I’m Losing Money. So Why Do I Feel So Good?

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Here’s something to read as video gambling machines proliferate in Illinois:

STEP into a casino and chances are good that slot machines are filling much of the space, as far as the eye can see. That dominant presence reflects the preference of many customers for machine gambling over human-mediated table games. Not surprisingly, electronic game machines contribute a clear majority of casino revenue in the states that permit them.

What may not be so evident is how a shift in casino gambling to screen-based games contributes to gambling addiction. It’s a story that would fill a book — and just such a book has arrived: “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas” by Natasha Dow Schüll, an associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. The book offers a history of digital technology in casino gambling and shows how it grabs hold of players in ways never before available to equipment makers.

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