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The reel deal: How slots psychology keeps you spinning



If you’re a frequent gaming venue visitor, have you ever asked yourself if you choose slots, or do casino slots choose you? It’s the entire science that stands behind your slots spinning. Developers use some psychological tricks to make you keep playing. 

The role of familiarity 

Dr. Mark Griffiths is Professor of Behavioural Addiction and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University has done a lot of research on how the familiarity of something affects people’s brains and people’s behavior, especially the behavior of those addicted to casino games.


He found out that branded slots are what players feel more comfortable with. Therefore, branded slots became a real business for manufacturers. A lot of money and other resources are spent trying to connect casino slots with popular brands.


For example, a slot with characters from Games of Thrones became very popular, even within those who didn’t watch the show. You see, for players’ brains is enough that they just recognize something familiar, something that tells them that a serious brand is what stands behind it. 

Why is the name so important?

The name of a slot is more important than you could assume. Would you like to play on a slot named “The Unlucky Gambler” or “Medium Variance”? Of course, you wouldn’t. 


The names that include money didn’t prove tempting. Dr. Griffiths emphasized that slots named after famous persons, popular tv shows, and video games, even places, are what attract players. Naming slot for James Bond or Elvis Presley is not just familiar to players but also reminds them of wealth and something they would like to affiliate with. 

The nostalgia factor

When psychologists analyzed the success that stood behind the “Pokemon Go” game, they realized that one of the main factors important for the game’s success was nostalgia. People loved that there was a game they could connect with what they liked when they were kids. 


Nostalgia and comfort are very important for slot players too. Slot machines that can bring them back in time and evoke memories from childhood can be very successful. Comfort is important for players too. They need to feel that they have everything under control. 


Apart from these factors, it’s important to mention that collecting has a seductive effect. Many online slots encourage players to collect awards because the more they collect the bigger the jackpot will be. 

The repetition of themes 

Because of already mentioned nostalgia, classic and retro spots are what continue to appear over and over again. If the developer has hit upon a successful format, he will repeat it again. 

The eye contact

Those who studied the importance of eye contact in advertising and psychology realized that people tend to trust more those who maintain eye contact. Therefore, slots with characters that wink, smile to players, or maintain eye contact with them are what players actually like. Eye contact is an important part of communication. Characters don’t have to talk to players to look friendly. 

Choosing the right slot for you 

As mentioned, nostalgia, comfort, the familiarity of brand, loud sounds, lights, and animation are all important to attract a player. When you find something appealing to you, when you find something familiar and friendly, you will probably stick to it.