For many of us, online gambling has provided a much-needed diversion from the trials and tribulations of 2020. The convenience of logging in from your home computer during a global pandemic has made playing your favorite slots even easier.
Slot games are entertaining and immersive and have the added temptation of offering ever-increasing jackpots and the unbeatable thrill of a big win. But what happens when a fun diversion turns into something more? What do you do when it’s no longer just all fun and games? You decide it’s time to do better.
What Causes a Slot Obsession?
The lights, the sounds, the rush of adrenaline, the themes of your favorite movies, music, or pop culture — together they all combine to create an immersive experience intended to delight. Slot machines are designed to be addictive. But what does that actually mean?
Manipulation of Your Brain Chemicals
When people gamble, their brains are flooded with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Also known as the “pleasure chemical,” dopamine is released during pleasurable activities such as eating, having sex, or watching a favorite movie.
Whenever you win a spin, your brain rewards you with a rush of dopamine. This starts an endless loop of desire to keep playing to continue experiencing the reward. Slot machines, in particular, offer small “rewards” that make players feel like they’ve won, even when the reward doesn’t cover the cost of the wager.
Playing slots does not require any significant skill or strategy. When sitting at a machine or playing online, you don’t have to plan your next move or even think very hard about what you’re doing.
Unlike playing cards, watching a sports game, or betting on a horse race, there is no waiting time to find out the outcome of the event. With slots, players know instantly whether or not they’ve won and with each new spin, their minds are further conditioned to expect an instant payoff (or at least how close they came to winning).
Tips to Break the Cycle
Playing slots can be a fun activity that doesn’t have to take over your life. If you feel that your hobby has gotten the better of you, try out a few of these tips to regain the upper hand in your life.
Don’t Play With Real Money
If you love playing slots and think you might have a problem, a good way to ease yourself into new habits is to play free slot games that won’t drain your bankroll.
As funny as it might sound you can try using bonus offers that give you free spins, NoDepositDaily has a section focused exactly on this. The adrenaline rush you will feel will be much less than when using your own money. Of course, this is not a long-term solution but it might be a good first step to complete recovery.
Keep Gambling a Social Activity
Some signs that you may have a slots obsession include:
- Playing longer than you intended to
- Lying about how much money you win or lose
- You go to extremes to find money to gamble
- You put gambling before more important things
If any of these are true for you, your hobby may have turned into a problem. In this case, a good idea to help break your slots addiction is to only gamble in a social setting. With friends around that you trust, they can help you enjoy playing slots as a form of entertainment and keep you accountable.
Even slightly inebriated, you’re not able to function at full capacity. When playing slots, people tend to go into a trance-like state called “dark flow” in which they become fully engrossed in the game and completely forget their surroundings.
Alcohol or other mind-altering substances can make this situation even worse and keep you from maintaining a clear head.
Getting out of the so-called “dark flow” state is important for keeping control of your behavior, your pocketbook, and resisting temptation. Especially if you’re feeling slots-obsessed, taking frequent breaks when playing will help bring you back into reality and remind you when it’s time to stop for good.
Manage Your Bankroll
Bankroll management is one of the most important parts of responsible gambling. Your bankroll is the amount of money you’ve allocated for playing casino games. Once that money is gone, it’s time to stop playing.
Your bankroll should always be a set amount of money that you don’t need for bills, living expenses, or anything else in your life. Like an entertainment fund, it’s a necessary part of life but once it’s gone, there’s no more until next month.
Stay in Control
Gambling comes in many forms. Whether a penny slot bet or a multi-thousand-dollar table bet. Playing casino games can be a fun and entertaining activity for many people and while there’s nothing wrong with the occasional wager when gambling starts negatively impacting your life, you know there’s a problem.
The key to overcoming your slots obsession is to stay in control of your behavior and actions. If you’ve realized that you have an unhealthy preoccupation with slots, you’re already on the right track. Take control of the problem before it takes control of you.