When you hear the word ‘nostalgia’ it immediately conjures up black and white images. There’s something about the good old days that resonates with monochrome photographs of more innocent times. It is a funny notion, since color images have been around for decades; the Kodacolor, the first color film, was introduced in 1942 and kicked into mass production for 35mm in 1958.
Maybe it’s the old Hollywood glamor… the images of cinema first generation of stars larger than life. Maybe it’s the elegant 50’s when folks were dressed up smartly every day. Maybe it’s the flair of an era that is gone.
Still, black and white images are nostalgic. Even if they were taken before we were even born, even if we aren’t familiar with the people and places photographed, the black and the white and all the greys in between touches us in a way a color photograph will never be able to.
What’s even better? Black and white images of the most colorful place. What is the most colorful place? Las Vegas. Glitzy, sparkly, neon-y – Vegas is a place defined in popular culture for its bright lights and splashy images.
That’s why seeing old black and white images from Vegas is so striking. The glamor is still there – the well-dressed, beautiful people, the excitement in the air, the neon lights everywhere – and is even more apparent in black and white.
So here are some of our favorite vintage images of the Las Vegas that it used to be before it transformed itself to a family vacation destination. You can feel the electricity in the air, the kind of electricity that can only exists in a place for grownups.
The Strip, All Stripped Down
The word that comes to mind – innocence. And elegance. This is as removed as possibly can from today’s noisy, over-the-top Strip. You can feel the calmness in the air, the sense of upscale entertainment.
The most striking thing about this image is that the Strip looks like a real place built by real people for real people. Today’s Strip, on the contrary, looks manufactured. It doesn’t feel like a real place – it is a made up, crazy fantasy for tourists.
Street Level Casino
It’s not the most incredible photograph, but something is remarkable here – the Eldorado Club, at the ground floor of the Apache hotel, is so approachable. It is right there, on the sidewalk, a walk-in haven.
These days, to get to a casino floor in Vegas, you’ll need to embark on quite the walk from the Strip. The casinos are now engulfed by monstrous resorts – not even hotels, resorts! – and are most definitely not visible from the street. There is something very comforting about being able to peek through the glass windows of a casino; ah, those were the days.
Now That’s a Ride!
This photograph of the Flamingo hotel says it all – tons of style, blue sky and green grass and the most awesome rides. This was actually a postcard advertising the Flamingo hotel.
A one-story hotel is just unimaginable in today’s Vegas, or anywhere else for that matter. Those were the times when there was no shortage of space in the Nevada desert, and less than 42.9 million people visited Vegas every year (the number of Vegas tourists in 2016.)
Sinatra Sure As Hell Did It His Way
There’s no one that symbolizes the glamor days of Las Vegas more than Frank Sinatra. And here, in this candid shot from 1955 taken at the Dunes hotel, blue-eyes is dreamy as always, almost nonchalant about the womanly hectic-ness surrounding him.
One can imagine Sinatra and the girls are posing for a shot to promote a show they took part it.
One thing raises a question in this picture – what’s the story with the kneeling guy on the left, what is this on his head? A wig? A Turban?
The Real Show Girls
If we’re already talking about Vegas shows, here’s a taste of the real thing. 1958, the Stardust Hotel, just a regular night at the club.
The elegance, the grandeur is unparalleled to today’s standards. With no special effects or tech wizardry, these four elegantly dressed ladies are giving the folks below them a run for their money.
A Swingers Moment
Here is Noel Coward, a British playwright who was a fixture of Vegas, performing nightly at the Desert Inn. The open-top car, the sign at the back, his pencil mustache – the epitome of Vegas in the 50’s, just before the city exploded into the mega town that has become.
Just a great shot, soaked with atmosphere.
The Wild, Wild West
This isn’t Halloween, nor a cowboy-cowgirls theme party. This is 1935 – ! – and these folks are dressed in their everyday attire. The roulette though, is the same roulette.
Obviously, the color was added much later, as is obvious from the reddish glow on everyone’s cheeks.
This image is just a delight to look at. A world that’s long gone is right here before our eyes, in the most natural moment. Priceless!
Now what can possibly be cooler than this? Playing roulette in the pool. Not by the poolside, insidethe pool. And see the cocktail waitress at the back, arriving with a tray of fresh drinks in a white bikini; ah, the good life.
Even the fact that the dealer isn’t shaved-chest and buffed, but a regular-looking Joe from Montana speaks to the authenticity of the whole scene. It’s about enjoying life, as real as they get.
Roll the Dice, Tanya
Unimaginable for today’s casinos, Tanya, a Siamese elephant and a performer at the Dunes Hotel and Casino, is taking a break from her busy schedule to join gamblers at the craps table.
It looks like Tanya is the one throwing the dice and the folks around her are watching attentively, hoping for the luck to strike.
The scene is so removed from what we are used to in today’s casinos, that it’s just breathtakingly awesome to imagine that this was the life in Vegas back then; so relaxed, so open-minded, so free.
The post Incredible Vintage Photography of Las Vegas appeared first on SlotSpinners.
Online gambling is exploding. Currently available in 85 countries (according to the American Gambling Association), it sees a compound annual growth of 10.73% and is expected to reach $ 66.59B by 2020, according to analysis by Technavio.
In 2016 it racked in more than $ 45B. According to the European Commission, $ 15B came from the European market, the strongest gambling market in the world, where online gambling accounts see an average yearly growth of 15%. Within the continent, it is United Kingdom leading the way with more than 18 million online gambling accounts.
Two things we can learn from these extraordinary numbers:
Online gambling is extremely profitable
The companies operating in this market are very skillful in running an online business
Do Gambling and Social Go Hand in Hand?
Since being effective online involves being active on social media, we decided to check how online gambling companies are doing on Facebook. These companies are masters in attracting incredibly large audiences.
We were curious to find out how they’re doing in engaging these audiences:
Would online gamblers openly interact with online casinos and bookmakers for all their ‘friends’ to see?
Would online gambling companies be able to engage their paying customers – would they even try?
We tracked 111 gambling / betting-related websites’ Facebook activity over a three-month period to check how the online gambling industry is doing socially. We created a KPI we call Engagement Rate to gauge their performance.
How We Analyzed Facebook Engagement
To reach the Engagement Rate of each page we used Facebook’s own metrics. We took the People Talking About This (PTAT) number and divided it by the number of Likes a page has.
We then added up all the Engagement Rates of the 111 websites and divided it by the number of pages to get the overall Average Engagement Rate.
The bottom line is: not so good.
The average Facebook engagement rate of gambling / betting websites on December 15th was 3.4%. On the 29th of March it was 2.5%.
That’s a 26% drop in engagement over a three-month period.
Let’s look at the glass half full. Here’s a break down of three of the biggest andbest performing websites:
Another example, of one of the most well-known gambling brands in the world.
According to SimilarWeb, Williamhill.com brings in 22M visitors a month. Here are WH’s Facebook’s figures:
497,099 Likes | 847 Talking About This | 0.17% Engagement Rate (29.03.17)
(Figures for the WilliamHillSports Facebook page, the most active and ‘successful’ William Hill page by far.)
The difference between what WH manages to do on its websites and on Facebook is staggering. You can’t compare apples and oranges – paid (or organic) traffic is one thing and engagement on social networks is another, the two require completely different methodologies but still – the performance gap is curious.
Why Is the Gambling Industry Doing So Poorly on Facebook?
It seems that the online gambling industry has mostly given up on Facebook.
There can be 3 reasons for that:
Gambling/betting companies don’t understand the medium
Facebook users don’t want to ‘expose’ their gambling/betting activities to their friends
Users simply don’t care to interact with gambling/betting brands like they do with lifestyle brands
Before we look into the three possible reasons, one thing must be highlighted – the sites in the table above (as are the rest of the 111) do manage to solicit Likes. Six of the pages in the table have more than 100K Likes. So the real failure is getting folks engaged after they like the page. This suggests weak content that lacks direction.
Online Gambling / Betting Companies Don’t Understand Social
Even without consulting with experts, this seems far-fetched.
The online gambling industry mastered SEO, monetization, affiliate marketing, customer retention and the mobile side of things. So social networks are the one aspect of the online world they couldn’t figure out?
An online gambling executive, who asked not to be named nor his company’s name mentioned, said there were two reasons his company was keeping an active Facebook page, even though the page is indeed low-performing:
“One is trying to maintain a social presence for the brand. If someone looks up the brand on Facebook or Google, having an active page with engagement – even if limited – can improve trust.
Second, since we run a lot of Facebook ad campaigns, some users end up on our Facebook page. We don’t want these users coming from ads to see an inactive page.”
This second reason feels like the jackpot. In order to use Facebook’s ad network you need a Page. The ‘numbers’ of your page have no affect on the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. You just need it to exist.
We had another question for the executive: what are you getting from your Facebook page?
“Not much. It’s really not our focus at the moment. It’s just supporting our brand presence on social. If some players come from it, that’s a nice bonus, but not the main goal.”
So it seems that online gambling companies don’t make a real effort to ‘make it on social’. Their piggybanks are full enough to pay for inbound traffic, and they seem content with this arrangement.
Must be something else.
Facebook Users Don’t Want to Expose Their Gambling Habit
That’s a possibility.
We are not referring to the U.S. market where online gambling is illegal in 47 out of 50 states (howdy Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey!) It makes sense that U.S. residents who gamble online behind a curtain of fake IP wouldn’t want to share it on Facebook out of fear of prosecution.
In countries as England, Australia, Germany, Denmark – where online gambling is perfectly legal – are people worried about how they will be perceived if their ‘friends’ see them interact with a gambling/betting page on Facebook?
Is gambling/betting, even though legal, is frowned upon?
We reached out to Dr. Natasha Dow Schüll, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. Dr. Schüll is the author of the influential book Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, the result of 15 years of field research in the casinos and gambling halls of Vegas. It’s a must read.
We asked Dr. Schüll whether gamblers would share their habit with their social circle:
“Gambling is asolitary activity and not one they are likely to advertise to friends.
It’s socially acceptable to some extent, meaning, understood as something people do, but they often do it alone.”
So from what Dr. Schüll is saying, we can see that online casinos and bookmakers face an uphill struggle when it comes to engaging their audience on Facebook. If folks tend to keep gambling to themselves, social networks don’t seem like the ideal place open up about it.
Cigarettes have a similar faith; Marlboro doesn’t have a Facebook page and it’s a pretty safe guess that even there was one, not many people would want to have their friends’ feeds littered with smoky posts.
Viagra is another example that comes to mind. Super popular brand, wouldn’t find it on Facebook.
Online Gamblers Don’t Care for Content and Engagement
Also a possibility.
Enjoying a certain activity doesn’t automatically mean there’s also a thirst to learn more about it. Jogging is an immensely popular physical activity in recent years, though not many joggers spend additional time consuming content about jogging, or interacting with brands that are recognized as ‘jogging brands’; yes, we’re talking about you Nike!
We turned to Allen Moody, a veteran, award-winning journalist of sports gambling culture to get his take on things:
“For sports betting, there really isn’t a whole lot of demand for content, such as teaching people how to handicap games, as most people are just interested in “who do you like tonight?” Very few people have the time to study the games themselves and have come to realize that, so most are just looking for somebody to tell them who is going to cover the spread. Football is a bit of an exception, primarily because there’s a week between the games and people can find a bit of time to look things over, but for the daily sports, like basketball or baseball, people are much more interested in getting picks.”
Why top online gambling brands, that have traffic by the millions to their websites, don’t care about content on their websites and Facebook pages? Is it because they don’t need content, or because gamblers don’t care about interacting – they just want to gamble?
“I think the reason a lot of sportsbooks don’t appear to be too concerned with their social media output or the content on their websites is that people will play at certain sportsbooks based on their reputation for paying their debts.
Bookmakers that have solid reputations will attract customers regardless of their website content. (I’m much more familiar with sports betting, but I’d say the same thing would hold true to some extent for online casinos.)
So, I’d say you’re correct that gamblers aren’t really interested in content or interaction, but just want to play.”
That’s Pretty Much Settles It Then
From the users side, they don’t care for interaction or engagement with the brands behind the online casinos and bookmakers, nor they show an interest in further educating themselves by consuming content.
From the operators’ side, they accept the deal: provide the platform, keep the bonuses coming, and let the players remain detached. As long as players keep coming with their credit cards, who can blame them? Has anyone condemned Wilson for just manufacturing rackets and balls and not engaging folks?
Actually, Wilson has a pretty swinging Facebook page.
So the million-dollar question seems to be:
Should the Online Gambling Industry Even Try to Engage Its Users?
* This section is contemplating the bigger picture. If you’re not in the mood, skip to the next, more actionable, headline.
The online gambling industry got a gazillion users as it is, and an expected $ 66.59B by 2020. Why would it even bother with social media? It’s a valid question to ask.
Gambling, or betting, will always carry the humpback of being, as Dr. Schüll said, “socially acceptable to some extent”. We can assume the day when gambling is embraced by society as a wholesome pastime activity would never come. And the gambling industry is aware of that.
If we accept this assumption, the prospect of creating a lively community of happy-go-gamblers on Facebook is pretty slim.
The gambling industry is widely successful, online and off, in engaging its audience in actual play. Is there any benefit for them in attempting to bring an added value?
Gary Vaynerchuck, a social media and online marketing mega-thought leader famously asked a Pepsi executive, when pressed to explain the ROI of social media, “What is the ROI of your mother?” Though crudely phrased, his intention was, as he later explained, to argue that some things cannot be quantified.
The value of social media to commercial brands is still hotly debated. It’s worth pointing out though that while the debate is going on, almost all commercial brands are pouring major resources into social media; a simple point that floats a giant question mark above the debate.
Social media happened. And now commercial brands have a huge additional task to tackle. And even if they perceive it as a chore, the fact that it did happen says a lot. It says that consumers, people, like it and enjoy it because they get something out of it. It’s probably similar to the something Vaynerchuck got from his mother.
Maybe, just maybe, the gambling / betting industry should try to provide its audience some of the same illusive benefit it derives from interacting and being engaged by other commercial brands on social media.
Can Gambling Websites Do Better on Facebook?
That’s a tough one. After three months of pouring over Facebook pages of gambling and betting companies, we aren’t too optimistic about their prospects.
A good example to look at, from a different industry, is RedBull, a company that’s doing a phenomenal job engaging its audience.
The RedBull Facebook page has 47,464,096 Likes, 2,010,933 PTAT (29.03.17) and Engagement Rate of 4.2%. Even though the ER is similar, the sheer numbers that RedBull are dealing with are above and beyond.
What’s more interesting to consider is that their entire content strategy has, in a sense, nothing to do with their product. RedBull deals to its audience videos of people doing crazy shit. Just videos, of just that. Remarkably focused. Remarkably effective.
Is this a strategy gambling / betting companies should adopt? Dealing content that’s removed from their actual product?
What do you think? If you’re a social media expert and you think you have the answer to how the gambling industry can do better on Facebook contact me and I’ll post your advice here.
More Detailed Analysis
If you’re looking to delve deeper into the outcome of our analysis of 111 gambling/betting websites’ Facebook activity, here it is.
In this section you will find:
What are the most engaging gambling/betting Facebook pages do
What are the biggest gambling/betting websites (don’t) do on Facebook
The full list of the 111’s Facebook metrics, December 15the 2016 & March 29th 2017
What Are the Most Engaging Facebook Pages Doing
Let’s have a look at what & how the most engaging gambling / betting websites do on Facebook.
120,748 Likes | 4451 Talking About This
Frequency: 2-5 posts a day
Type of Activity: raffles, competitions and giveaways that require audience participation; strong sense of community
Form of User Engagement: incredible. Both Likes and comments are just pouring by the hundreds and even thousands. Tombola makes sure to be a part, to answer and engage directly with individual members of its community.
Bottom Line: really good understanding of what their community wants. Tombola provides its audience on Facebook the same thing they are providing them on the their website – light, fun engagement activities with a chance to win money.
602,463 Likes | 5,711 Talking About This
Frequency: 2-4 posts a day
Type of Activity: videos of highlights from games (mostly soccer) and declaration of winners
Form of User Engagement: steady stream of Likes and pretty active comments section, mostly one-liners that don’t require or solicit a response – there’s no interaction between the users
Bottom Line: everyone seems content, the page serves its purpose, even if an uninspired way
81,718 Likes | 6270 Talking About This
Frequency: 7-12 posts a day
Type of Activity: only soccer; links to new blog posts (about 5 a day); lots and lots of silly videos that are so popular on social networks, also soccer-related
Form of User Engagement: likes come and go, sometimes in the dozens, sometimes in the hundreds; comments are less frequent and are of the one-liner type, no real discussion; videos get tens of thousands of views
Bottom Line: Hallelujah, FreeBets discovered the power of whimsical videos on social media.
Not much to glean from, but there are a few conclusions to draw:
If you want to establish an active Facebook page, don’t talk about gambling. It also helps if you don’t have the words “casino” or “gambling” in the page title.
Keep it light and fluffy. This is Facebook. Keep the in-depth discussions to forums.
Use lots of videos! Especially silly ones.
What Are the Biggest Websites (Don’t) Do on Facebook
966 Likes | 43 Talking About This
Frequency: random; about one post every two months
Type of Activity: lists of upcoming matches
Form of User Engagement: almost non-existent, sporadic Likes and spam comments
Bottom Line: not clear why bet365 keeps at it
108,794 Likes | 939 Talking About This
Frequency: 2 posts a day
Type of Activity: one post previous day’s winning numbers, one post inspirational quote or a story of someone who won big
Form of User Engagement: some likes and comments regarding technical stuff (registration questions etc.) or basic comments such as “I wish I win today”
Bottom Line: no real interaction between the brand and its community
williamhill.com (sports page)
497,099 Likes | 847 Talking About This
Frequency: anything from one post every two days to five posts a day
Type of Activity: sport-centered, commentary to bets, odds and win stories
Form of User Engagement: very few Likes; comments are rare and when a discussion erupts, it’s usually around soccer, unrelated to betting – brand doesn’t take part
Bottom Line: their heart isn’t in it, no real effort
749,883 Likes | 337 Talking About This
Frequency: none; last post September 21, 2016
Bottom Line: abandoned Facebook eight months ago
*Only the 888Poker Facebook page is still active. All the other Facebook pages of 888 (casino, sport etc.) were abandoned.
282,211 Likes | 381 Talking About This
Frequency: 1-2 posts a day
Type of Activity: poker-focused; strategy questions to the community, shots of chips, cash and famous players
Form of User Engagement: changing volume of likes per post (between 21 to 664) and a good volume of comments in response to strategy questions
Bottom Line: missed opportunity. Community obviously enjoys the questions but brand never engages with them, doesn’t take part in the discussions
747,717 Likes | 658 Talking About This
Frequency: 1-2 posts a day
Type of Activity: sport moments, stats, memes and gifs; questions to the community about preferences, favorites etc.
Form of User Engagement: very few Likes, almost no comments – brand doesn’t manage to elicit engagement
Bottom Line: not trying very hard. Questions to the community tend to be very superficial (Will Liverpool win the EFL Cup? / Do you like Messi’s latest tattoo?)
No Facebook page.
They have a profile page with two posts from April 2016, two posts from 2013 and one photo and one note from 2012.
No Facebook page.
120 Likes | 38 Talking About This
Frequency: daily posts
Type of Activity: promo codes, in English and Russian
Form of User Engagement: Betfair post a promo code, then uses two obviously fake profile accounts (Stefan Ivanov & Georgi Georgiev) to share it on various Facebook groups.
Bottom Line: Seriously?
343,054 Likes | 4,588 Talking About This
Frequency: 5-10 posts a day
Type of Activity: mostly soccer moments, with scattered raffles and quizzes that allow the community a “chance to win” something; tons of Happy Birthdays to present and past footballers
Form of User Engagement: uneven, mostly likes, some comments of the ‘one-liner’ kind, no real interaction between the users or between users and brand
Bottom line: missed opportunity. When Ladbrokes “gets down to business” and talks bets, the community listens. Other times, just another soccer page.
Here it is, the full list:
The post We Analyzed 111 Gambling Sites’ Facebook Activity Over Three Months. Here are Our Findings. appeared first on SlotSpinners.
Those of us old enough to remember the time an IBM computer won at Jeopardy, or Deep Blue beating Kasparov at chess, can probably recall the sense of wonder, and subtle dread, that washed over our collective consciousness. Well, brace yourselves – it’s time to start preparing for the next wave of computer-dominance.
The speed of the ball, the heart-rate of the athletes, every gush of wind – all these and more will change the nature of sports betting forever.
This is what the future of sports betting will probably look like:
Almost all sports betting will take place online. More than that, bettors will use their phones to place bets – in real time.
The dominant bettors won’t be human – they’ll be robots, betting on behalf of humans; they’ll be fast, powerful and driven by massive amounts of data.
Large tech companies will emerge as mega bookmakers.
Sports leagues will profit directly off of legal sports betting.
The U.S. online sports betting market – post-legalization – will be the largest in the world and its establishment will energize the entire global market of sports betting.
How Will We Get There?
AlI bots are now able to beat human poker players handily; an algorithm called Libratus trounced a team of professionals in late 2016. Those who understand the complexities of poker, know that when a machine can read, learn, strategize and win in a game of bluffs and uncertainties – a new era has begun.
The changing landscape of sports betting isn’t far behind; it’s about digitization and the move of the industry to the online realm. Tech and media companies like Google and Microsoft are carefully following the laws regarding online gambling and are preparing to pounce.
Figure 1 of Google’s patent: Method and system for providing real time sports betting information US 8057300 B2 image source
When businesses that have made billions from digital offerings and social media dive into the realm of sports betting, it’s a safe bet the entire landscape is set to change.
So what does all this mean for the sports betting world?
Legalization, Digitization and Information Overload.
The Emerging Technologies
We already talked about Liberatus being able to dominate a game of poker, but what about the other myriad of ways computers are entering the sports betting arena?
Sports bettors are familiar with these new apps that “attempt to predict the outcome of games and races. They accumulate years of data and trends and run them through algorithms that make, sometimes uncannily, accurate predictions.
This has already changed the way many bettors are planning out their bets – they use this data to wait until the odds are at their best before putting money down.
Though the bundle of apps claiming to be sports predictions may not be any more accurate than their human counterparts – the more sophisticated software is making impressive headway.
Sports will likely never be a sure thing due to the human element. But looking at predictive price management and analytic software from the ecommerce industry dealing with trends and human interactions, we can assume that all but the most unlikely of outcomes one day become predictable.
Elihu Feustel, of India, who makes huge bets on tennis matches based on a predictive computer model he built himself , says he can expect an overall 2% increase in his yearly profit. So with a hypothetical 5M in bets a year , he averages around $ 100,000 yearly from sports betting using his model. He watches less than one hour a year of tennis.
Betting in Real Time: Here Come the Robots
With the entrance of robots as sophisticated bettors, the actual nature of sports betting can dramatically change – from pre-event betting (as sports bets are placed today) to real-time betting during the event. This shift will be enabled by the data fed to robots in real time from:
Motion-tracking cameras located in stadiums
Microchips placed in uniforms, helmets and sports balls
Biometrics sensors in athletes’ bodies
The Athlete Biometric Data (ABD) is the true game changer to watch; this is how tech companies plan to analyze something as chaotic as sport.
They believe we will begin to see ABD as a commodity sold to companies with an intent to feed that info into their algorithms, or to individuals trying to use it to place bets in a more traditional and intuitive way.
While it will be interesting for casual observers to watch their favorite athletes from a whole new perspective, there will be those who invest millions of dollars and countless hours in deciphering what it all means.
We are entering a world where a single tweet by a sports scout, or a missed step by a quarterback leaving his house, can send millions of dollars of computerized bets into motion.
Tech Companies Are Poised to Become the New Bookies
If the type of innovation tech companies brought to other industries is any indication, the sports betting world could be in for some significant changes – down to its bones. They will compete, without mercy, against established U.S. and international sportsbook operators and likely force these operators to compete in new and unpredictable ways.
We are also likely to see stock-market-style sports betting exchanges pop up. This is what Jerry Brito, the executive director of Coin Center, a nonprofit crypto-currency research center has to say on the matter:
“It’s cheaper, because the cut that the book takes is incredibly small, because there’s no company there, there’s no overhead, besides the network. And because it’s potentially global, it could be a really big book with a lot of bets.”
While predictive technology is gaining ground, it still may be many years off before the House needs worry. Plus, with tech companies coming into the booking world, who knows what new advantages or profit making techniques they will come up with. It’s all in the algorithm, as the new saying goes.
Pro Sports Leagues Want You to Bet
The majority of pro leagues are in favor of online sports betting and are beginning to understand ways in which they too can profit from it.
Most have already partnered up with gambling-related firms and data companies to create opportunities for shared profit. Adam Silver, an NBA commissioner, has not minced words about his support for legalized betting or his willingness to work with companies that operate mainly through legal loopholes. One such enterprise is DraftKings, a Boston-based company that defines itself as “daily fantasy sports for cash”; a reminder – online sports betting is illegal in the U.S.
Legalizing Sports Betting in the U.S. Will Energize the Global Market
This year, 97% of the 4.5 billion betted on the Super Bowl were placed illegally. This is nothing new, as detailed in an in-depth investigation by The New York Times on how bookmaking sites operate in the U.S. under the legal radar.
The U.S. Congress has begun reviewing federal laws regarding gambling, and will likely introduce legislation in the near future relating to online sports betting. The American supreme court has delayed its ruling on the federal ban of online sports betting outside of Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon (the only States where online gambling is legal.)
Even though sports betting is widely legal around the world, a legalization bill by the U.S. congress will jolt the online sports betting universe into hyper action.
If the legalization does go through, companies like Microsoft already have a patent in place for real-time bet placing through mobile devices and online sites.
We’ll end with a great quote from John Avello, a Vegas veteran and executive director of Wynn Race and Sports:
“If the stock market started today, it would probably be looked at as gambling.”
The post How to Prepare for the Future of Online Sports Betting appeared first on SlotSpinners.
Picture this: you’re an average everyday person who needs a way to unwind, but you are feeling rather lazy today. You go to Facebook and ask your collection of friends for some idea on what to do. You end up receiving two replies.
The first is from an old high school chum named Steve who believes your free time is bent spent with your head buried in a book recounting the political strife and economic factors that contributed to the decline of the Byzantine Empire, and how it is represented in their discourse. “It’s relevant to today’s geopolitical sphere,” he says.
The second reply you get is from Cassie, who has eight cats, all named after the cast of High School Musical. She suggests you watch the new Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Or maybe High School Musical.
So which Would You Choose?
If you went with the discourse on a thousand-year-old empire, well I applaud your enthusiasm for knowledge from lands far away in both time and place. I also assume you are a bit like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Most people, however, would go with the Gilmore Girls (their banter is rather witty.)
Why are humans like that? Why do we usually prefer the easy lifting rather than the heavy load of thought at the end of the day? The reason has to do with meta-healing that goes on when you indulge in a bit of escapism. It’s your break from the life of harsh realities. It’s how you heal.
You Don’t Escape Life; You Just Pause It
In the modern world with our focus on productivity and success, escapism has gotten a bit of a bad wrap. People today are always thinking big and trying to “make the most,” of every situation. We ignore the small things in life in a constant quest for relevance.
The truth is though, There’s nothing wrong with a little piece of escapism. In fact there are multiple types of escapism, and some are absolutely necessary for your overall mental health.
There is bad escapism of course. Drinking your problems away or using and trying to escape through drugs is an all too typical cliche of this type. Reading can be it too. When I had social issues in school, I buried myself in science fiction books. Simply finding a way to hide from your problems usually only makes them worse.
Good escapism can be learning a new school or tending your garden. It’s something you’ve learned to channel for your overall good. This isn’t to say the type of escapism that Gilmore Girls can’t be the right kind because it has no long term benefits – it comes down to you to differentiate between what helps you overall and what does not.
Simple Can be Simply Good
A little repression and avoidance can go a long way towards your mental health as long as they are used in moderation. The words typically have a negative context, but if you understand when you should let your brain forget a bit, it can be a potent weapon for further productivity in the future.
Back to our original question. There is a real reason most will choose the easy activity rather than the more difficult when they want to relax. It lets our brain take a break. I know this all sounds obvious, but it bears saying. Humans have evolved to want to give our brains a break.
Nostalgia for the innocence of childhood is something we don’t readily accept within our longing for relaxation very often, but it is there. We like to feel childish and relate to a time when things were easier. Though our brains develop quite a bit over time – we are never truly a different person than we were when we found great pleasure in childish nonsense. If you look at most popular comedies – one of the best relaxers – you see childishness abound.
Comfort food is another great example of simple pleasures that help us avoid the realities. Most don’t relax with fantastic dishes; we enjoy something simple that tastes good – look at the majority of “comfort food” available and you’ll see what I mean.
So these stolen moments of nothingness are simply your way of helping your brain and body hit the reset button. They are hard-wired into us. Remind yourself of that when society guilts you for taking a break. Without breaks, we could never be as productive.
Think of it more like the screensaver on a computer. Running at full speed all the time simply isn’t healthy, and just going into sleep mode isn’t always practical either.
Games may require some skill and thought, something theoretically the opposite of relaxing, but their ability to pull us out of the real world and into the game world has shown to go a long way towards us letting our cares go. Letting worry go is more efficient even than simply taking a rest from thought – actively engaging your brain in an unrelated activity – completely separate from your everyday thoughts – can do wonders. This is why chess has been around in various forms for a couple of thousand years. It’s also why some people can find that book on the Byzantines just as relaxing.
Spin & Heal
Slot machine games are as simple as it gets. Can’t argue anything else. You simply hit a button and hope. Then you just go ahead and do it all over again. Its simple, but its actively engaging and distracting. The stakes keep you drawn to it, and the simplicity helps you relax. It’s a two in one, and this is why slots have continued to be widely popular forms of escapism for over a hundred years.
Meta-healing requires you to completely divest yourself from reality. Its why we love slots, they maintain your entire focus as long as that reel is spinning. There are few things like it for those few moments. The chance that it can lead to instant win at any moment, the hope – it helps you engaged fully.
All life needs the yin and the yang. Treat yourself right and you will find you have the capacity to work harder than ever. Its always easier to push when you know you have a reward waiting.
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Humanity used to thrive on myths. Legend helped us understand nature and why the world was the way that it was. We believed supernatural creatures walked that land and that the gods treated us as playthings – the modern world has come to kill most myths. The word itself now is used as the antithesis of fact.
It is the time in our collective conscience to put aside myths altogether. I don’t mean only in the sense that Poseidon roams the seas or that lightning stems from Zeus, rather the myths that still haunt us throughout our daily lives. Everywhere you look superstition still abounds, just look at the movie The Secret or do a google search of “real love spells” to see what I mean. Myths aren’t real and it’s time we grew up a little bit.
Gambling, Especially Slot Machines, Attract Many Myths
We are going to break down and do away with some of the most prevalent of the myths that still inhabit the world of slot machines. It’s time to wash away these beliefs and reveal the truth underneath – for all our sakes.
So there you go. Maybe you yourself believed some of the untruths about slots. Now you know better. It’s important you understand and pass on this information so others can stop dwelling in the world of superstition.
What We’ve Learned and What it Means
The graph makes it clear that every spin of the slots is independent of the rest. No machine knows when its time for someone to win, and there is nothing you can do to make it happen. Those that claim otherwise are operating under a form of delusion and groupthink that has been powerful enough to last generations.
Slots and Games are meant to be entertaining, and we can make it so for many once again. No more sleuth work, no more trying to beat the system, just play the game. There is no trick or secret to hitting it big other than perseverance. The Jackpot will always be just as close and just as far as its always been.
Stories are Worth Having, but You Must Know They are Stories
Everyone wants the ability to know fact from fiction, to discern what is happening from what will happen and to guide their lives accordingly. When you spin the slots, you let go of control and give yourself up to chance. Don’t let the belief in false control keep you from that reality. Be free and have fun.
When you aren’t gambling feel free to let your mind wander into the realm of the fanciful and majestic. Gods, dwarves, spirits – I enjoy the what if’s in life but I also try to understand when is the correct time to let the mind wander. We can’t all wear the tinfoil hat forever.
Slots are a machine of reality, made for fun. Don’t mix them up with anything else. It’s time to let the slot machine myths die.
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Everyone who plays at some points decides what their favorite slot machine is. But why do we choose one over the other? The question may not be as straightforward as one would think. Sure we give reasons like “That’s my lucky game,” or “I like the feel of it better.” but when you look into it, those answers provide no actual concrete reason.
Maybe you got lucky on an individual machine a few times, or maybe you just like the look or graphics it uses – I like the South Park game because of my history and enjoyment of the show sure – but why would that make me want to gamble with it? A friend of mine likes Gonzo’s Quest Game due to their love for South America. It’s strange though when you step back and realize these reasons have little to do with the actual game itself.
One of the least explained (and least common reasons were given) the soundtrack of the slot games. Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but go a few games really listening to the accompanying sounds. Try it with the sound off and see how much faster you get bored. This is as evident in games as it is with movies. Go ahead and test it.
Sound Affects Us More Than we Know
Julian Treasure is famous for his knowledge in how sound affects viewers and players. He is paid large sums to consult on how best to use and employ sound across a wide spectrum of mediums. He likes to break down the way sound affects us into four categories.
The first one is the physiological reaction. Sound and music can actually increase our cortisone levels and heart rate, so the reaction can be very physical.
The second is psychological. Humans have evolved to listen to their surroundings and react accordingly. We jump at loud sounds and feel reassured when we hear birds singing – these are all survival mechanisms taught to us by nature. Your brain is built around assessing sound and reacting accordingly.
The third is cognitive. This separates from the second in that it is our active listening nature. It is best described by a phenomenon like our inability to understand two voices talking at once. We have an absolute limit on what’s possible for us to listen to consciously.
The last category is behavior. This is sort of combination of the three others. Think about when I was 17, and a fast rock song would come on as I drove – it made me want to go faster. My brain, my heart rate, and nature all kicked in and put me in the mood for speed do to the queues in the song.
Listen to the Slot
So let’s get back to the slots. Every slot machine has its own unique soundtrack, and this is something you should start paying attention to. It can help you understand your own behavioral patterns. Did you ever think about why many slot machines always go back to that mechanical clicking sound, you know the one I’m talking about -its been used for almost a hundred years. Why? There is something we learned about those noises.
The world of video slots has opened up a whole new realm of sights and sounds for which to attract and retain players; we should begin to be conscious of it and be aware. They are focused around keeping us from being bored and playing more than ever.
Studies on the Effect of Slot Game Sounds
Studies were done by the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo recently conducted a study about how sound affects our slot playing habits. It was 13 pages long. The took nearly a hundred experienced players and split them off into groups. One group played the games sound and all; the other got the silent treatment. Both groups were monitored for a number of psychological and physiological changes.
The results came in, and there was little surprise when it was proven that sound motivated players to continue playing and kept them much more engrossed in the game in general. Sounds make players play more for reasons wholly separate from the game.
So pay attention when you play to the sounds you hear. Small rewards like free spins and the like will always cue particular noises made to have an effect on you. Try to be conscious of this, and you could learn quite a bit about yourself and how much goes on under the surface of your consciousness.
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So you’re feeling lucky, have a few bucks on you, and want to see if things will get better if you spin the reels or play a few rounds of Blackjack. There is a psychology that surrounds the habit of gambling and it begins way before you step foot into that casino.
There’s a reason this topic has been heavily researched: people love to gamble! There is usually a chance at getting lucky, but sometimes it comes with a cost. It’s interesting to see the difference in people who just can’t stop even in the face of losing, and those who can walk away when they begin to lose.
We want to dive deeper into this matter and see what exactly causes gamblers to become addicts.
Gambling is Everywhere
Land-based casinos are everywhere, you can find them in America, Europe, Asia, and if in the least likely chance that you don’t live near one, you have online-casinos. They are everywhere. Fun fact: the country with the highest number of casinos is surprisingly the United States (surprising because gambling is illegal in many states) followed by France.
If you live in a country, state, or region that doesn’t allow commercial gambling than you probably have other forms of gambling such as lotteries, charitable gambling, or even Native American gaming. Yes, gambling doesn’t just mean poker and slots!
We can’t forget Las Vegas, or as we like to call it: Disney World for adults. It should come as no surprise that Las Vegas has the highest revenue at 6.51 billion!
So the availability of gambling, online and in the real world, is a strong motivator behind the psychology of gambling – it is simply everywhere, accessible with ease. It’s like you wouldn’t go out of your way for some ice cream, but if pass the ice cream parlor every day, you are much more likely to consume more of it.
It Stimulates the Brain
The chances of losing are usually higher than winning. However, every time we roll the dice or spin the reel there’s the adrenaline pumping sensation that gets the endorphins going. Before we even learn if we won or lost, the act of gambling makes us feel great. We know we probably going to lose (the house always wins, remember?) still, it’s fascinating how we are so inclined to take that risk.
While gamblers can’t control the outcome, they can control the input. It gives them that illusion that they are in control. Sadly, the only thing that is in control is chance, the chance to maybe win. We get tricked, by our own brain, into believing we’re in control.
The excitement activates the striatum in the brain. It’s the part of the brain that makes us feel like we’re doing a great job and motivates us to keep going. It is sometimes referred to as the brain’s Reward Center. It’s not the most knowledgeable canter there is: It doesn’t differentiate between gambling, and winning a noble peace prize.
There’s a lot of excitement and a false sense of optimism that comes along with gambling. It’s a part of our psyche to believe that we’re the exception and today we’ll be the one to hit that jackpot. It’s a lovely thought but sadly, it’s just our brain playing tricks on us. The reality? Most of us lose when we gamble. It’s statistically proven that the majority of people lose more than they win. You may want to think again.
Finding the Right Balance
We get it, it’s fun, because maybe you will win. We also so sadly disprove, however, of your constant desire to gamble more and more. There is a perfect mindset you need to adopt, in order to avoid the pits of addiction: be both realistic AND optimistic. If you mustered that, you’re in the clear.
With more than 15 million people addicted to gambling, it’s a challenging task to quit. And addiction is a slippery slope: once you can’t kick one habit, others might start to pile on. You are at risk becoming addicted to drugs, food, alcohol and much more. Not so fun!
Gambling addicts are more likely to suffer from a depression. So finding that healthy balance between realism and optimism will keep you safe down the road.
At first it’s all just fun, spin, and wins. Until you get addicted. So watch out!
How to Play it Safe
While gambling doesn’t impair your physical state, it can be just as addictive as substances. There is a feeling of euphoria when we play and those vulnerable to addiction can more easily become dependent on those psychological triggers.
It doesn’t matter how responsible a person you are, the strongest types of people can become susceptible to gambling addiction. Irresponsible behavior may be displayed in order to maintain that euphoria, it doesn’t matter what walk of life that person comes from. Whether you’re rich or struggling, and no matter what your financial background is, you definitely want to avoid incurring a mountain of debt and keep that healthy balance we discussed earlier.
An addict is an addict. The same functions of the brain are triggered in all addicts. It’s those psychological feelings of euphoria and serotonin that empower gamblers. There is hope though. Compulsive gambling is a treatable psychological problem.
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Most people don’t think of gambling as a risky habit. But when the occasional gambler can’t control the habit anymore and becomes an addict, that’s when things turn south. It’s important to understand the risks of gambling in order to avoid them, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, while allowing the occasional spin of the reels or roll of the dice.
Especially since Las Vegas transformed itself to a “family holiday destination”, gambling is mostly seen as a pastime activity, not much different than other grownup plays. It’s fun and games, with a side of drinks and friends—what can be so bad? It doesn’t need to, so let’s look at the traps that must be avoided.
Being surrounded by loving family and supportive friends is one of life’s greatest accomplishments. Personal relationships nourish and brighten our day and give us a reason to live. It’s important for most of us to be a reliable and active when it comes to our personal relationships.
When the occasional gambler starts to develop an addiction things can get complicated. There’s a sense of stress and negativity for the family members watching their loved one getting sucked in to a vicious cycle.
There’s the usual money argument: why this person is spending so much money on gambling? Why are debt collectors chasing us down? When you spend more than you can afford to lose, that’s a serious red flag. Some gamblers are seeking out happiness, hope, and good fortune from the games they are playing but little do they know it’s more harmful than helpful.
There is research showing that some gamblers choose the game over their loved ones, they’ll miss family birthdays, important events and even neglect children just to have a shot at a potential big win.
Children who live in an environment with gambling addicts run the risk of also growing up to become addicted. They might grow up with anxiety problems, as this what happens when a parent or family member is absent in dire times.
Rather than focusing on performing well at work, gambling addicts can show up late for work from a long night of gambling at an online or land-based casino. This is a direct cause for loss of productivity.
It’s not a very bright day when you show up to work hardly able to function. It also doesn’t help when there is Internet access at work, which leads a lot of gambling addicts to play at work as well. There is truly a risk of losing your job when a gambler displays this type of behavior.
Then there is also the opposite scenario. Gambling addicts will do anything they can to get promoted and work hard just to blow up their salary on gambling. It’s that “just one more win” excessive mentality that becomes not only a professional risk but also a life risk.
Mental & Physical Health
When gamblers win, they achieve a natural high, riding strong on adrenaline and serotonin. When they lose though, the self-esteem declines and there’s more suffering from anxiety, stress, and moodiness. All that obsessing over wins can bring on blood pressure issues and muscular tension problems.
Addicted gamblers live in constant stress and always look for relief ways. Many of them turn to cigarettes, a gateway substance to the effects of cancer, heart problems and skin problems.
Alcohol abuse is another unfortunate coping mechanism of the addict. This is not just bad for the body but also for the brain. Gambling addiction takes over mental and physical health and can also sadden the lives of loved ones watching everything unfold.
It’s Difficult to Stop
It is! It’s hard to end an addiction because oftentimes the person is in denial of being an addict. They truly believe that because gambling addiction isn’t a drug or alcohol addiction so it’s not dangerous.
Continuing to invest money only fuels the “I will eventually get lucky” delusional mentality so the addict continues to sink and it becomes harder and harder to back out. It doesn’t seem “bad” to them and even if it does, there is a sense of humiliation that comes with the situation they don’t want to face – admitting they have a serious problem.
People who gamble excessively usually have mixed feelings about what they’re doing and they know exactly the problems they are causing but still, it’s just too hard for them to stop.
So, When Does it End?
Can a gambling addiction be controlled or even reversed? Can the addict prevail and all move on with his life?
If your loved one is dealing with the dangerous risks of gambling it is wise to seek out professional help. There are people out there trained to handle tough situations like these that can help addicts find a better path in life and heal from their destructive past.
It may be a long journey until your friend or family member heals from their addiction. As long as you are supportive, providing them with love and care, things will get better.
Gambling problems are not something to take lightly. They really hurt whole families and put a strain on professional and personal relationships. Whether its cards or slots, gambling should be entertaining and fun. Its okay to gamble a lot and it’s okay to gamble a little, but what is important is that it doesn’t become an issue that takes over one’s life.
The secret is to enjoy the gambling and keep it under control, without it becoming a risk.
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From fruit slots to fantasy slots, the new generation of slot machine themes now include something for every type of player.
The world of online slot machine gambling has skyrocketed in the past decade, evolving into a global industry valued in the tens of billions of dollars. Between 2005 and 2015, revenue from online casino gambling tripled, and has shifted the way everything associated with the industry is viewed.
The idea that online gaming mainly attracts younger men is heavily outdated. Current research shows that the online gaming demographic has expanded to include both women and older age groups.
This growth in online slot gambling is due in large part to the industry’s embracing of demographics through themes meant to attract players of all ages and genders.
The huge increase in the number of slot games available online, with themes ranging from classic slots that are loaded with fruits and jewels to newer slots based on movies, TV shows and pop culture icons, has created an all-inclusive culture, where everyone is welcome and all preferences and desires are accounted for.
By understanding the demographics of gamers and figuring out what they want out of a game, slot designers have been able to greatly expand on the typical user experience by creating a heavy arsenal of themes that appeal to all kinds of players.
So forget everything you knew about online slots and dare to be pulled in with these stellar slot themes.
Movie Slots – Banking on Cinema’s Mass Appeal
A well designed online slot machine can take up to a year from the moment an idea is pitched until a gamer sees it online.
With all of this time and money invested in each individual slot game, a blockbuster movie with mass appeal and staying power can be a lucrative investment of both time and money.
The greatest examples are the superhero themed games which are an instant draw for gamers browsing through hundreds of games.
Try These Superhero Slots
· Iron Man
· The Incredible Hulk
· Captain America
· The Avengers
While the superhero theme has broad appeal for the younger generation, the movie category also includes big blockbusters that appeal to the 30-40 year old crowd – such as Ghostbusters and Life of Brian, the religious satire that came out in 1979 and whose lines have been incessantly quoted by an entire generation that grew up on Monty Python – and also to the younger market with big time comedies like The Hangover.
Big Blockbuster Slot Games:
· The Dark Knight
· Star Trek
· The Hangover
· Life of Brian
And a popular movie with mass appeal can inspire lots of spinoffs. The Wizard of Oz, probably the most popular theme in the movie category, has classic self-titled slots and has spurred numerous spin-offs with plenty of ruby slippers, cowardly lions and tornadoes flying across the screen.
Wizard of Oz Spin offs:
· Ruby Slippers
· Winnings of Oz
· Wizard of Oz Wicked Riches
Fruit Slots Keep it Classic with Cherries, Lemons and Grapes
Fruit slots are the ultimate in what slot designers refer to as “no frills, all thrills” slots. These slots most resemble the classic slot games one would expect to find in almost any casino, in any city in the world.
Classic Fruit Themed Slots:
· Fruit Shop
· Quick Hit
· Power Stars
· Burning Hot
The purity of the design appeals to the demographic that enjoys slots at their most elemental essence – without any of the distracting sounds or superfluous graphics. This simplicity is what causes fruit slots to consistently rank among the most popular online slot games.
Show me the Money – Diamonds, Gold, Jewels and Gems
Like their fruit themed cousins, diamond and gold slots are rooted in classic slot machine design, usually accompanied with simple, shiny, gem-like symbols and music that’s meant to be left in the background, happily encouraging the player with chimes and bells.
Top Jewel-Themed Slots
· Cool Jewels
· Dazzle Me
· Versailles Gold
A recent study on the habits of slot machine players found that the second most important factor influencing a player’s game choice is perceived chance of winning followed by level of fun, which might help explain why diamond slots are so popular.
The names themselves and the flashy jewels and diamonds evoke a sense of richness and imminent windfall – which can be very attractive to any player.
Luring Gamers with Fantasy Slots
Online slots lack the advantage that atmosphere provides to the casino experience – the people, the music, the drinks, the flashing lights – which keeps players sitting, engaged and spending money.
But that absence is more than made up for by the way online slot designers approach user experience.
And one theme that has really taken off in the past few years is fantasy slots.
Fantasy Slots for Every Player:
Vampires, Pirates and Leprechauns:
· Captain Quid’s Treasure Chest
· Leprechaun’s Fortune
· Merlin’s Millions
Fantasy has broad appeal and is popular among males and females alike.
Slot designers latched onto a gaming trend that has been around since before online slots ever existed – the role playing, Zelda fan, pixie fairy, dungeon keeper, quest game community which made up the rudimentary beginnings of what online gaming would eventually become.
Many of the characters and symbols used in these slots are instantly recognizable to gamers who came of age in the decades when computer play was limited to pre-installed strategy games like Adventure, Age of Wonders and the 7th Guest.
If you’re a quest-loving gamer who’s new to slots, try out these sweet games –
· Gonzo’s Quest
· Temple Quest
· Magic Portals
And for the gambler whose fantasy interests are more in line with female warriors wielding swords and armor and blonde haired goddesses wielding magical scepters, try these games –
Warriors and Goddesses:
· Moon Warriors
· Samurai Princess
· Pixies of the Forest
· Druidess Gold
Touring the Ancient World, From the Comfort of your Computer
Probably the broadest of the slot machine categories, the Ancient world theme encompasses everything from Zeus and Cleopatra to Aztec power and the Mighty Sphinx. The category is a stand out because of the graphics, theme specific music and its mass appeal.
A well thought out and successful theme will often be repeated in various games, and variations on the Egyptian themed slots can be found by the dozens. The theme draws on the imagination of players, using symbols, sound and music to tell a story and create a world for total player immersion.
· Book of Ra
· Egyptian Magic
Greek and Roman themed games are another classic that slot fans really love.
Greek and Roman Slot Games
· Thundering Zeus
· The Mighty Atlas
And if the above mentioned themes don’t seem too appealing, there’s plenty more themes within the category whose music and symbols span the globe.
· Choy Sun Doa
· Koi Princess
· Book of Maya
· Aztec Power
· Genie’s Treasure
· Arabian Nights
· Aladdin’s Treasure
· Da Vinci Diamonds
TV Slots – Transferring Content from One Screen to Another
Television shows as a slot theme works so well as a general theme because there’s so much room within the genre to target very specific demographics.
And among the broader category, game shows are wildly popular.
Game Show Slots
· Wheel of Fortune
· Deal or no Deal
· The Price is Right
Game shows naturally lend themselves to slot games, and the music and sounds associated with these game shows are so recognizable that it provides players with a feeling of familiarity and nostalgia.
Melissa Price, senior vice president of gaming for Caesar’s Entertainment, reinforced this notion, commenting on the emotional appeal of games like Wheel of Fortune.
In conducting a study to find out why people love that particular slot game so much, Price said, “People said, ‘That brand — I used to hear it in the living room at my grandma’s house, I’d hear that wheel spinning because my grandma watched it. It reminds me of my grandma.’ I mean, how can you compete with that?”
Other TV Themed Slots to Look Out For
Big Name TV Shows
· Star Trek
· The Twilight Zone
· Sex and the City
· The Sopranos
Reality shows have seeped into the television routines of millions of people, holding audiences captive and becoming the go-to guilty pleasure of choice. So creating slots based on these highly addicting reality shows was kind of an obvious choice, satisfying the the fan hidden away in all of us.
· Pawn Stars
· American Idol
From Archer to The Simpsons to the complete media takeover of Seth McFarlane, animated television is no longer child’s play. Animated slots target that lucrative millennial market whose business companies around the world fawn over.
· Family Guy
· South Park
Slot maker IGT seized on the growing demographics of women in their 40’s and 50’s, who have embraced online slot machines, and recently came out with an Ellen Degeneres Show slot.
The company advertised the game as “’the next best thing to having Ellen dancing right by your side.’ Complete with Ellen-related imagery such as VIP passes, boxer shorts and of course Ellen’s face but also clips from the TV show and voiceovers.”
· Judge Judy
· Ellen DeGeneres
Beauty, Romance and Fashion for the Female Sector
In terms of Internet use, there’s no difference between the number of men and women surfing the web. According to a Pew Research study, today, 85% of men and 84% of women report being internet users.
Yet in terms of online gambling, women are a subset that have often been overlooked, with some studies showing that as few as 18% of online gamblers are women.
But that seems to be changing. According to a 2015 report prepared for the United Kingdom Gambling Commission there was a jump in popularity in gambling among women from 2008 to 2014.
As proof of a push to appeal to this growing demographic, slot designers have started to create a lot of female-centric games.
Lifestyle Games for the Fashionista
· Ladies Night
· High Fashion
· Dress up Diva
Some games, especially in the beauty and romance sector, depict more of a male idea of what women want – filled with symbols of lipstick, purses, perfume, long haired Casanovas and shirtless men holding colorful drinks. But the themes seem to be working, as more and more women flock to the world of online gambling.
Check out these Beauty and Romance games
· Beauty Salon
· Peek Physique
· Hearts of Venice
· Starlight Kiss
Capturing Male Gamers with Cars, Crime and Sci-Fi
It’s not too difficult to dive into the male psyche. Men are often stereotyped as easy to read and in possession of few, simple pleasures.
So in creating slot themes for this demographic, designers could have stopped at Bier Haus, a popular theme on a German beer hall, complete with background noise from a crowded bar, or Drive Multiplier Mayhem whose symbols depict fast cars and tough crime bosses.
· American Gigolo
· Party Night
But instead, slot makers took this theme and ran with it, creating dozens of games geared towards male players.
Cars and Crime
· Road Trip Max Ways
· The Wild Chase
· After Night Falls
Bikinis and Beer
· Bikini Party
· Bikini Beach
Sci-fi and Horror
· Blood Suckers
· Dangerous Beauty
Location Themed Games – Vegas Casinos, London Streets and Parisian Cafes
Many gamers prefer playing slots online – there are progressive jackpots, payoffs tend to be higher, the variety is immense and you can play from the comfort of your own home.
But sometimes you still want the casino feel and the energy that only a gambling mecca like Las Vegas can provide.
· Vegas Joker
· Viva Las Vegas
· Vegas Nights
And for players who want to feel like they’ve been transported to another place entirely, there’s plenty of slot themes out there that can help.
Famous Cities around the World
· Road to Rio
· Love from London
· Café Paris
The furrier side of things – The dominance of animal slots
Animal slots are another of the themes that as a category have broad appeal, but within the category different games appeal to a very specific target audience. There are kittens and lions and dolphins and pandas and plenty more to appeal to every kind of animal lover and gamer.
· Great Blue
· Dolphin Reef
Furry Felines and Zoo Animals
· OMG Kittens
· Kitty Glitter
· Wild Panda
· Raging Rhino
Big Name Acts in Music-Themed Slots
The music category is filled with big name acts whose self-titled games ferry players to the arena stage, giving them the chance to live the rock and roll lifestyle, if only for just a brief moment every day.
The Kiss and Guns N Roses games include their own distinct Intros which make the player feel like they’re at a concert, complete with screaming crowds, loud guitar riffs and video footage from concerts past.
Big Time Bands
· Guns n Roses
And games aren’t only reserved for big time glam rockers. Vegas staple and the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley, has his own slot game, which begins with images of the King flashing across the screen and symbols that include a hound dog, blue suede shoes and a hip-gyrating illustrated Elvis. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, Jimi Hendrix and Dolly Parton also have their own themed slot games.
· Michael Jackson King of Pop
· Elvis the King Lives
· Cabaret Nights
· DJ Wild
· Jazz of New Orleans
· At the Copa
A Theme for Everyone
According to a 2013 study on the influence of themes on slot players, most gamers said they have a favorite slot machine theme and that they prefer to play a slot machine that falls within the theme.
The reasoning, the study hypothesized, was that the symbols of these games are greatly important to the player because they are the primary focus during the game, as they determine the player’s outcome.
In choosing which online slot to play there is a lot more to consider than just theme – the Return to Player Value, finding the right balance between action and reward, optional bonus play and rewards, pay lines and the number of reels.
But it seems that in trying to appeal to a wide variety of people, the unique and abundant themes – and within those themes the symbols, music and overall feel of the game – are instrumental in attracting and keeping players of all types.
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Building an app, website, social product or online game? You’ll be surprised at how many things you can learn from the slot machine design and how it creates an unbreakable habit necessary for successful products.
We’ve all heard of gamification (elements of game-design applied to non-game products) but have you heard of slotification?
Slot machines go beyond just the flashy lights and cha-ching-ing of the coins. They’ve mastered the job of getting players hooked, better known as Slotification. This concept combines elements of gamefication with the four stages of forming a habit and provides a world of insight on how to build effective digital products.
Slot Machines Are One of the Most Successful Products Ever Designed
If you doubt the above statement, get this: slot machines have been around since 1895, growing in popularity in a steady pace. These days, about 80% of casino floors in the world are filled with slot machines; the rest is divided between the green felt tables.
According to a CBS survey, Americans now spend on slot machines more than movies, baseball and theme parks combined. And this is with only three states where gambling is legal.
The Machine Zone – Conquering Attention Retention
Slot machine designers have mastered the art of attention retention.
In her influential book, Addiction by Design, MIT anthropologist Natasha Schüll coined the phrase slotification and explains this retention phenomenon by her Machine Zone theory. It’s just like when you’re in “the zone” only it’s the “machine zone” where there is no sense of time, money, space, or any of your basic needs.
Sounds familiar? Let’s think of the “Facebook zone” when you’re nothing but a scrolling thumb looking at pictures of your friend’s ex boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend’s photo album of backpacking in Europe. Wait a minute, how did you get to that page? You can keep that answer to yourself.
That’s right, you’re hooked to social media and that’s thanks to the four stages of forming a habit as prescribed by Nir Eyal, a tech entrepreneur that has spent his career in the gaming and advertising industries mastering these techniques of manipulating and motivating users.
Trigger – prompts the user to take an action
Action – leads the user to the anticipation of a reward
Reward – reaction from other users or from the product
Investment – the more you use the product the more valuable it becomes
The Flow Of Retention
Almost every digital product these days work on the same principles as slot machines. Why? Because they all thrive to achieve the same level of attention retention.
Schüll illustrates the flow in slot machines as follows:
The activity must have a goal
The rules for attaining this goal must be clear
The activity must give feedback
The tasks of the activity must present a challenge
Let’s think of Tinder and see if it’s a match.
There is a goal – finding a date (or garnering some attention)
The rules are clear – both of you need to swipe each other right
The feedback – Match, or lack of
The challenge – appearing attractive
It works with any other successful App or product out there. Give it a try and see for yourself.
But creating the flow is only half the work. The other half is making sure your users will come back for more and more flows.
Hook Your Users
Successful products cause their users to form a habit.
Digital product designers are after habitual use. They want their products to become an inseparable part of the user’s life. If any one product achieved this it is Facebook.
Facebook is astonishingly habitual. According to recent studies, Facebook makes up 11% of all time spent online in the US. Average time on Facebook by its users: 400 minutes a month.
To understand why, let’s look at the four stages of the hook and how they contribute to form the habit of use.
We have: Trigger, Action, Reward, and Investment.
Connect Problems and Solutions
Eyal defines these four stages as the way to connect the user’s problem to the company’s solution in order to form a habit.
We can all agree Facebook realized the world’s inhabitants would actually want to connect with others and see what they’re doing 24/7.
Realizing a problem is a task of its own. So you had a problem, you successfully designed the product but now, how do you justify the frequency of using it?
Let’s break it down stage-by-stage using some of today’s popular apps: Tinder, Snapchat, and Facebook. A little bit of love, humor, and stalking for good measure.
There are two different types of triggers: external and internal.
External triggers a call to actions such as “click here”, “play this” etc.
Internal triggers are also call to actions but are motivated by emotions, memories, associations. Perhaps if you’re feeling bored, tired, confused, or frustrated then that’ll influence your decisions.
Tinder feeds into the triggers by feeding you with singles ready to mingle with their modern day version of the a/s/l.
Feel badly that you didn’t go out this weekend? Snapchat will feed into you being nosey and provide you with a 24 hour time limit to check out everyone’s party-hopping Saturday night at the hottest club. The 10 seconds will leave you wanting more.
And your internal triggers might make you feel antsy if you don’t check up on your Facebook newsfeed–you might miss out on who just got engaged or promoted at their job.
Why do we keep on swiping right or left on Tinder or pressing through the story of someone we hardly know on Snapchat? We do it because we’re anticipating a reward that hopefully something amusing will happen. That’s the action.
Maybe today on Facebook something extraordinary and “omg” worthy will happen. Or maybe not.
Our actions promote habitual behavior. Higher motivation and simplicity is all it takes to form that habit.
Here again Tinder is a prime example. Our motivation on Tinder is extremely high—we all want to meet quality people and have long lasting relationships (no laughing) and it is unbelievable to achieve by swiping right. Or so we’re led to believe.
Our brain is most active in anticipation of a reward.Once we get the reward, our excitement actually subsides.
It’s always when you match with that cute person on Tinder that the reward is feeling good someone admires you but that quickly subsides with blasé feelings. You eventually start to stress about who will initiate the conversation first and if you’re missing out on someone else.
The same applies for Snapchat and Facebook. The feeling of knowing you’re “in the know” is the reward but the important thing for product designers is keeping you in a constant stage of anticipation. It’s about finding that perfect balance between anticipation and reward.
Pigeon in a Box
Once upon a time there was a behavior psychologist named B.F. Skinner who put pigeons in a box (poor fellas.)
He conditioned them so that the action of pressing a lever would reward them with food. Once they got used to it he randomized the rewards. Some actions had food, some had zilch.
So what happened? The pigeons anticipated the reward.
Action vs. Reward Balance
When actioned were rewarded too often, the pigeons could care less and decreased the number of actions.
When the actions were rarely rewarded, the pigeons decreased the number of actions because they lost all hope.
As a product designer you want to find the right balance of action vs. reward. If a slot player never gets a big win on a game chances are he’ll find another game. If you never find a date on Tinder you’ll probably go and join OkCupid.
Feed Me, Feed
The Facebook feed.
It’s the quintessential modern day town square filled with gossiping plebeians.
The feed’s purpose is to keep you wanting more and stay up to date with everyone’s business.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin—they are all built around feed algorithms.
Facebook wins when you give into the feed by posting happy birthday to that guy you sat next to on an airplane and never spoke or saw again.
Find the Right Balance and You’ll Crack Retention
Slot machine designers have spent years zeroing on the exact rate of return that keeps players satisfied, but not too comfortable. If it’s too easy, players lose interest. If it’s too difficult, they’ll go find something better.
So don’t get angry when Grandma sends you Candy Crush life requests through Facebook, blame the designers for finding the right balance!
The final stage is Investment. You’ll need to figure out a way to make translate the investment of time and actions in the product to value.
Unlike physical products that depreciate in value after wear-and-tear, digital products become more valuable the more they’re used. Google Drive is one important asset when you’ve uploaded hundreds of files. It becomes a treasure and all hell will break loose if your family photos get deleted. It’s an investment that becomes tangible.
Completing the Circle: Gamification To Slotification
Back in 2009, Foursquare was one of the first to introduce the idea of gamification to a non-gaming product with the introduction of the Badges. In those days, you really wanted to be the Mayor of your local bar so you would compete with everyone on Foursquare for the title.
That gamification fad has evolved into slotification.
Now it’s all about time spent on product, slotification. Incorporating the principles of slot design, the flow of retention, and the four stages of forming a habit into product design can help you create more successful products.
Today, it’s about products that not only swallow you in for long stretches of time but ones that create value for the users in return of their investment of time and effort.
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