It’s All About The Money

January 17, 2013 6:00 pm

I am normally a pretty sensible person when it comes to money. I have never spent beyond my means, nor am I a scrooge-like miser. I do the things I want to do, but as a student I have also learned to spend my money wisely. However, I do have one weakness…


Gambling machines. The ones you might find at a fair or an arcade. There is a particular one that is very addictive. You put a coin (like 10p) in the machine and watch it fall down onto a platform. It is then shoved off the platform onto another platform, which is filled with more coins. Your coin gets pushed against the other coins and, if you’re lucky, the coins at the other end fall from the platform and voila, you’ve won! Usually there are little prizes on the platform as well, keychains and the like.

I should not be allowed to go near those things. I get this red haze in front of my eyes and an insatiable hunger to win, win and win more. I won’t stop. I want that Dora keychain like I’ve never wanted anything before. When I put the coin in, my heart skips a beat. When it drops, my breath accelerates. I wipe my clammy hands against my jeans and watch the coin get shoved against the other coins. I close my eyes and hope to hear that wonderful jingling sound of coins falling into the steel tray. When that happens, a feeling of euphoria bubbles up inside of me and I eagerly grab my new coins and put another one in. I’m on a roll! If it doesn’t, I put another in as well. The coins are obviously very close to falling, it would be a shame to stop now. This justification just gets stronger with every coin I put in. The more  coins in there, the more chance I have of winning them.

Gambling trap

I fall for all the traps set up for me by the creators of these machines. Rational thinking, which is off the table as soon as I start, would prevent me from ever playing at all. After all, it is not like 10p coins are going to make me a rich person. And if I really wanted that Dora key chain I could probably buy it for a pound or so. Yet, there is something bewitching about winning. That is, of course, what these kinds of machines thrive on. It’s all about psychology. Players get incentives to keep going. With the machine described above, you receive small prizes throughout the game. This leaves you wanting for more. It always looks like the next win could be the big one. People also never want to quit at a loss. Nobody likes being a loser, therefore most people will want to keep going until they have won at least something. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.

Some people are more in control than others though. I am clearly one of the people not so much in control. If you ever hear me say I plan on going to Las Vegas, please, stop me.

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