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 bitcoin roulette 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.