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Looking at the boxes themselves, it may be difficult to understand the motivation behind the average fan of slot machines. But taking a broader view of the gaming scene, taking in all of the types and styles of slot machines, each with their own style, sounds, themes and payout potentials, one begins to understand how the game is so popular. Although the concept is the same behind each and every bandit, the way the game is presented to players is unlimited in its array of options. Modern casinos have slot games ranging in theme from pre-established American namesakes like 'Wheel of Fortune' down to classic slot associations themselves like '777'. No matter what you associate with having fun and a good time, chances are there is a slot machine that reflects this in one of their many themes.
Though slot machines use themes as a modern technique for attracting new and diverse populations of players, the basic premise that appeals to everyone remains the same. Beneath all of the sights, sounds, bells, whistles, colors, and celebrity endorsed external view of the machines, lies the internal mechanism that has us tied around its finger, or should I say around its pay-line. It's all about the money. Slot machines offer something that very few games in the casino have the potential to offer: an immense payout for a very small wager. Forget for a second that you might drop a hundred dollars into a machine before winning ten back, in the end it's just as valid to say that ten dollar win was the result of a modest 25c wager, and had you walked up to the machine at a different point in time you could have won on the first spin.
The possibility of a large payout for a small wager is no
insignificant little piece of psychology. This is the root of
motivation for slot machines, along with a set of other very
popular games. Every lottery in the world takes advantage of
the same premise, as does the game of Keno.
It is often useful to try and take the casino's view of a game into consideration when thinking about how we approach it as players. Compare the style of motivation just described (small wager, potential huge win) to other familiar casino games and you will see some interesting differences. Blackjack for example maintains it's players by having them constantly building and losing their bankroll. This fluctuation is what keeps the player interested. One can never win a sum so large in a single hand as to want to walk away from the table. In fact, a decent sized win on one hand only motivates the player to want to repeat the win on the next hand, which is always just a second away. The player can also easily lose a decent chunk of cash two or three hands in a row and feel as though they cannot leave the table until they have regained their bankroll.
Slot machines work on a slightly different premise. Your bankroll does not go up and down multiple times in a night, unless it's a very long night. The player usually starts with a pre-defined bankroll and slowly eats away at it in hopes of hitting a 'jackpot' that would equate to a significant win above and beyond whatever the entire bankroll was in the first place. This opportunity for great gains is what really keeps the fans of slot machines playing. Casinos have also managed to fine-tune a formula combining sounds, lights, and imagery that allow people to sit and stare at them for long periods of time. Whether this is done by creating a hypnotic environment or not is questionable, but the end result is simple: people are entertained.
The entire concept of hypnotism is a bit of a gray
area, especially to scientists. It is possible to enter a hypnotic
like state while driving, watching T.V., working a monotonous job,
and yes, quite possibly while playing video games or slot machines.
This isn't a bad thing of course, it just means you should get up
and stretch your legs a bit every once in a while. Grab a coffee
while you play, instead of cocktails, and you've already eliminated
any bias the casinos may gain by the natural hypnotic attributes
of its repetitive games.