Americans have always had an uneasy relationship with gambling. To circumvent anti-gambling laws in the US, early slot machines masqueraded as vending machines. They gave out chewing gum as prizes, and those prizes could be redeemed for cash. That’s where … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm Roman, Mars, America, I've always had an uneasy relationship with gambling to circumvent a gambling laws in the? U S, early slot machines masquerading as bending machine for a trade machine as they were called in the symbols on the machine had to obscure it's true in to see you have these fruit symbols of cherries lemons and oranges on the real and they would offer prizes like chewing gum or other trees that you would then have- redeem for cash like tickets, chutney cheese, so it was almost like laundering it back into money. Many slot machines have retained the fruit symbols to this day. How can the UK there actually called fruit machines because of this That is a carry over from that era. The new universal bar symbol was, I always thought represented stacks of bars of gold, as a similar origin, the bars
is actually based on the logo of the Bell Fruit come come, I'm talking with the Tosh o thou shalt. My name is Natasha Show, and I must associate professor at MIT and the title of my book is addiction by design all about machine gambling in LAS Vegas only picture slot machine pretty easily the image we have that we carry around in our minds of the slots shit. It's pretty much. The same machine came out in eighteen. Ninety five, three reels mechanical reels that spin and you playing to line up symbols across one line, so one barf symbols and to get the machines play you're, putting in coins and then you're reaching up with your arm and pulling this, lover. So it's a very mechanical interaction that this is the famous one armed bandit.
Today, you walk into a casino, you may still see those levers, But they have a new name legacy lovers: basically just there to evoke that hi gone mechanical machine and to attract us over. We recognise it. We can pull the lever, but we very quickly, realized after sitting down that it's a lot faster and more efficient and ultimately less fatiguing. If we're sitting there for a while to press the buttons or in some cases, to touch the screen of classics, Furthermore, the physical machine. The hardware that your interacting with has really shifted school Words are design elements that are retained as an ornament and passed the point where they serve any meaningful function. Slot machines are skewer, morphing champions there.
Elsie with design elements that make you feel like you're, interacting with a trustworthy mechanical objects, and it's not just the legacy lovers. It's also a screen you're looking at So this is typically now a video screen, rather than a mechanical three real set up Some of these video machines, however, try to make us think we're playing a mechanical machine. They sort of have occurred at an log Ching Chin to them, military visual mapping technology. Is, is used. It's like this three layer plasma screen, so there are actual real spinning their blank and what's happening is there's a video projection onto them. So it's not like there marked with actual symbols. The symbols that appear can just be changed. Ups, there's lots of little trick.
By which designers try to get us to feel that we are still playing an analog mechanical device. According to CBS News, Americans now spend more money on slot machines than movies baseball theme parks combined, but this wasn't always The case these were seen as really just frivolous little devices that were there to occupy the wives of the real gamblers or to occupy people in these sort of Troy digital spaces, while they were waiting on or in hallways around the fringes of the main gambling pit. So they didn't and to have stools much less. The precise ergonomic seeding that they have today they weren't destinations. They were really transitional devices
not anymore, and then there is this historical association in this country between women, particularly older women nowadays, and these slot machine. So in every way, these machines or thought of as being light, a light form of gambling and the real irony there is that these machines, that anyone can a very approachable you don't have to know the rules. You have to be wearing a suit or interact other people in some intimidating way. The irony is that they, are the most potent. If you want to use that word in terms of how addicting they are, it's been shown that you get problematical involved with these devices three to four times faster than you would at the race track or playing cards games problematic. We involved my new favorite euphemism, despite the slot machines, very familiar appearance. This is a device that has evolved dramatically
with one goal in mind to keep you plain that machine. We often think especially people who don't play these machines. The assumption is, people must be playing these machines, especially the people play them a lot because they want to win, These are sort of dupes. These are poor people who don't understand how probability works there, they're not rational, if only they could be educated, they'd make these proper consumer decisions but in fact, If you talk to a lot of these gamblers, they are incredibly savvy they're, not dupes. They know they're not going to win and they know that if they do when a jackpot, that means they'll just sit there longer and play it off, so is not really about winning it's about getting into the zone. Everything else, falls away a sense of money. Harry value time, space even assent,
Self is annihilated in the extreme form. The zone that you enter there was one moment ensures research with the whole concept of the zone, really Sancho for her. She was talking with a gambler, and she said you know I sometimes I have to say. I get the sense of frustration and irritation when I win jackpot, because it just freezes up my flower. I just want to continue playing I witness this in a casino in the player, wins and has the credits are accruing thing, ending, meaning they're, just continuing the bang that spin button. I just can't wait to hit it again. So there's this design imperative to overcome the problem of interruption, design imperative to overcome the players problem with winning and you know the gambling industry has its own way of phrasing. This there are aware of this zone. Sometimes they call it a zone They also have a term that there are played of wind players or jackpot players
and then there's played a wind to play players. Otherwise known as time on device players and shows book tracks. This sea change in the gambling industry away from jackpot play and towards time on device play said. This is not play where you go in, and your excited and you're out to get this euphoric thrill from a big win or from the industry side, you're not out to serve. Police, someone and take all their money right away and then get them off the machine. So you can take someone else's money. This is more about profit from volume. The ideas that gamblers want to sit there longer and the industry,
has realised profit really isn't about the price of play. It's about the volume of play once you understand that it begins to make a lot more sense. Why penny machines machines played with the denomination of one cent are generating higher profits than any other machine today? Now, if you had asked the industry a decade ago, what's gonna become a penny machines? They would have laughed at you, because at that stage, even nickel machines were considered. They were really mocked as games you'd only find and grind joints, but if we look closely at some technological advances that certain makers have hit upon, he started to realise a ha. If We take the bed and we break it down into pennies and find ways with the computer algorithms inside the machine to extend bedding over a longer period. We can ultimately make more money,
So the lights in the sound attractive, They can see new atmosphere ex draw you in the area. I'm exceeds keep you comfortable the maxim bed and spin buttons don't even require you to move your hand from its arresting position, the recess screen, pools mind your own private world and you enter the zone, but what's gonna keep you playing? Is the math and that's really the revolution of these new video slots and the marathon? That's the term. The industry uses has got very complicated. So if you imagine our friend the old one arm bandit, you had these three reels with symbols on them and you were bedding lining up. One single line of symbols across now, even on mechanical machines, designers quickly found creative ways to add in other lines
play so usually, when you see these reels, you can serve see the line above in the line below the genius showing extra lines above and below the winning is that it introduces, the near Miss Phenomena. It's that feeling that you almost one when you see that winning symbol so close on that adjacent but the extra lines are also available for placing extra bats. The idea was: let's let people bet on three lines and let them back. Instead of one token, they can bet two tokens on two lines. For three, so you did see these early multi coin games. But there was limits to them, because there's an there's really a limit when you're talking about mechanical real how many symbols you can fit on the screen with them. Video technology came along and slot machines can do whatever the designer won't say. You started seeing
progression from not just lines. You know you you, you had even your to Europe you diagonals from the corners of the screen down, then you started seeing well, let's add extra reels. Let's add five. Six seven reels across and, let's add zigzags and you know, weird directions. So it's typical today to see twenty four D a hundred line games if it gets cold. He did. It begins to get really hard to tell if you even one are not the only green graphics have to draw the line for you. Some machines have even gone so far as to do away with lining up altogether. They have what's called scatter play. So it's really quite random you're you're, no longer playing to line up that one line of symbols across which is insane. I thought going on. You say what will what's going on here. What significant about that is that, if you're playing on a penny machine,
You decide that you're gonna bet a penny per line, so that's. That would be a hundred pennies. That's a dollar! In fact you can max it out and bad. You know three pennies per line, so in fact you're making three dollars a bad. That's quite significant, no wait when quarter players started disappearing, Videos slots came out. Researchers were sent onto one floor to find out. Where did aren't where a quarter players going? Are they migrating two dollars as we thought they would know? They were kind of regret. Thing back to nickel machines, but in the end they were actually paying more, they were betting more per hand than they had. A quarter machines, so the question is: I would again there do that the slots are more appealing because they take more coins. Here's the real truth when you're bedding, three hundred pennies a hundred lines year, gonna win back a portion of those for the first time in history, you're, not better
a token and then losing it all or doubling tripling it that's really volatile set up. This is much less evolve, tell your spreading your bet across a hundred lines, and it's really lot safer. If you want to see it that way because chances Are you going to win back something on some of those lines, and it just so happens but these machines are designed when you win back something to you are the winning stimuli that comes along with a real win, and so one research has aptly call this a false win or losses. Skies does wines, because your inner you're, putting in forty five coins, your winning quote, uncut winning nine back, that's a pretty radical net loss, but yet, there is little ditties that are being played its. Virtually no different than when you re they do when mother,
factor in making penny machines possible in all their little micro, bets or updates, and how the play Our feeds money into the machine yeah. This is a huge part, alongside that ergonomics of the chairs and changes in the responsibility of the buttons and how their placed came, the financial access technology- and you know, if you think about it- past if you ran out of money, and you wanted to continue to play at a machine there was a lot of steps you had to. You really had to work for you to leave your machine. Maybe wouldn't be there. When you got back ass, someone to hold it then go off in search of an ATM get some cash. Then you had to search out a cashiers cage orse, a roving chained attendant by these coins, return to a machine open the coins and put them and one by one that was very labour intensive and then imagine feeding in three hundred pennies. So I use it bill. Acceptance would take
twenty dollars serve a move to credit play and with the bill except authors, are you got these little digital monitors where it was an exam? We telling you how much money was in the machine. It was telling you how many credits so already there with bill except Jersey, saw kind of turned toward credit play, which really, DE materialised. The money made it real, somehow and allowed you to to get in at zone, disconnected you again from the everyday world Nowadays, a lot of machine gambling uses these player reward card, which are essentially credit cards that the casino sets out for you. Restore credit. You'll often going to a casino and see people there are seemingly connected these machines. Almost like life support with these plastic bungee cords that are attached to their cards. They won't forget them them their seal look down a whole line and everyone sort of attached to these machines. With these plastic ropes,
but ticket in ticket out technology, where you're playing with these bar coded tickets and player cards were really necessary piece of the technological puzzle for pennies to come on the scene in the way that they did with a multi line machines and this design evolution is the reason why slot machines are the most profitable form of gambling. Even though there is no skill involved and the players doesn't no the odds of winning for any given machine, One gambler in my book rose said. I became a slot machine technicians, understand more about these machines and I thought it would be a good part of recovery from the addiction, because I thought, if I understand how these machines work, the spell will broken and she said you know even after I was putting these genes to gather in designing them at work. On my lunch ranks, I will just go down the street and play the exact
same machines, because that is how addiction works. Ninety nine percent, invisible it SAM Greenspan and me roman Mars, where a project of ninety one point: seven local public radio, K, L W in San Francisco and instead of architects in San Francisco. We and don't think of winter as a time of growth or creation, but you think about it. It's the perfect time to greet your own website, because you're cooped up your thinking about being productive analysis, Her space can help you do it with Squares Bates. You can take your cool ideas, you ve creative content, your services, goods and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. Does it because there is to use templates, are created by world class designers and then you have the ability to customize the look and feel in the different setting
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.