Why You Lost Your Money Playing Slot Machines
All those bells and whistles made you think you were winning: Study
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2013 8:52 AM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – There's a reason casinos sound the way do, with their endless barrage of dinging slot machines: It's all about taking your money. So say gambling researchers who looked into why slots are so brutally effective in extracting every last coin, reports Pacific Standard. Sorry, conspiracy theorists, the games aren't rigged. The reason is a lot simpler: The machines' sound effects take a cumulative effect on judgment, causing players to overestimate how many times they've won.

To prove it, researchers rounded up about 100 players, hooked up electrodes to their skin, and set them loose. Those playing on games without sound kept calmer and were significantly better at estimating their number of wins—up to 24% better. Consider, too, that most modern machines let players gamble on multiple lines: They might lose on all but one, but the joyous sounds of that lone victory washes away acknowledgment of a net loss. Losses seem like wins, which helps explain why players keep reaching for the lever, writes a researcher in the Journal of Gambling Studies. Meanwhile, Nevada is considering legalizing gambling—on federal elections.

Next on Newser: 7 Bizarre Celebrity Deaths
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Why You Lost Your Money Playing Slot Machines is...
7%
61%
9%
8%
5%
10%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 48 comments
Libris_Fidelis
Jul 12, 2013 2:20 PM CDT
WHAT A LIE THIS ARTICLE IS !!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT RIGGED ???????? WERE YOU BORN ON PLANET ZZYYXXZZYYZZ ????? When I lived in Lost Wages, I had a storage room at Tiburti Storage on Valley View. One of the casinos (I forget which) had a storage room there too, and one morning they cleaned out a lot of the dead storage they had, and I went over to the storage dumpster to see what they were throwing away. I retrieved a manual by the gambling commission that had a title something like "Slot Machine Odds In Las Vegas". In it were sections devoted to every casino in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas and Henderson plus all the county areas like Enterprise Township and Las Vegas Township (which is outside of Las Vegas City) and Intercourse Township etc. Electronic slot machines are set to "pay off" a certain number of times -- THEY ARE SET... and the average was to pay-off 7% of the time! Now, I knew a professional gambler who knew the lady (she was a lady in every respect, too) who was banned from almost every casino in Nevada, because she knew how to play slot machines by a completely-honest system she had devised that yielded a $70,000 annual income off of the slots. Here is what he told me... a) the old mechanical slot machines were easier to win because it was harder to rig their mechanisms b) PLAY SLOW... the electronic machines are programmed to prompt you to put more money (now they use plastic cards) into the till, so if you play slow it will prompt you with a slight payout c) NEVER pull the reset lever or push the reset button... it erases your recorded odds-ratio so you start over losing your prompt-"rewards" d) If you walk around looking for a "slot machine" that is being used a lot but is not paying-out and you are observed by the casino security personnel using their cameras that are all over the casino, YOU WILL BE ESCORTED OUT AND A PHOTO IDENTIFIER COMPUTER WILL SPOT YOU IF YOU RETURN! e) During the old "coin slot machine days" never go to play the electronic slots when they collect the money. The machines are PROGRAMMED to first fill the "kitty" box with your coins, THEN to fill the "profit" box with your coins which is the casinos' take, and then it fills the "prompting box". When all three weigh their proper weights, then coins are sorted by the weight of the coin boxes between the "take" box and the "kitty" box, and at that point a player has a chance of being either "prompted" or "paid". f) there is no such thing as "winning" at the slots... it is always an ALLOWED PAY-OUT... you do not WIN by playing! Former Lost Wages resident 2000-2003 and GLAD THAT I LEFT !!!!!
HMD-SMD-ITY
Jul 9, 2013 12:15 AM CDT
I went to a broadcasters meeting in the Indian casino that hosted it. I didn't have time to gamble but I walked around between breakout sessions looking for video poker. I usually take a lot of time evaluating video poker and finding the 9/6 machines that serve lower denominations. This casino had only 7/5 machines. So just to have fun I was going to play $5. I put in a $20 but did not realize I forgot to select the currency selector to 25 cents. It was set to $1. I pushed "deal." I was mad at myself until I saw the hand. It was three queens. I was a winner already with the 3Q. I kept them and it gave me one more. Holy smokes, I don't do that in Vegas. It awarded me $80. I cashed it out and went back to the meetings. I did not return so that more than covered my expenses to attend the meeting 200 miles from my home. For a trip to Vegas for NAB or CES, I'll spend almost a full day off scoping out the 9/6 reports. This year at NAB, my emphasis wound up on video poker at 7-11. I believe they were trying to get a name for themselves. Each time I went there, I came out ahead between $10 to $50. You have to understand that because of the documentaries I saw back in the late 90's, I never play beyond a good payout. I have to be honest though, my rip to NAB came out ahead about $300. But the trip to CES earlier I was down $200. So this year for Vegas is only $100 profit. That's chicken feed. But you have to understand when I budget the airfare, hotel room, and meals, that does not count against winnings or losings. You can't say when I win $300 that it cost me $800 to go out there. No, I was out there anyway, the gambling is on the side. The trend now is that most of the machines in the casinos are based on rules and schemes you cannot ever understand. It could be a barnyard game, wheel of fortune, brady bunch, the munsters, etc. You have no idea what a winning reel display is. You are just playing a game for idiots. When you do a 9/6 video poker, you are closer to gearing the game to a winning hand. On occasion, I'll do a few rounds of roulette. You can win a lot fast with the right selection. My friend only does the # range like a 12 group. I almost never go for the exact # thing because that's the lowest odds of winning. I prefer the half digital version where a lady rolls the pea but the players sit at consoles. My other deal is sports betting on the underdog. I just don't bet on the favorite because you put in $100 and you could win $10. No I want to put in $10 and win $100. So far, I'm not on the good of that by any means. A man who lives in Vegas bets everyday and he says you should not come out to the sports book and expect to clean up. Then again, he makes $2M a year doing it but when he wins, he makes $100,000. But when he looses, he looses $20,000.
Liberalismiscancer
Jul 8, 2013 8:18 PM CDT
The house always wins...........