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Slot Machines: The Big Gamble

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It wasn't that long ago if you wanted to gamble you had to travel a long way today to shot craps or play slots. All you have to do is in your car, there's probably a casino state or right next door There are casinos now in 38 states, which use the revenue from gambling to help solve their blotted budget deficient. The main attraction at these casinos is now the new slot machines There are close to 850,000 of them in the United States, twice the number of ATM's, We Americans spend more money on slots then on movies, baseball and themed parks combined. But with the modern slot machines there's a greater potential for a dangerous side effect, gambling addiction. As more people are addicted to slots then any other form of gambling. This story will continue in a momment This is what slot machines used to look like where you pull a handle and hope for 3 of a kind This is what they look like today The modern slot are like high tech video games, that play music and scenes from TV shows. You can play hundreds of lines at once and instead of pulling a handle, you bet by pushing buttons Which means each bet can be completed in as little as 3.5 seconds It looks like great fun, but it can be dangerously addictive. Whether or not its there intention the gambling industry is designing machines that can addict people. MIT Anthropology professor Natasha Shull has studied gambling addiction for over 15 years. Shes interviewed gamblers, casino owners, and slot machines designers. Interviewer: Do you think that most people would even think that a machine could addict you, that a machine can do the same thing a drug could? Natasha: What addiction really has to do is with the speed of rewards and these machines if there packing 1200 hands per hour into play, your being exposed, you could see that as being exposed to higher dose. Interviewer: A higher dose says Shull because all that speed means more bets, and that means more excitement and no machine is better for that then the penny slot. the most popular game on the casino floor. Because the bets are small you can place hundreds of them at a time. Natasha: Another core aspect of there addictive-ness is their continuous nature Your not interupted by anything, your not waiting for the horses to run, your not wating for the guy next to you to choose his card to put down, there's no roulette wheel spinning Its just you and the machine, its a continuous flow without interruption. Gambler: I found that the machines were wonderful, I loved the excitement I love the people, the comradely, the high 5s when you win, it was just very exciting Interviewer: Sandy Hall, lives only a short drive from thousands of slot machines in Rhode Island and Connecticut Married with two daughters, she worked in a book store and used to look at the casinos as an entertaining break, but eventually she was playing slots so much she burned through her retirement funds. Sandy: My every thought and every being if i wasnt at the casino, i was figuring out how i was going to get there where was I going to get the money? Interviewer: You know, you sound like a heroin addict. Sandy: It takes your soul, it takes your humanity, you drive home pounding the steering wheel promising yourself your never going to go again, your never going to do it again and you know that your going down, and your going down and your going down I became from a nice person, I became manipulative, deceitful, lying person lies dismanufactored themselves, you didnt have to think about it. Marlyn Lancealot another slot addict, ended up in embezzling a quarter million dollars from her employer in Phoenix Arizona. My Daughters lived within, 2 houses away, they did not know i was stealing money or gambling until one day 7 police cars drove into my yard and took me away in handcuffs. thats how they found out. handcuffs???? This is gambling for gambling sack and the aim is not to win a jackpot Shes not talking about most people that go to casinos, shes only talking about addicted gamblers Are you saying that they'd rather stay in the game then win the money? Not only am i saying that, but i found instances where gamblers who won a jackpot, then became irritated because it stopped the flow of play. Researchers at the University of Waterlou in Canada, measured how players respond psychologically while they gamble, and showed that the new machines can make them think there winning even when there not. The gambler almost always gets some money back, if he puts in a dollar, he might get back 50 cents, but the sounds and flickering lights trick his brain into thinking he came out ahead. the constant feeling of winning creates so much pleasure says Natasha Shull that regular players can slip into a trans like state, a place she calls the zone. One gambler told me when hes in the zone he couldnt remember his children's name. You go into that trans, that zone, that box, no body can touch you you have escaped from reality, no one can ask you for anything When you sat in front of those machines, did you get into the zone, you have a buzz? I was having a love affair with that machine, that was my love, if anybody came near it or touched it, back off, dont touch my machine, it was the same as a kiss from a love it was sweet. And yet not everyone is convinced the machines addict people. Listen to Howard Shaffer, the director of the Harvard medical school division on addiction, the man the gambling industry loves to quote. And your position is machines are not addictive, that machines inadament objects are not addictive Machines didnt make me do it, If slot machines caused addiction, then most people who played slot machines would develop addictions and its the opposite. but at one point, You said slot machines were the crack, cocaine of gambling. I did say that. And how does that square with what your telling me today? Not everyone that uses crack cocaine becomes addicted, Ya but no body is going to sit here and try to tell me crack cocaine isnt addictive. and if this is like crack cocaine, the conclusion is its addictive. I dont come to the same conclusion because majority of people who've used cocaine have not developed cocaine addiction, only a small minority have and the same would be true with gambling. the problem is that small minority that does get addicted is hit hard You are getting a little dose of gambling in your brain every 3 seconds its a gambling IV. and theres a drip, drip drip. Doctors Robert Brim and Henery Lasur are gambling addiction specialists at Rhode Island hospital They've treated 1300 slot addicts, who when they try to stop, look like heroin addicts in withdrawal. And there coming in literally, they have shakes, there physically having these responses and you tell yourself, they got to be on something and it turns out there withdrawing from the gambling Slots in particular. And yet state after state is turning to slots as an easy way to raise revenue and increase jobs. And no state has been more aggressive and more in gaming in the last few years then Pennsylvania, where where the opening of the sugar house in September made Philadelphia the largest US city to house a casino. So far there are 10 gambling halls in the state. with plans for 61 thousand slot machines. An 11th casino on the drawing broad would be close to the main entrance of the Gettysburg National Battlefield Governor Ed Rendell whos about to leave office, championed the casinos Look gambling is not anything we should say o, thank lord we have gambling, but it is decent way to raise revenue where the upsides thats produced is significantly better than any downside that comes from it. You said there were downsides to gaming, what are they? The biggest downside is that some people loose their paychecks but understand Lessly there not loosing their paychecks because Pennsylvania instituted gaming, those people who are paychecks in Atlantic city in Delaware, at the race tracks If there going to loose it anyway, lets get the upside. We were getting all the downside and none of the upside. The upside he says is the 1 billion dollars the state got in gambling revenue last year which was used to provide a $200 a home property tax reduction, plus more relief for senior citizens. People have been gambling since organized society was formed on the banks of the Tigras and the Euphrates, they were gambling, and they will gamble as long there is life on this planet. And thats a fact. No one is saying people cant gamble, This is about government using gambling to pray on human weakness for profit. Les Branalize head of the national organization Stop Predatory Gambling He and Massachusetts State Senator Sue Takur, have been fighting a move to bring casinos and slot parlors to the base state. Were in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the daily voice of government to most Americans, Were gona push Casinos and push lottery tickets Well but you have a situation where states are desperate, they are way over budget they have to find revenue somewhere, they know people will gamble. as a revenue raiser it defies every principle, its regressive, in other words it takes far more out of lower income peoples pockets then higher income it is cannibalistic, in other words it eats other forms of revenue When you have your citizens dumping 2 billion down the slots there not buying a new car and you loose that tax You brought these casinos to the state, do you ever just say to yourself o my god there alot of people who are suffering and there taking whatever money they have and there throwing it away in these casinos, and do you ever say o what have I done You dont listen, Anyone who has that bent would be doing it in other places had Pennsylvania had not legalized gambling The counter argument is your creating new gamblers, and lots of them. And lots of them Were not creating new gamblers. Because its down the street, Just logically Those people play the lottery they bet on football, How much money is bet on the SuperBowl? people are loosing money for the state to get its revenue. Their loosing money. Let me answer this, I've know you for 2-3 decades, your a very smart person, but not now...... but your not getting it. Those people would loose that money anyway Dont you understand? Are pressing him on this point lead to this... (Gov) You guys dont get that!!!! Interviewer: I Do get it Gov: Your simpletons, your Idiots if you dont get that. We couldnt figure out why all the emotion, but his main point was that gambling is good entertainment and people should be allowed to make their own decisions about it But since the first casino opened in Pennsylvania 5 years ago calls to gambling addiction hotlines in the state have tripled Sandy Hall says her problems didnt start till 3 casinos opened near her. I can not read my local newspaper without having full page ads of upcoming events and slot play, and free this, free that, the exposure phenomenal because of the proximity of 3 casinos if you were within 25% of Massachusetts residents went out of state to gamble Thats alot of people 75% didnt, thats the group the industry wants... they want the 75% that can get on the T and go to a nearby casino and get in trouble with gambling, thats the play book. goto 60minutesovertime.com for are story on what your odds are of winning at the casino Sponsors by liptor

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 9 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 71
Posted by: atrctech on Oct 27, 2011

Gambling video

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