Is there a case for a class action lawsuit against casinos/slot machine makers?

As a veteren of Wheel Of Fortune slots in both Vegas and Reno, I’d like to point out that the game has 2 functions. First, it is a slot machine, you have to hit a certain combo to win anything. You don’t always get the Wheel. Second, when you do get the Wheel bonus spin, you are already guaranteed a win.

These machines are already programmed on giving up a certain amount of coins dropped in. Any state that allows gambling is so heavily regulated it’s almost impossible to get around. The slot machines run on computer chips. Once you put the money in it already knows what the outcome is, the reels are just for your entertainment. Including the “second-round” Wheel spin. I can find cites, but if you don’t already know this nothing will convince you.

As far as “gambling addiction”? No. Bullshit. Doesn’t exist. I’ve never seen a gambler check into a clinic and suffer a week of withdrawal while needing 24 hour medical attention to make sure they don’t die.

It’s a compulsion. Perfectly valid in the argument that the gambler needs help. An addiction is something that you have to do to function physiologically to avoid changing basic body functions. Blackjack/Heroin. I see the desire for both obsessed with them, but the addict has a real physical stake in quitting.

Not a doctor, but been there.

What is the physiological basis for addiction to playing a game of chance? Has anyone ever proven that there is a physical or chemical change that results from the mere act of gambling?

Aside from those embracing the sick “everyone’s a victim” and “sue everyone, everywhere” culture, I am unaware of anyone even claiming that there is a physical addiciton to gambling. If you open the door to lawsuits over this, you may as well allow people watching “Survivor” to sue because they’re addicted to it, or people who download porn at work to sue “the Internet” because they are addicted to it.

Where is this law that you mention? I’m curious to read it.

  • Rick

Frank Scobelete, in his book about video poker (Victory at Video Poker–yeah, a bit optimistic, I know) had an interesting discussion about a similar concern involving video poker machines in New Jersey.

It’s a little complicated, so let me step back a minute here. In Las Vegas and some other jurisdictions, video poker machines have to follow the “52-card deck” rule. That is to say, the odds of getting any combination, from royal flush to no pair, have to be exactly the same as if you took a standard deck of 52 cards, randomized them, and dealt them yourself. The combination most gamblers are going to be interested in is the (natural) royal flush, which wins you either a standard or progressive jackpot. Scobelete reckons that after the draw your chances of landing one are 1-in-40,000.

Now, in New Jersey, the laws are different. Video poker machines only have to return “all the combinations that can be dealt from a 52-card deck” (I don’t have the book here, which has the exact language). They don’t have to return the hands in the same proportion that you’d get from just shuffling and dealing the cards yourself. So that 1-in-40,000 chance at a royal flush could be more like 1-in-1,000,000, depending on how “tight” the machine is programmed.

Is this deceptive? Scobelete thought so. If you didn’t get a copy of New Jersey gaming laws–and he found that Jersey casinos were often unwilling to supply them, even though by law they must do so–and were familar with the machines in Vegas, you would logically assume that the machines would be the same. The royal flush is so relatively infrequent, any gambler would simply assume he or she was having an unlucky streak, rather than that the odds were impossibly high. The New Jersey and Vegas machines are exactly the same, made by the same manufacturer, but just programmed differently. Most wouldn’t think there was any difference at all between the machines–I didn’t, until I read the book.

Now, as to whether it’s illegally deceptive…that’s the “4000-coin” question. It would make an interesting test case. At the very least, such a case could force casinos to post their gaming laws at the entrance to the casino, rather than have the customer request them (where Scobelete ran into the old “oh, we don’t have any copies left” gambit). Whether a video poker player could prove that he/she was defrauded…dunno, there.

Ummm. OK, add in the fact that I have an eating disorder (compulsion to eat).