#291: Calmbling machine

Gambling for most people is harmless enough…you pay some money for some small anticipative thrills in connection with the possibility of winning a pocketful of cash.

For others, the whole process is fraught with danger…addiction wrecks lives, for both gamblers and their families.


Today’s invention is a slot, or other form of gaming machine, which is designed to help.

A machine would be able detect which individuals may be exhibiting addictive behaviour (by eg monitoring responses to offers by the machine to bet increasing amounts of stored ‘credits’ and by sensing the frequency and intensity of button pushes etc).

In the event that a machine had been used continuously in this frantic fashion for more than a few minutes, it could simply stop working and provide a telephone number for Gamblers Anonymous, a short video message from an ex-gambler celebrity or it might subtly and gradually reduce the small payoffs which make these games addictive. Lessening the tension for individuals who are keen to experience it would be a good way to decrease their engagement and dissociative behaviour.

Ideally, there should be a reward for walking away before the game is ended by this method. Something like a healthy snack or a badge saying “I beat the calming machine” would at least be better than providing cash which could fund future games. This kind of machine might well be adopted eagerly by gambling businesses, anxious to clean up their greedy, irresponsible image.

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