When new players learn slot-machine tricks, they avoid gambling addiction

Novice gamblers who watched a short video about how slot machines disguise losses as wins have a better chance of avoiding gambling problems, according to new research.

Slot machines present losses disguised as wins (LDWs) with celebratory music and flashing lights, even though players actually won less money than they bet. People can mistakenly believe that they are winning and continue paying to play.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that showing inexperienced gamblers a brief educational video before they play helps make them more aware and curb false perceptions about the number of times they won.

"One of the keys to gambling harm prevention is to curtail misperceptions before they become ingrained in the minds of gamblers," said Michael Dixon, professor and research director in the Gambling Research Lab at Waterloo. "By exposing these outcomes for what they are, our study shows a way in which we can lead slots gamblers to have a more realistic view of their gambling experiences and possibly prevent problems down the road."

Earlier research from the University's Gambling Research Lab found that LDWs can also lead players to gamble for longer even when they are losing money -- a symptom of gambling addiction.

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