I know someone who has a slot machine addiction. How can I help them?

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Answered by: Phillip J., An Expert in the About Problem Gambling Category
Slot machine addiction is a form of problem gambling that has many causes. People with severe addiction to slot machines may end up in situations that take tolls on their health, family, and lives. Many slot addicts end up stealing money from work to support their habit. Others turn to crime, robbing stores, mugging people, and sometimes committing murder to get money to gamble. Unfortunately, when things get out of hand, some slot addicts end up committing suicide and even taking loved ones with them due to depression and suffering. Slot machine problem gambling can be a very debilitating disease that can end up hurting more than just the addict themselves.



If you or someone you know has a slot machine problem gambling issue, there are many ways to get help. Most casinos and slot facilities have self-exclusion programs that prevent the person on the program from entering the gaming site. If they do get through, anything they win on a slot machine is forfeited to the facility. Further trespassing action, and even criminal charges in some jurisdictions, help deter addicts from going to the facility.

Most gaming jurisdictions also provide access to problem gambling counselling services through onsite agencies, phone numbers, and web sites. Gamblers Anonymous is an excellent organization that uses the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program in helping gambling addicts confront and control their addiction.



Gaming staff are also trained in noticing the red flags of slot machine addiction and addressing patrons before gambling issues escalate any further.

One of the most severe causes of slot machine problem gambling is the belief in the myths and misconceptions about slot machines that are so prevalent in books, on television, and in the movies. One of the best ways to deal with slot addiction is to understand how slot machines are designed and actually work. Manufacturers design and sell slot machines to casinos and gaming facilities with the number one priority of creating a theme that will attract players and keep them playing on the machine for a long time.

One way they do this is to do market research on what colours, sounds, music, graphics, and other features are attractive to a specific demographic of players. Other marketing ploys in use include progressive jackpots (the more money players spend on spins, the higher the progressive jackpot amount increases), multiple lines (which essentially get the patron to play multiple games per spin, which does not increase the odds of winning, instead of multiple single-game spins), and multiplier wins (in which 1 coin may win 100 credits, 2 coins wins 200 credits, but 3 coins wins 1000 credits).

Slot addicts also believe that playing machines with higher payback percentages will let them win more money. However, payback percentages are accounting figures used by operators and regulators to determine the theoretical profitability of a slot machine over a minimum of ten million spins. For a player, percentage is an irrelevant figure.

Another myth addicts believe is that jackpots are controlled by the operator who determine what time of day, what location, what patron, what machine, is going to win a jackpot. The truth is that the gaming industry is a highly regulated industry and all slot machine outcomes must be totally random. A Random Number Generator on the machine's computer board is the only thing that determines a slot machine's outcome, and the RNG generates thousands of outcomes per second, so there is no way to make a machine pay out a certain outcome.

Nobody can control when or where a slot machine jackpot will occur under any circumstances. The only outside force that determines whether a player will win or not will on a slot machine is whether or not they have the luck of the proverbial horseshoe.

Slot machines are to be played for fun only and not in any way to actually make money. Unfortunately, many slot addicts end up chasing the money they spend and dig themselves deeper into the hole. Responsible Gaming programs, counselling, and an understanding of how slot machines actually work can help someone with a slot machine gambling problem confront, admit, and deal with their problem.

If you or someone you know is addicted to slot machines, take the next step and seek out help and information. Help is always there but that first step needs to be taken.

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