Tony McDew not only recognized that he had a gambling problem, but set out to document it with his own video camera, hoping that sharing his experience could help others. When the jackpot hits, "It feels like you're getting high." And when it doesn't? "You want to crucify yourself."
The mere sight of a slot machine can trigger a chemical response in the gambling addict's brain in the same way the thought of cocaine stimulates a drug addict. Some researchers are exploring the use of drugs to treat addicts. Robert Hunter offers old-fashioned group and one-on-one therapy.
When designer Si Redd realized the overwhelming attraction of his video poker machines, he advised addicts to get help — and leave Nevada if necessary. Today the role of the slot machine in feeding addiction is debated. In Canada, gamblers can tell a slot machine to limit their play.