Critical Testimony about the Addictive Nature of Slot Machines Shared During Florida Gambling Workshops

Casino Watch Focus has reported that The Florida Senate Gambling Committee is holding gambling workshops with the intent to gather the local community to share their thoughts on gambling commission.  Mark Andrews of Florida Casino watch provided critical testimony on the intended effects of slot machines and how they have been designed to make losers of their users:

October 30, 2013

Sen Richter and Committee.  Thank you letting me speak.  My name is Mark Andrews and I’d like to introduce you to Natasha Schull through her book “Addiction By Design”.

After 15 years of research on slot machines, this MIT professor carefully articulates the startling truth about the intent of these machines—and the title says it all, Addiction By Design.  Keep the gambler playing all the way to extinction!

Yes, they exist in this country in droves, raking in fortunes, mostly from people who really can’t afford to lose.  And here in FL we find every form of gambling venue with their hand out for slot machines from you.

Slots of yesteryear were mechanical contraptions involving pull handles and spinning reels.  Today’s machines are complex devices assembled on a digital platform involving up to 300 designers, including script writers, graphic artists, marketers, mathematicians, and all manner of computer science engineers.  The marriage of clever, beautiful, programming and 21st century computer graphics produces psychological impulses in the gambler’s mind that keep him playing, playing, playing—even to the point of extinction.  And all sold to us as harmless entertainment.

In the old days you put in your coin, pulled the handle and saw the result—win or lose.  But today the gambler is fed mental images that for example make him think he almost won.  Mind bending imagery is at work to encourage more and more play.

And the final result:  Big losses, chasing your losses, and finally Addiction.  Howard Shaffer of Harvard Medical School was the first to call modern day slot machines the “crack cocaine” of gambling addiction.

So, let’s connect the dots.  Slot machines are dangerous devices, illegal in Florida and you are being asked to approve them for various locations.  And then Tallahassee will get a cut of the profits.  But for the deal to work out, citizens will of necessity, have to become losers.  High success in this venture will be accompanied by high losses by citizens!  Is that the way we want to run government?  I don’t think so.  It is not worthy of our state to fix its financial problems by enticing its citizens to increase their personal financial risks.  It would be morally wrong to approve more slot machines in Florida.

Please read Natasha Schull’s book, Addiction By Design.

Mark Andrews

Florida Casino Watch

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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