Slots and Gambling Problems


A slot is a specific position on a game board that can host winning combinations of symbols. Today’s slots feature multiple paylines that can form horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and zigzag patterns. They also have special symbols like wilds and scatters. These symbols can trigger mini bonus games that award large payouts or activate other special features.

Players can place cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a designated slot on the machine to activate its reels and win credits based on the payout table. The paytable displays an image of each symbol, along with the payout amounts for matching combinations. Most slot games have a theme, which is reflected in the symbols and bonus features used.

Although most gamblers enjoy the thrill of the game, a subset experience serious gambling problems. These can include significant debt, professional difficulties, and troubled relationships. A common problem is compulsive gambling, characterized by an overwhelming desire to win and a lack of control over gambling activity (Blaszczynski, et al., 2005).

Our results showed that the force measure of reward reactivity was more strongly correlated with positive affect than the PRP measures in Dixon et al.’s study, and accounted for greater unique positive affect variance in our multiple regression framework when dark flow was also included. Furthermore, our measures of reward reactivity were unrelated to negative associations of slots play (e.g., problems with money or depression) and therefore appear to measure aspects of enjoyment that are distinct from those attributed to dark flow.