The Musical Hooks of Gambling

Jan 27, 2012 by

A few nights ago my husband and I were watching American Idol. We have only watched an episode or two throughout the time it has been airing. It hasn’t really caught our attention so far.

This time was different. Very different.

About six months ago when we were in Las Vegas we played the American Idol community video slots. It was a fun game with great wild symbols and bonus games. The sounds were pleasing to hear. The chairs were comfortable and the music was loud. It was like a gambler’s wonderland. Needless to say, I didn’t play them for too long because their hook was incredibly powerful. I knew that if I stayed for long I would lose my control. I’m not going there again. So I watched my husband and the others around us play. I like to call it research.

Fast forward to a few days ago. Cuddling on the couch, relaxing. The show goes to commercial and BAM! There it was.

We both looked at each other and said “Oh my gosh, did you notice that?”

We both felt a twitch go through us and we both felt the hook of that damn game. Neither of us were thinking about it during the show. But when we heard that music it was on!

So, what’s the big deal?


You need to be aware that throughout your life you will notice triggers or hooks, especially when you’re cutting back or quitting. Knowledge gives you the power to handle the situation in a healthier way.

I used to think that I needed to act on those triggers. If I heard it, and then I started thinking about it…even just rolling the game over in my head, it was incredibly difficult to do something else. I would follow through with the thoughts and go out to gamble, maybe even convincing myself that I was meant to hear that sound and that it was a lucky sign.

The reality, from my learned awareness, is that I have played the video and poker slots so much that it is engrained in my whole being. It’s not a lucky omen. It’s plain and simple repetition.

So many sounds could be a trigger if I let them. The coin machine at work. Any time a machine dispenses change. Numerous popular songs (think Rock Lobster for Lucky Larry) have been used for bonus games on video slots. The beeping of a card ready to be removed from an atm can give me that spark. What about a jingle on tv or a radio commercial?

If you let them creep into your head all of these things can overwhelm you and send you into another chase. A better option is to look at them straight on, see what they are doing to you and where it’s coming from…and make a better choice. Your life is truly up to you. You get to choose which direction you go.

Where do you want to go? Wouldn’t it feel great to take a step in that direction right now?

Best of luck.


P.S. My husband and I had a great conversation about the power of sounds and I want to thank him for his contribution to this post.

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