The Gambling Zone

Press/Media: Research

Period11 Oct 2017

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleThe Gambling Zone
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletABC Radio National
    Media typeRadio
    Duration/Length/Size9 mins 21 secs
    DescriptionCarolyn Hirsh, a member of the Victorian Parliament who voted in favour of bringing in poker machines, says her addiction was a horrifying thing and she lost $40,000 in total because of this. She explains people get hooked for the anticipatory rush stimulating [the brain's] 'pleasure centre.' Dr Charles Livingstone, Gambling researcher, Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, discusses BF Skinner's operant conditioning and stresses that an unpredictable reward schedule reinforces behaviour difficult to extinguish. He then discusses Pavlov's classical conditioning and how gambling machines incorporate both conditioning principles, highlighting the role of dopamine. He points out the neurochemical is highly addictive and poker machines stimulate their release. He says Natasha Schüll's book Addiction by Design documents how manufacturers have perfected 'the art of addiction' for 'the zone.' Schüll points out her research into casinos shows their architecture has been designed to get people 'in the zone,' which is an inside term in gambling. She points out that some addicts talk of winning as if it is but an interruption from 'the zone.'
    Producer/AuthorLynne Malcolm
    PersonsCharles Livingstone