Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas [NOOK Book]

Overview

Recent decades have seen a dramatic shift away from social forms of gambling played around roulette wheels and card tables to solitary gambling at electronic terminals. Slot machines, revamped by ever more compelling digital and video technology, have unseated traditional casino games as the gambling industry’s revenue mainstay. Addiction by Design takes readers into the intriguing world of machine gambling, an increasingly popular and absorbing form of play that blurs the line between human and machine, ...

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Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

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Overview

Recent decades have seen a dramatic shift away from social forms of gambling played around roulette wheels and card tables to solitary gambling at electronic terminals. Slot machines, revamped by ever more compelling digital and video technology, have unseated traditional casino games as the gambling industry’s revenue mainstay. Addiction by Design takes readers into the intriguing world of machine gambling, an increasingly popular and absorbing form of play that blurs the line between human and machine, compulsion and control, risk and reward.

Drawing on fifteen years of field research in Las Vegas, anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll shows how the mechanical rhythm of electronic gambling pulls players into a trancelike state they call the "machine zone," in which daily worries, social demands, and even bodily awareness fade away. Once in the zone, gambling addicts play not to win but simply to keep playing, for as long as possible--even at the cost of physical and economic exhaustion. In continuous machine play, gamblers seek to lose themselves while the gambling industry seeks profit. Schüll describes the strategic calculations behind game algorithms and machine ergonomics, casino architecture and "ambience management," player tracking and cash access systems--all designed to meet the market’s desire for maximum "time on device." Her account moves from casino floors into gamblers’ everyday lives, from gambling industry conventions and Gamblers Anonymous meetings to regulatory debates over whether addiction to gambling machines stems from the consumer, the product, or the interplay between the two.

Addiction by Design is a compelling inquiry into the intensifying traffic between people and machines of chance, offering clues to some of the broader anxieties and predicaments of contemporary life. At stake in Schüll’s account of the intensifying traffic between people and machines of chance is a blurring of the line between design and experience, profit and loss, control and compulsion.

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What People Are Saying

Emily Martin
Addiction by Design is an extremely enlightening ethnographic account of a little-studied form of gambling. The ethnography is rich and deep, shedding original light on the significance of addiction and gambling in American culture. Schüll offers a provocative and important study of the imperative some people feel to lose themselves in a machine. The story told in the book is absolutely riveting.
Emily Martin, author of "Bipolar Expeditions"
Suchman
A gripping, insightful, and poignant analysis of the psychological power of machine gambling, read through the lens of an extraordinary collection of narratives and theoretical sources. Schüll illuminates the multiple, intersecting logics of the industry as a sociotechnical assemblage, showing how casino design, gambling machines, and gamblers are drawn together into a kind of integrated circuit aimed at maximizing the gamblers' entrainment and the industry's profits.
Lucy A. Suchman, author of "Human-Machine Reconfigurations"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400834655
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2012
  • Series: In-formation
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 628,473
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Natasha Dow Schüll is associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Note on Informant Anonymity xiii

Introduction: Mapping the Machine Zone 1

Part One: Design
1. Interior Design for Interior States: Architecture, Ambience, and Affect 35
2. Engineering Experience: The Productive Economy of Player- Centric Design 52
3. Programming Chance: The Calculation of Enchantment 76

Part Two: Feedback
4. Matching the Market: Innovation, Intensification, Habituation 107
5. Live Data: Tracking Players, Guiding Play 137
6. Perfect Contingency: From Control to Compulsion 166

Part Three: Addiction
7. Gambled Away: Liquidating Life 189
8. Overdrive: Chasing Loss, Playing to Extinction 210

Part Four: Adjustment
9. Balancing Acts: The Double Bind of Therapeutics 239
10. Fix upon Fix: Recipes for Regulating Risk 257

Conclusion: Raising the Stakes 290

Notes 311
References 385
Index 42

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    A must read for those with casinos and video gambling in their communities.

    I could not put this book down. This book is not only for those in the grips of a gambling addiction. Anyone who is curious or has concerns about the rise of video gambling and casinos and its impact in their communities should read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    NOOK version has fixed font sizes.

    This review is only of the Nook formatting, not the content of the book. The Nook version features fixes fixed font sizes and line spacing. Even with publisher defaults unchecked, the largest font size and leading still render as a very small font. This edition is unsuitable for anyone reading on the Nook at a normal or large font size.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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