The jingle is attractive, to say the least. Many gamblers feel that the jingle of the slot machines is the music of the casino. However, the flashing lights and the cheerful sounds may be the reason people lose money at the slots. Research indicates slot machine lights and sounds may make people think they are going to win big at any minute. The reality is they may be losing money.
Slot Machines—and Carnivals
Slot machines were invented in the late nineteenth century. At the time slot machines were created, many carnival and circuses wanted automatic machines to go into their midways. There were already automatic prize machines available. They were not popular because customers won small little cheap trinkets instead of prizes an adult would want. The first slot machine, the Liberty Bell, was invented in San Francisco. The first slot machine had three reels (or wheels) that had five possible symbols on them. Like all slot machines now, the winners were generated by random numbers. The first slot machine had a payout of twenty quarters on a nickel spin. Modern slot machines can have multi-million dollar payouts. Since the first slot machine was developed, they have been popular gaming machines, generating more money than any table game. Slot machines have had bright lights and music for over 100 years, which was intended to make the game more enjoyable.
The Research Findings
Researchers wanted to study how the slot machines worked to help people choose how much and how long to gamble. The researchers chose 100 adults of differing ages, races, and educational levels for the study. The researchers used real money images and also used slot machines that casinos might have.
The researchers found that the lights and sounds of gaming machines operated as an enticement for gambling. The research showed lights and casino jingles dilated the gamblers’ pupils. Despite the unfavorable odds displayed on the machine, they were more likely to think they were going to win. In fact, the players did not even notice the odds when music was playing, and the lights were flashing.
Researchers don’t have a definite answer. Players were more engaged when they won small jackpots paired with jingle music and flashing lights, regardless of the amount spent. The research suggests the combination of lights and music stimulates gamblers to believe they won whether they did or not. When the researchers took away the lights and sound effects, gamblers were more likely to make better gambling choices.
The university researchers noted the lights and the sounds make it very difficult for problem gamblers to quit. The study shows problem gamblers believe they are one spin away from a huge jackpot on the slot machines. Futuristically, researchers suggest it may be possible to stop lights and sounds once a certain amount of money is spent. Additionally, in the future, gamblers might be able to stop the lights and sounds themselves. They will be able set their own limits, which will stop lights and sounds once the pre-set spending limit is reached.
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