Losing at Slots? Blame the Music!

31 Jul 2013 | 08:28 Author: Seth Shafer

A new study from Canadian researchers shows that music used in slots machines might just cause you to lose more money.

University of Waterloo researchers conducted a study designed to isolate some of the effects that music in slot machines have. While the gambling industry has incorporated a variety of music and tones into slots games for years, the exact impact of the music on gamblers hasn't been completely understoof.

The researchers looked at two groups of players and monitored them for signs of a physical response to music as well as testing if it impacted their ability to accurately track their wins and losses.

An emotional and physiological response to music was found in the group that played slots with music, with players becoming more "aroused" (measured by the dampness of their hands) and reporting that they enjoyed gambling more when playing with music; the group that played silent machines reported less enjoyment and arousal.

The study also examined the impact of "false" wins, which occur on multi-line machines when one line may pay off -- triggering a winning chime or burst of music -- but the overall bet that includes other lines may be a slight loser.

Researchers tested both groups once again and found that not only did the group playing on slot machines with sound enjoy their gambling sessions more but they also were more susceptible to false wins, significantly overestimating how many times then won by up to 25% versus the group playing on silent machines.

It's no surprise that music and sounds on slot machines can make the experience more enjoyable for many slots fans but it might shock some to learn that the music can also give a false sense of winning.

An empty wallet might leave some slots players scratching their heads, as things seemed to be going well during their session with lots of bells and whistles and "wins" -- right up until the point when they suddenly had no more credits to play and no more cash to feed into the machine.

The research team was led by Mike Dixon of the University of Waterloo, with the results published in the Journal of Gambling Studies. 


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