Sunday, September 02, 2012

" help you stay in control"

From Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
by Natasha Dow Schüll
As recently as the mid-1980s, machine gamblers who wished to continue
play when they ran out of money were required to leave their machines,
make their way to an automatic teller machine (ATM) on the casino
floor to acquire cash, and finally, purchase rolls of coins from cashier
cages or change attendants roving the floor with coin carts, before returning
to play.

...By 1997 it had become possible for players to directly
access their checking accounts from the machines, transferring up
to $1,000 per day in the form of play credits. Nevada deferred approval
for this technology in 2003, for it came too close to violating a state law
that bans the merging of ATM functions into slot machines (on the reasoning
that this might facilitate “impulse play” and exacerbate problem-
atic gambling behavior). But given the numerous jurisdictions without
this legal obstacle, gambling technology companies have continued to develop
systems that allow direct access to finances from machines.

...In partnership with Bally, for instance, Cash Systems introduced Powercash,
in which players can draw funds from various sources (checking
accounts, credit cards, or debit cards) directly into their player club card
while remaining at their gambling machines the meantime, a company called Automated Currency Instruments
has attempted to bridge the separation of bank machine and gambling
machine in a different way— by devising an ATM that “becomes part of
the entertainment experience in the casino.” In this convergence of banking
and play, “entertaining displays on the [ATM] unit keep the patron
interested and entertained while he or she is waiting for the transaction
to complete.”70 Instead of endowing gambling machines with ATM func-
tionality, this system endows ATMs with ludic functionality, such that
the very act of financial withdrawal becomes an act of play.
There are two kinds of autistic play, both now ubiquitous: one passive, one active, one minimally the other maximally functionalist.

The Social Network: the young programmers "locked in", their keyboards like game consoles. Searching for both the movie and the phrase, the only discussion that came up was Zadie Smith in the NYRB. The link is here.
If the video goes dead: It's an ad for Advance America. Payday loans at the ATM.

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