Ever since the construction of El Rancho in Nevada some 80 years ago, casino gaming has been a popular pastime for responsible adults in the US. Even back in the early 40s, the biggest attraction of the casino was the slots. El Rancho had four table games and 70 slot machines – a ratio that has remained par for the course in US casinos to this very day.
80 years on, real money slots are more accessible than ever thanks to the dozens of US online casinos and real money mobile casino apps. In fact, a whole industry has grown up around simply helping US casino gamers to choose the best slots apps to play for real money. It’s important to stress that there’s nothing wrong with this in itself. Humans have been playing games of chance since the earliest civilizations, and today’s online casino sector is an industry that brings entertainment to millions and generates vital revenue for the US economy.
The problematic minority
There is always a “but,” however. Like fast cars, intoxicating liquor or sharp knives, real money slot games can be dangerous in irresponsible hands. Problem gambling is a phrase that is commonly discussed, but that manifests in different ways.
When it comes to slot games, there are some highly specific destructive behaviours that are common among that minority of players for whom gambling becomes a problem.
The potentially scary thing about casino slots compared with, say, blackjack or roulette, is that a game can swallow up $20, $50, or even $100 in next to no time. You can easily play 600 spins per hour, and with an average wager of $2 per spin, a bad run can make a modest bankroll evaporate like a puddle in the desert.
Players should always spin the reels by pressing the button. Autospin is one casino innovation that does players no favours at all. More broadly, though, players need to train themselves to take things slow.
Pull up a stool, feed in a banknote, press the spin button and as the reels do their dance and the music plays, you might find your eyes getting heavy. It seems bizarre among the noise and flashing lights, but people often doze off while playing slots or at least find themselves drifting into a trance-like state.
It’s so common that it has been labelled “slot zombie syndrome.” Casino games are supposed to be fun, but there’s no pleasure to be had from sitting in a daze depleting your bankroll. Frequent breaks and regular non-alcoholic drinks and snacks help keep the symptoms at bay.
We are always seeing patterns where none exist. It’s part of the human condition, but it is particularly common with casino players. Wearing lucky socks or keeping a photograph of a loved one to hand while playing the slots is mostly harmless.
However, slots are based on a random number generator and are programmed to pay out a given return that works out at about 96% over time. Superstition can blind players to mathematical facts, and that is when it becomes destructive.
Alicia Saxon did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.