Top 10 signs of slot machine gambling addiction

Slot machines: adrenaline, music, excitement! But when do you cross the line from player to addict? If you think that you are becoming a slot machine addict, learn the signs of slot machine addiction here.

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When playing slot machines is an obsession

If you are struggling with a serious gambling problem and seem to be obsessed with playing slot machines, here are some signs and symptoms that you should be aware of. I have gathered these from the many clients who have shared their struggles with the allure of the slots.

1. You initially loved the excitement of playing slot machines and being at the casino. Now, you play slots to escape worry or emotional pain and it becomes a part of  your daily or weekly schedule.
2. Your trips to the casino have progressed over time and seems to be getting more frequent.
3. You gamble more money than planned. You start convincing yourself that you have to recover your losses (chasing your losses), by playing the machine a little longer, because you feel like you are about to win big.
4. You are hiding (lying) about the actual time you sit in front of the slots to family and friends. You are embarrassed to admit to them you might have a problem.
5. You play the machines longer than you intended. You keep telling yourself you will play just a little longer. Quite often that ends up being hours longer.
6. You minimize your losses, and celebrate your winnings by telling those closest to you. You may even share the winnings with those you have deceived. This helps you justify your deceptions of the past.
7. You have obsessive thoughts of getting back to the casino to play a particular machine. You become very crafty or clever with your stories on where you are going.
8. You’ve taken money set aside by you or others for other reasons, and spent it on slot machines.
9. You have a particular game that you play (favorite machine), and are crushed or irritated if you don’t get to play it, because others are on the machine.
10. You find yourself avoiding people who take up a lot of your time. You would rather be left alone and be able to go to play your favorite machine.

Slot machines are the most addictive form of gambling

It’s no wonder slot machine addiction is considered the most addictive form of gambling. For some people, slot machines provide an incredible adrenaline rush.  Music can stimulate the senses to an enhanced level of excitement. The fast pace of the displays matched with sight and sounds can cause the body to dance with elation and anticipation.  Combine the chance of ‘winning big’ and the total experience provided by the slot machine can become seductive and alluring that matches the level of exhilaration much like that of an anticipated sexual organism.

Help for slot machine addicts

If you have a slot machine addiction, at some point in time, you will replace the anticipated excitement with ‘zoning out’ the world.  Shame, regret, fear, despair, and depression set in and you feel trapped and all alone. You conclude there is no hope or help that can get you out of this mess.

Ready for help?
Call us today. You don’t need to face addiction on your own.


The most important thing you can do is get help. The best way to overcome the shame is to walk through it and come out on the other side; moving on with your life. If you don’t face the behavior, things will only get worse. Tell me your experiences?  I would love to hear from you.

Coming Soon:  I promise to share the actual step-by-step progression of gambling addictions.

About the author
Dr. Jackson received his Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Omega Bible Institute and Seminary in 2009. He developed the Christian recovery treatment programs for Calvary Rehab Center and the Genesis Center for Recovery. He has trained and practiced Christian Counseling in all areas of drug/alcohol/gambling/sex and relationship addictions. He currently has his own web based online program called 12 Day Rehab Systems, designed for those who can work on recovery while maintaining career and family obligations. Dr. Jackson has been clean and sober since 1984. Learn more about Recovery with Dr. Steve.


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  1. I am powerless to slot machines! I have used the casino as a drug to numb my emotional pain. I have lost over 350,000 over the last 8 years. It pains me to know my reality. But I am learning to just not go. I have friends that help me out when I want to escape by being there for me. I feel in my heart I need counseling. … just to heal from my past. And to forgive myself for spending all the money! It’s a vicious cycle…

  2. Yes I see similarities iN myself when it comes to obsessing about slot machines

    Ihave used up all of my bank account on slots. Thank God I
    Pay my mortgage and bills first.

    I am a loss chaser. I always think that I will be able to recoup
    The money I spent. NOT. I get so angry with myself. I am a retiree also

    These darn things are so addictive. I have no money for counseling so any advice you could give me would be great

    1. Hi Carole. Why don’t you call the number you see on our site and speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

    2. Hi Carole
      I’ve been going to the Casino and playing slots for many years together with my husband and siblings my husband passed away and I’m now by myself in my own house 10 minutes from my only daughter
      The Casino is 10 minutes away from my house and I’m trying to learn and find out ways to understand addiction from slots and stop believing that I will win somehow.

  3. Hi. My husband is very addicted to casino. He been going to casino for past one year. We are having a lot of problems with our relationship cause of his gambling. He will lie so much to me to go out of the house just to go to casino. When he goes there. He will keep his phone off. Tell me stories how his phone died. He will not come home for 1-2 days or even more. He will continue playing without sleeping. When he get home. If I argue. He gets so angry at me. We have a baby girl. She is 4 months now. I’m the one who watch her 24/7. I find it myself being stress to watch her and seeing my husband gambling. He won’t listen to me at all. He have lost so much money. Maybe more than $100,000 within a year. I’m worried what if we lose the house that we are living right now. I know he emptied his credit cards. He is in big debt by now. Every time he thinks he is going to win back all the money that he lost.
    I don’t believe in casino. I have seen a lot of people. A lot if families got separated. Died. Much more of gambling. I’m scared to see the way my husband behaving with me and my daughter. I’m fear about this. I don’t know what go do. My friend told me to go to casino. Let them know. Sign it. But my husband would never do that. For him casino is his first home. That’s where he spend more time than being with his family. I need help to make him get out of this gambling. Or I might end up leaving him forever in my life.

    1. Hi Gini. Admitting that the problem is the first step to getting better. Is your husband in denial? If yes, I suggest you stage an intervention. Have you tried Gamblers Anonymous? Or can you seek help from a counselor who has experience working with problem gamblers? Also, you may call the helpline displayed on our site to get in touch with our treatment consultants.

  4. Went to casino with sister whom is going through depression, and the casino kept giving her cash advance, 6,000 worth and she has no ideal how she is going to pay this in a 24 hr. Time frame, can you tell me if there is something she can do to make payments on this and how they can issue someone that kind of money, thank you

  5. This is definitely me… Problem is, I work in a casino. I usually stay after my shift and spend everything! What do I do? I need help…

  6. I discovered why thé government made tokens illégal its not because it encourages you to gamble its because you are not wasting enough money i have Been going in bandits for 44 years losing thousands i wonder if they caused my amnesia m’y dad used to take us in WHEN hé played them . I get worried depressed but cant stop gambling

  7. I have Been losing money for years i cant help it i have to go in every day they often break down WHEN they start- paying WHEN you have lost a lot of money in them i mean to keep out today but i know i wont because i cant

  8. O my got is so embarrassed to do this but it is what it is .
    So I don’t know how many of u have lost everything for being an addict to slot machines so I’m one of those guys and I’m having a hard time to hold my anxieties of gamble and I can clearly hear the song of the slots machines everywhere I go and that’s what is killing me the most and I would like to know if any of u experienced the same thing and how u deal with that?

  9. All gambling can be destructive if good sense is not used.
    Understanding the odds are against you and wins are soon given back and then some with continued play. Casinos never gamble, they don’t have to, the odds favor them and the money rolls in.

  10. I have seen normal looking people as they approach the casino and could see through the doors, almost go into convulsions. Once inside they are restless, sweating, shaking, anxious and if approached irritable. I do not know whether this book would be of much help to them. Then there are those people who approach the casino usually with a smile and who feel up-lifted. For them the casino is a perfect escape for a while from the pressures or general boredom of their daily lives. They look at any incurred loses as the price they pay for their entertainment and relaxation at the casino. But that does not mean they are resigned to walking away from the machines a loser or fatalistically believing that whatever happens is out of their control. It is these people who will profit the most from this book.

    The VLM or video lottery machine is today’s slot machine. You are not going to beat these machines. Instead, what this book will help you with (along with a complete history of slot machines, related stories and much more) is how to protect against losses and, of course fewer losses means more chances of winning.

  11. My husband has a gambling problem..when he gets paid on fridays he cashes his check and immediatly goes and plays the slot machines. I told him those machines are set up but he doesnt want to believe that. Comes home broke and then starts feeling sorry. There is times that he wins but then losses it all…

  12. Hi Rich Andrade,
    In slots a) Go less and b) leave as soon as you win. You think all these discussions are happening bcos we are not aware of these two issues? Pal, if you are into it already take help and get out if you are just starting. God bless you.

  13. If you like slot machines, go less , once a month, and as soon as you win,” leave”. I know , at least in Connecticut these machines are crooked; Don’t believe me? I can show any senator from Ct. how these machines are crooked., but guess what I emailed our senator but he will have none of it; why? because the Casino gives the state a percent of the slot winnings. It is awful, and criminal . Ct. officials suck in general.

  14. I use to win 3 years ago , but it is a sure bet that the Casinos have turned up the win factor. The smoke is awful and most of the people are miserable. Casino management sucks. I have contacted our senator about the unhealthy conditions , even children walking around the isles with their parents . Sen. Blumenthal has not gotten back to me on my complaints, because the State GETS SERIOUS MONEY FROM IT’S CASINOS!

  15. Congratulations, Dr. Steve Jackson, your article is such an eye opener. It’s very informative and written in an engaging, non-boring manner. I’m not fond of slot machines or other stuff of the kind, but I have a few relatives and quite a few friends who seem not to be able to live without them, and therefore I will suggest them to read your lines and think a little on the very spirit of the message you are trying to deliver through them.

  16. Hi Ed. Thanks. Yup. I will include you in my prayers and let us quit it babe before we lose our sanity. How long can this go on. Let us hold each other and pray we come out of this with what little of is left so that we have just that amount of strength to re-build our lives.

  17. It is difficult to leave when you up- I too face financial ruin and run the risk of losing the relationship I have with my boyfriend all due to Slots-I am in counseling but am terrified for when its over as there are 8 sessions only -will be going to Gamblers anon. It will kill you in the end, financially and emotionally. Its easy to sit there and let life pass you by and I have no control on what I spend, you need to stick to going with 100 and not spending more or if you win leave. You will never get that money back and I know this and still keep going-how can you tell your family what you do its so shameful! I try not to neglect my family and only do it when time is mine but still its eaten all my savings and I am on the verge of not being able to pay bills. I feel ashamed to admit I borrow money to tide me from my family and still haven’t paid it all back. Casinos are a business and they don’t run on the sniff of an oil rag they need money, the govt needs money and it all comes from you!!!! I feel for Kamy its exactly as he says, all I do is pray, pray its goes away and I pray for him I know how he feels its hateful-I am banning myself from my one and there are no casinos around they are far so to travel just to lose money I would be mad! Now I cant get a loan as I would pay off my debt and I know that I owe the money back but need a loan so I can make one payment and then start anew like a blank page! Keep us gamblers all in your prayers we need a lot of help-ps…my Dad was a heavy Gambler I always said I would never be like him- 🙁 the apple does not fall far from the tree does it! My son also has a problem with gambling now.

  18. When I had to take $2000.00 out of my savings to shore up my checking account because I blew 2 grand in the slots I knew I had to apply the brakes and come up with a new strategy.

    I said to myself what amount would I be comfortable losing at the slots and the answer was a hundred dollars.
    How many trips to the slots a month – the answer was one time a month.
    And so this is how it has gone for more than two years , one visit a month and a hundred in me pocket , yes I have won a few hundred here and there and I have given it back on that same visit but my total loss was still a hundred for that trip.

    My next rule is to leave when I am up 40 bucks or more.
    Still working on that but my main control mechanism is still in place of a hundred per one visit a month.

    I go out to the smoking area and hear all the horror stories with my coffee of people who have lost like 7 hundred or a thousand and that sustains me and keeps me to my rule.

    Is it easy to follow this rule of a hundred , no indeed not but I have to adhere to this or face financial ruin with no controls in place.
    I actually enjoy myself and so they get a hundred off me once a month , so what that’s not going to put me in the poor house and I actually have a good time.

    I just wanted to share this and lets be realistic those gambling dens are not there to fill our pockets with money and sure there are the odd big winners but they are rare and you and I know it.

  19. One other thing I would like to say is that there are lots of games available on the market designed mainly for toddler age young children. They consist of pattern recognition, colors, family pets, and shapes. These often focus on familiarization rather than memorization. This will keep children occupied without feeling like they are learning. Thanks

  20. EVERY single thing listed is what my mother does, i’m tired of it I don’t know what else to do!!! I pray and pray for God to help her, the rest of the family isn’t much help it’s gotten the point where she has NO gas money and she’s arguing with my little brother for his piggy bank money making him cry and not taking him to school for football practice in the mornings because he won’t give her the money; and at the end I have to give my money feeling bad for my sibling. My mother now doesn’t sleep she looks like a crack addict, she argues about everything, she has gotten violent( it’s gotten to a point that i’m scared to tell her anything because i’m scared she might do something killer), she hasn’t paid the utility bills nor the house, I literally think i’m going to end up in the hospital for doing something crazy or going to have one of those attacks when people get so stressed out that they start bleeding from their nose and just knock out unconsciously; i’m about to start college for goodness gracious!! I don’t need more pressure on me then what I already have… someone please tell me what can I do?!?!

  21. Hello Kamy. It sounds like slot machines have totally taken over and that you are reaching out for help. Do you know where to go? Have you inquired about local social services or programs that might be able to help?

  22. Dear Friends,

    Im finding most of adivces to people showing clear trend of moving towards compulsive gambling very meager. In fact they should have stickers on every slot machine that says SLOT MACHINE KILLS. I started at 45. I am 5 feet 10 inches, always maintained my wt at 72. I drink regularly and smoke 20 cig a day. Health reports? Perfect! I use to earn 150K a year (self employed), chill with my wife and two children, take them out on holidays every three months, exercise regularly and generally have a great time with friends. Look at me now. I weigh 65, have been diagnosed with Type two diabetes, high blood pressure, high uric acid count, drink three times more and smoke 50 cigs a day, killed my business by selling products at half the price to raise money for the days play at slots, cleaned my savings, sold all the gold, plots and also have additionally generated debts of of over 250K. How did this happen? I screwed my health by playing 8-12 hrs at casino, smoking endlessly, drinking double shots of whiskey, eating nothing while playing and eating nothing when I reach home having lost heavily, waking up in the morning with the dread of what happened the previous night and how Im gonna clear the money taken from the loan sharks at the casino, avoiding calls, drinking in the afternoon, lying to anybody who is ready to listen, for money..Today I stay away from my family for months together trying to raise money from people in far away locations who have no idea of the cheating liar that I have become. Just to keep my wife and the kids going for some time. I have lost all self confidence, wear shabby clothes, drool when i speak and have generally reached the end of the road. All my wife wants is that I should live, hold her when we sleep. Children at the age of 9 and 11, both beautiful, full of life and remember me as a handsome, fun loving caring Dad are today completely baffled bcos the few times I return home I’m crying in the night, my wife probably cries for me every night when Im not there..bottom line is SLOTS does not just sucks up your money. It KILLS families man. It induces you, traps you, sucks every drop of life out of you till you are become a rotten carcass. So let us not pussy foot around with this. I mean it not only makes you a beggar, it destroys the body. So you just cant get back to life. SLOT KILLS.

  23. When other aspects of your life are being neglected in order to spend time gambling (let’s say time with your family, school or work) then it is becoming an unhealthy habit. Gambling can be a healthy and fun activity depending on how responsibly you play the game.

  24. Ms. Irresponsible:

    I had the same problem. Just stop going. Stop all the mailings in the mail from the casinos. Throw the casino cards away. Tell yourself enough and you will never get back the money you lost. Just start new. When you get the urge to go, do something else. Tell yourself no. The casinos are just ripping people off. The player cards calculate your playing habits and how much you spend. You will never win big. They watch you from casino cameras. I’ve had fraud on my cards by using the ATM machines at the casinos. I’ve had health problems from the smoke in the casinos. Just stop and learn to live your life again.

  25. Hello Ms. Irresponsible. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to getting better. Have you tried Gamblers Anonymous? Or can you seek help from a counselor who has experience working with problem gamblers?

  26. Dear Embarrassed, Both my experience and my research strongly suggest that you cannot engage in reduced gambling once your brain has moved into the addiction pattern. Please check out Gamblers Anonymous. It is a life-saver.

  27. I’ve realized that I have a gambling addiction. I never in a million years would have thought that I would gamble my mortgage money…well half of it. I used to be so frugal and now it seems that the slots are getting what would have been my savings. I chase losses and watch big wins on you tube. I have to stop this behavior. I imagine that I lost at least $8500 in the last 7 months. The problem is that I don’t cry about this? I should be very upset. I tend do feel dissappointed in myself but it only lasts a day or so. I haven’t gotten to the point where I don’t pay my bills…however I am just making ends met.

  28. Hello embarrassed. Thanks for your question.ike other comUlsive. behaviors, gambling can be approached from the perspective of abstinence OR reduction. I’d suggest that you explore what’s best for you by seeing a certified counselor who specializes in addiction treatment. Every person and every recovery is different.

  29. I too have a problem. I used to go to the casino and have a good time with friends, I even routinely ended up ahead. Then things progressed where I started going to the casino alone and wagering higher and higher amounts and “chasing losses.” It has cost me a lot financially to the point where I have been taking out cash advances on credit cards to pay for my trips. I am just wondering if I can ever get this under control so I can walk into a casino with friends and have a good time without becoming addicted again or if I have to never go to a casino again?

  30. Hi Rena. Thank you for sharing more about your experience with slot machines. It is my hope that others who want to quit can read your story and know that they can stop playing the slots, too.

    All the best,

  31. It all started with the penny machines and turned into Five dollar machines because they paid out jackpots quicker. It takes will-power and determination. I went for 4 years andthose ill-gotten gains can ruin a person financially and in other areas to the point of no return. Yes, everybody needs money but I’ve realized how important it is to be content with what I have. Gambling symptoms are most of the time “hard-to-tell”, but I have been “clean” for months now and I will pray for the rest of the others that are acknowledging this weakness.

  32. Hi ms. Thank you for letting us know. Yes, I see how the image can trigger a craving for slot machine gambling. Gambling, especially slots, is a very visual activity. I will try to find an alternate photo. But perhaps having it there to provoke conversation is actually a good thing?

  33. As a compulsive slot gambler, the picture on this blog triggered a longing to go play. I’ve also found myself sometimes hooked on free on-line slots – no need for money. You might want to change the picture. Thank you for this and the comments.

  34. Most countries have a non government organisation that assists people with gambling addiction. In South Africa they can be reached on (Toll-Free Counseling Line) 0800 006 008

    I guess you know that you are an addict when you find yourself neglecting things that should be done (and paid for) and replace them with gambling. I don’t think that it is only the money aspect that is a hard pill to swallow, but also the fact that you end up missing out on many important things to go gambling (like quality time with kids etc.)

  35. My mom is ripping apart every life she touches with her slot machine addiction! She goes every day on her break from work. She does not go home to be with her husband who suffered SCD (sudden cardiac death, by the way guess where she was when that happened) My dad pulled through with some brain issues, the worst being a short term memory loss. By the grace of God he is with us and is VERY much still dad, just a few quirks here and there. My mom has always been a selfish person so it is of no surprise that she wants him EXACTLY as he was before that day. She treats him terrible when she is home, she wont even let him have the luxury of a television or phone or a car. She has major issues (raped over and over by her father for years, from childhood until his death) she has been in a mental health hospital (the lastet being when my dad was in the hospital). I just talked with one of my dads doctors becuause she lets him go without meds, I think she likes to tell people how “bad” he is getting, she likes the attention, the sympathy. My dads doctor told me she needs to be admitted in a mental institution. My dad can get better but not with her the way she is.
    We live within 15 minutes from 4 casinos. She lies about where she is, says she is saving gas by not coming home in between her split shift, she has over 4 hours every day. She is starting to look all over for her gold jewelry, she has pulled a safe from its hiding place, the safe contains a coin collection. She is asking to borrow money on her pay days, she does not pay her taxes, her home is in tax forfeiture. My dad gets very mad at any of us if we say anything about any of this, he tells us to never mind. He is hopelessly in love with her, always has been, always will. He is competent, he can make his own decisions. But, she is whipping him. She is ruining the rest of his life and her childrens, I cant have my small chilldren around her/them. There is so much friction. I really just need to know where to start. She will NOT go to any type of therapy. If it is ever mentioned she will look up to the sky and scream that the only one that loves her is God and the only thing she loves is God. I realize this is more than just a gambling addiction. But right now, I need to look out for my dad and it seems that the first step is to make sure he will always have his home that he worked so hard for his entire life. My mom is out of control on so many levels. Seeing the failing with the inpatient mental hospital stays, we will start with this and then move on to petitioning the court to get her help with her other issues!

  36. Hello. Well first of all I meet all the signs posted that I have a problem with slot machines. Of course most of the time I end up losing and have a terrible feeling walking out. Its the thrill of possibly winning that keeps me going back plus I love the atmosphere of a casino so much that I wanted to work there. I thought maybe if I worked there I wouldn’t want to go back on my days off. Today I want to go to the casino but I am out of money right now so I am trying to keep busy doing other things. I can keep going on but I have all the signs of being a addict. My wife smokes to relieve stress and I guess this is my way of doing it. Of course her relieve is alot less costly. Thank you and yes I need help.

  37. Hi Mari. First, you are NOT alone. You don’t need to run away from life by playing the slots. Have you thought about checking out support groups like Gamblers Anonymous?

  38. I was assaulted and developed ptsd. I also have a mild brain injury and many medical problems. Have lost faith in people. Hasd only been to casino a couple of times prior to all of this. As things have gotten worse, more frequently I have gone. I have now been going several times a week-loose-win-woose-win—in the end always loose. I have spent 8 hrs a day for several days in the past month playing slots. For the most part, people there are nice and dont bother me. Nobody has expectations. I know I have lost hope in people and relationships and am sure this is the core. I just dont want to be bothered or invest the time in people. Im 52 and been taking care of others my whole life. When I got hurt-nobody there. I also know its a bad path.

  39. Stacy,
    Thank you for your comments.
    I would suggest you get help now.
    Find a group with gambling addictions (support group and counseling). Start being accountable. Address the shame and embarrassments. And become determined to follow through with your comment (I would give anything to never step foot in a casino again and want it to end). If you don’t do something different, you will not stop.
    I will pray that God will guide and direct you to the right therapist and support.
    God bless you. Don’t give up Stacy, KEEP ON TRYING
    Dr Steve

  40. everything i just read is so true ive become a person ive never dreamed i would i manipulate people lie anything so people wont know where im going. i dream bout the sound the chance of winning but you never really win if i do come ahead one time then im back there right away again putting way more back in then i won. i would give anything to never step foot in a casino again ive tried so many different approaches to try to quit and i end up right back in im very scared and want it to end!!!

  41. You are not going to beat these machines. Instead, you can win against losses and,of course, fewer lossess means more chances at winning. In the process your eyes open to what is really going on and the possibility of addiction. See e.g., VLM-Today’s Slot Mahcine Blog.

  42. Thanks for the article. Slot machines are not considered “crack cocaine of gambling addiction” for nothing. This is the worst form of gambling there is. It literally destroyes lives.

  43. Good ole Marge.

    Thanks for your comments.
    That’s a great point about kids games (arcades).
    It can sure be a set up for later in life.

  44. I remember at places that have games that are slot machine esque. You would play and it would issue back tokens or tickets when you win. Those were super addictive for when I was a kid and even now because they are very cheap and you dont take in the nickle and dime aspect of slot machines that adds up over time. So it comes as no suprise when research like this breaks because it makes sense. TY for the article. Even Marge Simpson was not immune to the effects of slot machines…

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