Can you be addicted to slot machines?

Slot machine addiction is a real gambling addiction characterized by a pathological impulse control disorder. But it might be difficult to explain slot machine addiction to others, especially if you are a woman. Author Marilyn Lancelot describes being addicted to slot machines at a GA meeting in early recovery in her book, Gripped by Gambling, here.

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Can men at a GA meeting welcome a slot machine addict?

A group of men were standing by a side door behind the church.  They didn’t look like gamblers, but then I didn’t know what gamblers should look like.  I wondered if any of them had committed the crimes I had committed.  I opened the side door and peeked into the room.  Several men sat in folding chairs around the table. I didn’t see any women.

A tall man with lots of black hair came over to me, blocking the doorway with his huge frame and said, “Hi, my name is Pete S. . .  are you looking for Gam Anon?”

“I don’t know what that is,” I answered.

“Its for women who are married to compulsive gamblers.  You’ll learn how to live with the gambler and how you can change your life. They meet in the room across the hall. Is your husband a gambler?”

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“No, I am.”

He looked me up and down and asked, “YOU are?”

“Yes . . .  the man on the phone said there was a GA meeting here tonight.  I carefully stepped around Pete and slid into an empty chair.  Maybe this was a Men Only meeting and I wondered if they’d let me stay.”

The man sitting next to me reached out his hand and said, “Hi, my name is Don W.  Would you like a cup of coffee?  Are you a compulsive gambler?”

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“Yes, I am.”

“What kind of gambling?”

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“Slot machines.”

He chuckled, “How could you get into trouble playing slot machines?”

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“I got in a lot of trouble.  I lost a lot of money . . .  and I’ve committed a crime.  I didn’t tell him everything because they might not let me stay.”…(to be continued)

Help for slot machine addiction

Do you think you’re addicted to gambling? Please leave us a message, a comment or email.  We will respond ASAP with suggestions.  Or, you can check out these signs of gambling addiction and test yourself for possible compulsive gambling here.

About the author
Marilyn Lancelot is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive gambler with twenty years of recovery. She has authored three books, Gripped by Gambling , Detour, and Switching Addictions. She also publishes a newsletter on-line, Women Helping Women for recovery from gambling. This newsletter has been published for more than 10 years and is read by women and men around the world.


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  1. Hi i am a compulsive gambler now for a few years .I find myself spending my entire check at tha casino for 2 month straight yes my rent money now im about to be evicted from my apartment yet tryna figure out how ima get tha money to pay 2 months rent plus late fees , as soon as my check hit my account im in my car going straight to tha casino and over spending i try not to take my bank card and just spend tha few hundreds i take with me nut qhen thats gone and i havent won any money i find myaelf going back home to get my card hitting tha atm several times. Sitting at tha slot machine i feel like im in a daze and i wanna keep playing and playing hitting tha atm until it finally say ive exceeded my daily amount and thats down to my last dime .Driving home i talk to myself saying how stupid i was for gambling all my rent money again trying to figure out how ima get my rent and what will i tell my landlord one lie after another .i need help

  2. Hi My name is Josephine I play on the local slot machines and of late I have become addicted to them so as a result I have been bard from the casino? Can staff in a casino bar you if you get addicted to slot machines like I have become of late

  3. Still struggling since my last post I guess I’m April. I’m a stubborn, persistant, driven person when I want something. What I want is to have fun and win. I was capable of doing both pretty well, until I started bringing my troubles to the cadino. I’m there mostly to zone out and forget my troubles. But, I’ve just created more financial ones. I would like to know that I can do this, that I can walk in with a set amount, play it, have fun and stop or go when I need to. I just don’t want to believe I can’t get a hold of this thing! I appreciate comments from people that have got themselves back on track. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hello Corina. Here’s a gambling hotline you can call for more information: The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (800-522-4700)

  5. I used to be addicted to slot machines, mostly poker ones. About 5 years ago, suddenly, I found myself indebted (not that much but what is that much? Enough to destroy my life as I knew it). I promised I’d stop. So I did. Slots are actually pretty stupid and I’m sorry I spent money on them, they didn’t even add that much to my life experience…

  6. I hear certain tones on radio commercials, and I associate to a specific slot game. I see images in the opening scene of a syndicated tv show, and it reminds me of one of favorite games. I drive certain routes from work, and it is at one particular turn-off that I choose: do I go on to the casino or do I exit to go home to see my son. I try to rationalize, I’ll only spend …. I’ll try a few pulls and will be home in time to fix dinner. Next thing you know, it’s past my son’s bed time and I’ve spent every dime I can get my hands on. Then, one night, not too long ago, I discovered I had my daughter’s debit card in my wallet. I took it to the Cage. They allowed me to get a cash advance. And, then another. My daughter hasn’t spoke to me since she realized what I did. I’m waiting for the police to knock on my door. I am a compulsive gambler. I am sick and I’ve GOT to be healed!

  7. Hi Marilyn, I wish I had stopped gambling many years ago, when I went to my first GA meeting. If I could only go back and tell myself how much heartache, worry and money I would spare myself. It is so hard to admit to yourself that you have a gambling problem. I have not been to a GA meeting in years, but I know I need to go. I’m not a big fan of attending regular meetings, but I know I would benefit from having a sponsor. I need someone to talk to. After reading others posts, I think that’s what many women need. I was hoping this site would let women talk and share with each other thru blogging? I really need help on how to get out of my financial mess!

  8. I am addicted to slot machine and losing me a lot money. It’s time for to stop. Please help to improve my lifestyle without going to casino.

  9. Hi, I love playing slots, and are resenting the fact that i have to give it up because i finally found something that i can call my own. However, my husband feels I am addicted, and as you can tell by this that I do not think I am addicted (i suppose this is a typical reaction). If i attend the slots once or twice a week, does that make me addicted. I am there from anywhere from 1 to 4 hours when i go.. If i am addicted, are there meetings in Canada, namely around Ingersoll or London Ontario Canada. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  10. Yes, Linda, there are many gamblers out there that are addicted to the slot machines. The games are so rapidly played that the gambler doesn’t even have time to think about the money lost. The machines tell the player that if they didn’t win, they were really close and we are hypnotized into believing our turn will come. I was hooked on the slot machines and joined a twelve-step group which saved my life.

  11. I have terrible addiction to the slot machines. I can go to the casinos and play anything else, and not be compulsive as I am at the slots. I have gone to GA for a bit. There is is mostly sports betting or cards. I can play cards and not have and compulsion as I do with the slots. They believe that you can not gamble on anything. Even if it’s fun – no money involved. I went through a rough divorce 4 years ago. After reading some articles on line. I think it may stem from that. I now have a great guy, who does not deserve to be burden with my addiction. Is there anyone out there who has the same slot addiction. I think it would help to talk to someone with the same feeling. Thanks for listening.

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