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The Psychology Of Slot Machines

Slot_machine psychAnyone interested in the psychology of gambling will be aware of the notorious tricks which bricks and mortar casino are said to play on unsuspecting customers. The idea is to keep them playing (and losing) and there’s a long list of methods ‘insiders’ have revealed to do this which include bright lighting and no clocks or windows to hide the true time of day, free drinks and clever casino layouts. Interestingly others will claim that lights are dimmed in casinos where there are predominantly slots to focus the gaze on the bright screens.

Online it’s a little different though – how do those websites keep players coming back for more and, for the purposes of this article, how do they try to make sure that players will spin the reels one more time.

Sound is one way to keep players interested and this is especially true with newer machines. We all like a measure of familiarity and hearing an original TV theme or the sound effects from a movie can make us more inclined to continue. Sound effects that build up the excitement are also applicable here – they create an atmosphere which makes the player feel that something big is about to happen.

The way to combat that sound is of course to turn it off by clicking that mute button in the corner – this is not a problem for those of us old enough to remember the grating electronic ‘music’ from early online slots.

Increasingly complex bonus games and other features do their bit by tempting us to complete certain puzzles and level up; some will even save our progress on certain features so that we are persuaded to return to the same game.

There is also a belief that some games are programmed so that it appears that a big win is just around the corner. A number of spins in a row might nearly win a big prize, persuading the player that a few more spins might just pay off. This tends to apply more to bricks and mortar machines and there’s no real suggestion that online slots are designed in the same way.

Conjecture about these methods will always exist, whether they are in fact used or not but the lesson here is that as long as playing slots is fun for you, go for it. Don’t bankrupt yourself trying to find a surefire win – it won’t happen – just play within your own budgetary limits and treat it as entertainment.