a poker, blackjack, roulette, horse racing, dog racing, craps or any other system.

That is the good news about using a systematic method to beat any game. The not so good news is that no one is going to sell you a way to make a killing at any game right out of the box. You will have to take the information they give you, adapt it to your own talents and style, and then work very hard and endure the ups and downs of the gambler’s life.

When I say adapt the system, I mean that a good gambling system will teach you certain statistics, or situations to look for in any game. For instance, a poker system might teach you how to figure pot odds and play position, while a horse racing system might teach you how to spot an overlay or a false favorite. The most important lesson you can learn from any gambling system is how to spot a good bet. But any of these lessons will do you no good unless you have the personality to take advantage of them.

For instance, if you are a person with a limited attention span who needs fast action and stimulation to remain focused, grinding out a living sitting for hours counting cards at a blackjack table won’t work for you. On the other hand, a system that teaches you to scan the toteboard at the race track and to spot an overlay and then to bet and see the result of the bet in two minutes, may be better suited to your personality type.

Finding the right system to match your personality is the most important part of gambling success after understanding what you are up against, of course. The next most important step is taking the time to learn how to gamble successfully while making small bets. To learn any other trade, you have to go to school or learn on the job. The same is true of gambling. So research the games and systems to find what is best suited to you and then prepare by practicing and slowly increasing bets as you learn the game. That is the best approach to success in any endeavor.

How to Profit From Sports Gambling

The goal for sports punters is to earn a profit whilst enjoying our favourite sport. The sad truth is that for the majority of gamblers, this is an elusive dream. However by developing and carefully following a stratagem anyone can make this dream a reality.

There are two factors to consider to profit from sports gambling:

  • Bet Selection
  • Staking Plan

Bet Selection

The first, Bet Selection, is obvious – we need to back winners at least some of the time. Let’s consider Horse Racing, anecdotally there are many professional punters who earn a comfortable living from picking horses, but the key word here is professional. Research and analysis of each horse in the 59 racecourses across the UK takes a sizeable amount of time and experience. If you want to be successful then it’s a full time job! For the majority of us this means we have to use the advice of experts to do some of the legwork for us.

Horse Racing Tipsters

UK horse racing has no end of self-proclaimed “experts” on the Internet charging up to £100 per month. When selecting a horse racing tipster the most important factor we need to consider is long term results.

The Internet is awash with tipsters who have had one good month but then go on to post a loss for the next six – but you will only see this one month on their home page! Never follow any tips without first checking the tipster’s full result history. Choose a tipster who publishes all their horse racing tips history, ideally where the results of the tips are published the next day along with a complete history of all their tips.

Take a look at a Tipster Proofing site such as Racing-Index who grades the results for a number of tipsters. Consider which tipster gives you gave for money and fits with your own betting profile – can you actually place the 100s of tips each month some tipsters require?

Following tipsters alone is not likely to earn us riches – the best tipsters are locked out for new members or charge such high rates that any profits are lost immediately. The solution is to develop our own system using tips from expert sources combined with our own research. This is the strategy successfully used in greyhound racing by followers of the site. As with most things; the more you put into your system the more you will get out.

Staking Plan

Once we have a betting strategy in place it is time to look at a staking plan. The simplest is Fixed or Level Stakes where we simply bet the same amount, for instance 2% of our initial betting bank, each time on our selected horse, however we would want to increase our wagers as our betting bank grows. This leads to Percentage Staking where a percentage of the current betting bank is wagered each time. This means as we win our stakes are larger and conversely the stakes shrink when the betting bank decreases.

However, intuitively we know these staking plans to be overly naive as we would be putting the same amount of money on a horse with low odds compared to a horse with high odds. As we are looking to maximise our profits we should be putting a larger stake on a low odds bet as the return will be less.

To find the optimal staking plan we could take a correspondence course in statistics and dedicate several years into research. Fortunately we live in age where this research is at our fingertips. From probability theory we have the Kelly Strategy where the optimal percentage of our betting bank is calculated from the odds of the bet and our own estimate of the probability of the horse winning.

Using an online Kelly Strategy Calculator just feed in the values to get the percentage of the betting bank to put on each horse. Now the Kelly Strategy can give us some scary percentage stakes if we have an initial run of high odds horses so we could adapt it to a Half Kelly Staking Plan where we wager half the percentage advised by the Kelly Strategy. This would result in a slower accumulation of gambling profits but a less hair-raising ride.

The most important sports gambling advice to heed is only bet with funds you can afford to lose. Always gamble responsibly – if you feel you need help and advice with problem gambling visit http://www.gambleaware.co.uk.