Gamblers “In the Zone” at Higher Risk for Problem Gambling [Research]

Gamblers who describe being “in a zone” while playing slot machines are more likely to be at risk for gambling problems, according to new research by the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The study involved participants playing a real slot machine placed in a lab. Panels positioned on each side of the machine displayed changing shapes. Participants were asked to press a button every time they noticed that a white circle on the panels changed into a red square. Researchers also measured participants’ heart rates and asked them questions about their gambling.

The study, which was recently published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, discovered that players with higher levels of immersion, such as feeling like they were in a trance or losing track of time, were at higher risk for developing gambling addiction. Additionally, the researchers found that higher-risk gamblers were also more likely to miss the changing shapes on the panels next to the slot machine.

The study notes that slot machines, a popular form of gambling worldwide, are consistently linked to addictive betting behavior. Luke Clark, senior author and director of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC, said that the findings suggested the potential for a slot machine modification or new features that would promote responsible gambling.

Gambling Resources in Lancaster, PA and Lebanon, PA

If you are a health care or education professional in Lancaster or Lebanon who would like additional problem gambling resources that help you better serve your clients or students, call Compass Mark at 717-299-2831. Also visit:

Gambling Addiction Resources
Treatment Providers in Lancaster, Lebanon, and the Surrounding Area
Gambling Addiction Treatment Blog


One Face of Gambling Addiction: 36-yr-old Mom of 6

“What does a gambling addict look like? Well, in my case a gambling addict looks like a 36-year-old mother of six.”

Those are the words of Kate Seselja, an Australian woman in recovery from compulsive gambling.

Seselja recently wrote a special commentary for CNN about her experiences with gambling, which started with lottery scratch cards as a child. She chronicles how her gambling behavior spiraled out of control over the next decades.

“I would go [to gamble] before work, after work, in lunch breaks, on nights out and days off. It’s easy to see now why some people call Pokies [slot machines] the “crack cocaine” of gambling. I was hooked,” she writes.

By age 32, the addiction had such a hold over Seselja’s life that she considered suicide as she sat pregnant and broke at a slot machine. “The nil balance on the screen was too much…Completely alone and feeling like there was nowhere to turn, my brain was trying desperately to figure out how to kill myself in such a way that my body could be kept alive in order to let my unborn baby be delivered to term.”

Compulsive Gambling Can Affect Anyone.

Problem gambling can impact anyone, regardless of their age, gender, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity. If you’re losing sleep because of gambling–whether it’s your behavior or that of a loved one–it’s time to reach out for a helping hand.

Visit these resources to learn more about gambling addiction:

Compulsive Gambling- The Must-Know Fact for Gamblers & Their Families

Stop Losing Sleep Over Problem Gambling: Do’s and Don’ts for Recovery

Gambling Addiction Treatment Options in the Lancaster/Lebanon Area

Compass Mark guides individuals and families in Lancaster and Lebanon to the resources that help them prevent and heal from addictions like gambling. Call us at 717-299-2831 or get in touch using our simple online help form.


Addictive by Design? How Gambling Machines Can Hook Players [infographic]

Gambling machines, like virtual slots, are designed to get gamblers to spend more money and play for longer periods of time. Check out The Addictive Design of Gambling Machines infographic from Injury Free Nova Scotia, a community-based Canadian group focused on eliminating preventable injuries, including the damage caused by addictions like alcohol and gambling. The infographic was created using info from the Princeton University Press book Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schull.


Learn more in Virtual Slots Cause Addiction Concern, Say Researchers.

To find out if you or someone you love is at risk for problem gambling, take the simple quiz on our home page. You can also contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or use our Gambling Addiction Help Form for no-cost guidance or treatment referrals in Lancaster, PA or Lebanon, PA.