Scientists did a test with two different mice. The first mouse was put into a cage with a lever. When the mouse pushed the lever nothing happened. After a short period of time the mouse stopped pushing the lever, so no matter how long the mouse was kept in this cage it never pushed the lever again.
The second was put into the same cage with the same lever. However, this time when the mouse pushed the lever it got a treat. The mouse got the treat and ate it then went back and pushed the lever again, but this time the mouse got shocked. After a short period of time the mouse pushed the lever again and was rewarded with a treat. This same pattern continued with the mouse having to get shocked more and more in order to get the treat. A very interesting thing happened. It did not matter who many times the mouse would get shocked, as long as once in a while it would get rewarded with a treat. In fact this mouse continued to shock itself till the point of death. It’s body could no longer endure being shocked, but yet it continued to push the lever in hopes of getting that treat and as a result it was shocked to death.
What does that teach us? That mice are dumb? No, that humans are as dumb as mice! The casinos use these same psychological principles to get people to gamble. From the casinos perspective the best thing that can happen to a first time gambler is that they win. If they leave that casino a winner it is almost guaranteed that person will return and when they do, they will eventually lose that money they won and much more. Even more important is the fact that they will continue to return to the casino in hopes of regaining that experience of that first win, and they are willing to lose a lot of money (Like the mouse being shocked) to get it. As long as they are periodically rewarded they are customers for life. The casinos know that if a person perceives that they have no chance to win they wont play, but if they think they can win and it is periodically reinforced, they will continue to play regardless of the negative effects. Just like the mouse.
“When we put 50 slot machines in, I consider them 50 more mousetraps. You have to have mousetraps to catch a mouse.”Bob Stupak- Casino Owner
A perfect real life example of this is the story of Bob. Bob had recently retired after working for 30 years of teaching the youth of our great country. He was a highly regarded teacher who devoted his life to educating others. When Bob retired he found that he had quite a bit of free time, so he decided to take up a hobby. He decided to do some gambling. That would allow him to get out and travel and have some fun playing the slot machines.
Well guess what? Bob was one “lucky’ guy. On his first visit Bob won $100,000 on a slot machine. The casino quickly upgraded him to a beautiful suite and took care of all his expenses. Bob returned home and a few weeks later he returned to the casino. Again he received the red carpet treatment and his “luck” continued. This time he went home a $50,000 winner.
After that trip things begin to change. Bob was still treated like a king every time he visited the casino, but he slowly lost all the money back that he had won. Not only that, but Bob began losing his own personal money on a consistent basis and his casino trips were becoming more and more frequent. Needless to say this didn’t end well. Bob continued losing his money, in fact he lost every penny he had, including all of his retirement money