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This astonishing book reveals that there’s a lot more to playing slot machines—one of America’s fastest growing forms of entertainment—than good fun, deep relaxation and the dream of a multi-million-dollar jackpot. Slots tells how the machines work, how the random numbers that govern them are generated, and how the casinos make their profit . . . slowly but surely . . . as they keep only a dime of every dollar invested. It also offers strategies of slot play, and suggests alternate activities to distract us when casinos become harmfully habitual.
But ultimately, as Dr. Forrest writes, to spend one’s time feeding money to the machines is to participate in, well . . . a form of prayer. And the gaming industry seems very much aware of it, as players annually plunge more than $365-billion into slots (of which casinos keep about $30-billion); and as casinos—70 to 85 percent of whose profits are earned by slot machines—have spread to more than a dozen states and even into a number of racetracks (where they’re called “racinos”).
What this book describes with both humor and a sense of awe is the way slots emporia have steadily been transformed from underground grottos to soaring cathedral-like structures where congregants sit and commune—all to the end of worshipping the god of chance.
'“In David Forrest’s vision, the slot machine becomes a trope for the transcendence of desire.” —Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of English, Yale University, and author of The American Religion “Linking his own personal insights as a slots player with the latest research on the biological basis and cultural underpinnings of gambling, Dr. Forrest has written a must-read guide to understanding the lure of slot machines, and their unexpected utility in today's complex world. His immense erudition is well complemented by an easy approachability that is apparent on every page. And Slots is more than just an academic meditation on the vagaries of chance; Dr. Forrest imparts clever practical advice to players, including how to recognize when their playing is becoming unhealthy, as well as ‘slot substitutes’ that can replace excessive play. Slots is a jackpot of a book.” —David G. Schwartz, Director, Center for Gaming Research, University of Nevada, Las Vegas “Dr. Forrest's Slotsvividly and insightfully evokes the astonishing religio-spiritual world of slot machine gambling. As a psychiatrist who has also studied gambling, I am deeply impressed by Dr. Forrest's brilliant descriptions of this most fascinating phenomenon. His book will be most useful to clinicians who treat compulsive gamblers, as well as offer exciting reading for the millions of enthusiasts who have fallen under the spell of slot machines.” —Raymond Moody MD, PhD, and author of the international bestseller Life After Life'