The Madison County Record Mar. 14, 2013, 11:11am

To the Editor:

Video gambling machines seem like a "sucker’s bet." Highland residents are now exposed to devices that have been carefully designed to make them lose as much as possible. It’s important for Highland voters to understand how these machines work.

The following information comes from Natasha Schull, an Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

"Every feature of a slot machine — its mathematical structure, visual graphics, sound dynamics, seating and screen ergonomics — is calibrated to increase a gambler’s 'time on device' and to encourage 'play to extinction,' which is industry jargon for playing until all your money is gone. The machines have evolved from handles and reels to buttons and screens, from coins to credit cards, from a few games a minute to hundreds. Inside, complicated algorithms perform a high-tech version of 'loading the dice' — deceptions no self-respecting casino would ever allow in table gambling. The machines are designed to exploit aspects of human psychology, and they do it well. In the eyes of the gaming industry, this may look like success, but it comes at a great expense for gamblers. The rise in slots gambling, has led to much higher rates of gambling addiction.”

Gambling addiction leads to higher bankruptcy, divorce, and crime.

Voters will weigh in a non binding referendum and advise if the government, whose role is to protect its citizens, should remain a partner in this ethically dubious enterprise. ‘VOTE NO’ on video gambling April 9.

Philip W. Chapman


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