Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Addiction Machine (02:13)


Australia is home to a 12 billion dollar gambling industry. In just over 50 years, gambling machines have gone from being illegal to being everywhere. This series examines the perfect addiction of gambling. (Credits)

A History of Pokies (04:44)

In 1956, New South Wales Australia made one-armed bandits legal in community and sporting clubs. Slot machines arrived in bars, clubs, and suburban casinos generating an influx of revenue for the government. Modern slot machines are faster and more intense than any other form of gambling.

Pokies Anonymous (01:59)

Julia Kappatharkis recalls her experiences with gambling addiction. Over 200,000 Australians struggle with pokies and gambling addiction. Pokie machines provide 60 percent of the industries profits.

Las Vegas (04:09)

Marcus Fortunato and Richard Madden explain the logic behind slot machine development. Danny Grantham recalls his first time gambling.

Sounds of Addiction (02:03)

Cameron Munro composes music for pokie machines. Munro explains that positive music keeps player's attention on the machines rather than reality. Pokie machines use classical conditioning to associate certain sounds with rewards.

Gambling Research (03:19)

Doctor Kevin Harrigan has pioneered research about our biological response to pokie machines. Losses disguised as wins, graphics, and sounds reinforce gamblers.

Wizard of Odds (04:36)

Mike Shackleford is a freelance mathematician designing slot machines and analyzing their return percentage. Craps, blackjack, and video poker have higher returns than slot machines. Due to the design of slot machines, the house will win.

Impact of Gambling Addiction (06:13)

Danny Grantham and Sharon Hollamby recount their experiences with gambling addictions. Research conducted by James Olds Peter Milner revealed that stimulating the pleasure center of the brain can override the will to live. With pokie machines, dopamine neurons struggle to predict rewards and increase activity.

MRI and Dopamine (02:01)

The nucleus accumbens produces dopamine. Dr. Hans Briter found that not only is dopamine released in the presence of cocaine, but also in anticipation of the drug. Anticipation is fundamental to reward and explains gambling addiction.

Addictive Design (02:00)

Slot machines are designed to stimulate anticipation which produces dopamine. Near misses occur up to 12 times more often than by chance alone reinforcing dopamine release and addiction.

Comfort of Pokies (06:58)

Carolyn Hirsh recalls her daughter's death and how she became addicted to gambling. Sharon Hollamby and others share their experiences with gambling addiction.

Pokie Nation (07:50)

The poorest communities in Australia have the highest density of gambling machines and lose the most money. Governments rely on pokie taxes for 5 to 8 percent of state raised revenue. Governments and other agencies advocate for responsible gambling.

Gaming Industry (05:30)

Gambling disorder is now coupled with substance abuse in the DSM-V. Proposed legislation to regulate gambling is opposed by clubs, casinos, and politicians who benefit from pokie machines.

Credits: The Addiction Machine (01:05)

Credits: The Addiction Machine

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The Addiction Machine

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Slot machines - they’re rigged, they’re addictive, and they’re everywhere. In a first ever look behind the scenes, this film reveals the highly organized network of mathematicians, musicians, and designers all working toward the single vision of ensuring we lose, and keep on loosing. In addition to hearing from neuroscientists, anthropologists, and game theorists who explain the science behind addiction, we meet those victims who have fallen prey to what they describe as an “unlawful hypnotism.” At the end of this trail of destruction caused by gambling lies the government. Too reliant on revenue to fill budget holes the government has become the greatest addict of all.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL145192

ISBN: 978-1-64198-451-5

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.