Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Schüll
Slot machines have been around for decades. These interesting machines found in most brick and mortar casinos as well as in online casinos have attracted thousands of players. Unfortunately, a number of players have developed addiction which has cost their normal lives.
Natasha Schull is an associate professor at New York University (Department of Media, Culture, and Communication). She is also a world-renowned cultural anthropologist. She graduated from UC Berkley’s Department of Anthropology back in 1993 and received her Ph.D. in 2003. Natasha Schull is known as a thorough researcher. Her research has been presented in many national media venues like The New York Times, The Atlantic, WYNC, Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, The Economist, Las Vegas Sun, and The Washington Post.
Besides the articles, films, and courses created by her, Natasha Schull has also written a couple of books including Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. This book had a tremendous success in the last few years.
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Schull Review
It took a few months and extensive and intensive research for the author to create this book. It was released in 2012 and has 442 pages. It’s available in a paperback form and on Kindle too. It’s important to understand that this is not a classic book about gambling addiction. In this book, readers can view this issue and the general process of gambling from a few different perspectives. It’s a story about the connection and intersection of humans and technology.
For many experts, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Schull is a scientific criticism of the uncontrolled expansion of the gambling industry. There are many parts in this book that describe the interaction between the authorities and the casino giants. Of course, the book also includes information provided by former gambling addicts and current players.
After the typical acknowledgments and note on informant anonymity parts, the book starts with an introduction focused on mapping the machine zone. The book starts with a typical situation for people that have come to Las Vegas in order to have some fun and use slot machines and other casino games.
This book has four parts and each of them provides information that can help you build the puzzle. The first one is called Design. Readers will be attracted to read the book to the end with the real stories about addicted slot machine players that often end up in hospitals because they don’t want to leave the machine for a minute to eat or to take a shower. Some of them are experiencing health problems as a result of continuous excitement and stress. In this first part, the main focus is placed on the design of casinos and slot machines. So, you will find detailed information about the interior design like architecture, ambiance and affect seen through the eyes of
The first part also includes information like the player-centric design of casino games and how the games actually work. The author is explaining the hidden processes that lead to wins and losses and how they are designed to keep players busy.
In the second part of the book called Feedback, the book discusses the continuous improvement of slot machines in terms of design and themes. It’s obvious that the creators must use the latest technology to create attractive machines and it looks like players tend to get bored from slots that use the same theme and mechanics over and over again. Obviously, the casino industry can afford to create new slot machines all the time and in this way, they are able to increase the army of players. According to the author, the main reason why these games are so popular and why casinos are attractive is the fact that they are tracking the players and guiding the play. This helps them make players lose control and become compulsive players. In this way, they can’t make a profit in the long run.
The third part talks about the gambling addiction itself. It shows us all the ugly faces of this type of addiction and how it affects people’s lives. Natasha Schull believes that addicted players are actually gambling away their life. They have some problems and playing these games lets them forget about the problems they have. The next stage is the overdrive or the time when they start chasing losses. This is a moment that ever compulsive slot machine player will experience after some period of time.As a result of that, they are playing to extinction, until the moment when they can no longer place bets on these machines. But, that’s why the industry has created the so-called penny slot machines.
The fourth part of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Schull is called Adjustment and includes useful information that can help people get back on the right track. Even though gambling addiction is a very serious problem, the process of becoming an addict is reversible. In this part of the book, you will find more information about the therapeutics used in the process and how you can regulate risks.
One of the best things about Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas is that it’s very informative. In addition, the book itself is not taking sides and it’s not judging anyone – it just explains the facts. As previously mentioned, the author has gathered data from different sources and this data is presented in a balanced manner. The negative effects of slot machine overuse are obvious, but the book points out that the decisions are ultimately made by the persons. Regardless of the design and incentives, it all depends on the player. Yet, she provides information about how to seek help and what you should do if you find yourself in a situation like this.
In its essence, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Schull is an academic book dedicated to slot machine addiction, but also includes a wide array of related topics.