The number of online users worldwide is rapidly growing and reached last year 4.38 billion, 9% of which are online users participating in social media. In comparison, the online gaming industry came up to 25.69 billion dollars, which is an incredible number, considering the fact that online gambling is generally being slowed down due to new laws and regulations.
Both social media and online gaming industries share a similar characteristic which is responsible for keeping their users hooked, coming back for more. In the virtual world it is all about consumer´s attention measured in time spent and clicks, and slot machines are designed to lock users into an addiction cycle.
How to break it? Limit the time! Many average users, including several biggest tech players of Silicon Valley, have decided: they will control their time on social media!
Slot machine and social media: same key to success?
Social media platforms are using similar methods, proven successful in the gambling industry, recently even referring to smartphones as a “slot machine in your pocket.’”
For instance, while being online and trying to find your way around by scrolling and clicking yourself through, it is similar to a slot machine: you never really know what comes next and where will you end up: you will probably go through a jungle of ads and very often you will be offered different kinds of rewards.
Just think of the ‘pull to refresh’ function; whenever you pull down to refresh your timeline, it triggers arrival of new contents and demands for your action: there are notifications of new emails in your mailbox, those about received likes and messages from family, friends and colleagues, waiting for you to respond… It might even cause a sigh of disappointment if there is no notification at all and there is nothing new for you to look at or smile at and share it with people who mean something to you in your life.
The downward-pull action was designed by Loren Britcher – for many users, its omnipresence became intuitive.
People get easily caught into ‘ludic loops’ – which literally means doing something over and over again, hoping to get certain reward, which can be won (only) every once in a while. Slot machines, for instance, are designed to lock you into a “ludic loop”, resulting – in best case- with cash rewards, which is similar to pulling the lever of a slot machine.
Online slot games – you`ll get what you want
In the end, it’s all about fun and excitement, triggered by attempting to get a reward. Furthermore, it´s about the desire to win, to succeed and to get this well-known adrenalin kick. Fact is: online gambling is fun, it is exciting and it is hard to stop.
The figures say it all: this field became very successful, e.g. according to the United Kingdom Gambling Commission report, the online gaming industry increased for 12.8 percent, and the Gross Gambling Yield for that year was 5.3 billion euros.
In 2016. online slot machines style games alone produced 1.8 billion euros in the UK, which makes it one of the greatest revenue producers of the industry, and it shows a trend of consecutive growth. Although Europe remains one of the most lucrative markets for operators, new frontiers like North America show promising growth potential, and market leaders like Betsson with its Betsafe Canada brand are rushing to establish the early market dominance.
Speaking of online gambling markets, we need to point out one fact that is really interesting. Specifically, people around the world are gambling, and this is no novelty. Quite simply, this industry is growing constantly, so new players are always welcome. However, the fact that about 51% of humanity is gambling is truly amazing.
Think about it, there are about 7.53 billion people in the world. It is really a huge number and a great chance to make money. One of the regions that is particularly lucrative when it comes to gambling is the Asia-Pacific one. In recent years, this region has seen a significant increase in the popularity of gambling games. The forecasted increase for the next 2024 is as high as 7.31%, which is fantastic for those who profit from this industry.
However, although China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, etc. ranked second on the list of biggest gambling markets, there are still some restrictions in each country mentioned. For example, India has sports betting and a national lottery, but not other forms of gambling that are legalized. Well, imagine that all games are allowed, this would mean that this industry would grow more as it would draw even more players.
Anyway, another common feature of social networks and online betting is that they are widespread and accessible to all thanks to their Internet connection. Today, virtually anywhere in the world, you can access the Internet and enjoy the virtual world the way you want. It is this trap that attracts people, giving you virtual or rather false liberty, so to speak.
There are certain strategies of keeping the players permanently connected and making them lose track of time; in the casino environment it´s the atmosphere overload with audio and visual stimulation, lack of natural daylight and insufficient air filtration, which makes players less able to process information and make decisions also.
On the other hand, online betting attracts users to join and leave whenever and wherever they feel like it, and that`s one of the main things online betting and social media have in common.
The very interesting part is when the average internet user becomes addicted to constant online presence. He or she always wants new notifications, new messages, new information, something extraordinary that attracts and holds attention. At first it may be easy to control, but later on it can lead to serious addiction problems.
Quite simply, entire teams of experts work to bring you closer to both social networks and online gambling. For example, today we have apps that make them even more accessible. Smartphones are ideal for creating and keeping this permanent connection: being convenient, always at hand and at disposal for immediate usage. Whether you need help, are bored or are doing some private or work-related researches, your smartphone will support you. What more could a user wish for?
But there are also constant ads and various marketing techniques that attract new users every day with well-developed traps that are sometimes difficult to escape from. In essence, the only effort that companies behind social networks and online betting sites have to make is to attract and engage as many potential users as possible. After that, it flows like a river. People are becoming more attached to applications, they need more information, interesting content, short-term excitement, etc. Fortunately, all this can be found on social networks and online casinos.
Anyway, we don’t think social networks or online betting sites are a bad thing. On the contrary, everything is just fine, but in reasonable quantities. You don’t want to waste your time on the virtual instead of the real life that is around you. However, few people notice it because the time you have lost can no longer be restored, in any way. There is no pull-to-refresh feature.