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Unraveling the Mechanics of Addiction

'The Addiction Machine' provides an unprecedented look into the world of slot machines and the science of gambling addiction.

Keywords: Slot Machines, Addiction, Gambling, Neuroscientists, Anthropologists, Game Theory. Three words: Insightful, Revealing, Disturbing


In the midst of a plethora of unassuming entertainments lies a predatory industry – the world of slot machines. The 2015 documentary, 'The Addiction Machine', directed by Carmine Pizzo, offers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look into the intricate network of mathematicians, musicians, and designers that shape this industry.


'The Addiction Machine' explores the world of slot machines, shedding light on how they are designed to be addictive and omnipresent. The documentary dives deep into the highly organized network of individuals working to ensure that gamblers lose continually. It features interviews with neuroscientists, anthropologists, and game theorists, who explain the science behind addiction. It also highlights the stories of victims who have succumbed to what they describe as an 'unlawful hypnotism.'

More Film Analysis


The documentary adopts an exploratory and investigative approach, delving into the depths of the slot machine industry. The film's depth of research is showcased in its in-depth interviews with industry insiders and experts in various fields. 'The Addiction Machine' also explores the subject matter from the perspective of the victims, adding a personal and emotional dimension to the film.

Historical and Factual Context

Providing a historical context, the documentary traces the evolution of slot machines and the gambling industry at large. It also gives a factual backdrop about the science of addiction, detailing how the human brain reacts to gambling activities.

Key themes in the film

  • The manipulative design of slot machines
  • The science behind addiction
  • The impact of gambling addiction on individuals

Film Comparisons

'The Addiction Machine' can be compared to other documentaries such as 'Gambling, Addiction and Me: The Real Hustler' and 'Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas'. While each film offers unique perspectives, 'The Addiction Machine' stands out for its focus on the role of design and strategy in fostering addiction.

Noteworthy Moments

One of the most significant moments in the documentary is when victims share their personal experiences, providing a heart-wrenching insight into the consequences of gambling addiction.


Audiences and critics have praised 'The Addiction Machine' for its in-depth exploration of a little-discussed topic. Specific reviews highlight the film's 'unprecedented look into the gambling industry,' and its 'revealing insight into the mechanics of addiction.'


'The Addiction Machine' is a crucial watch for those interested in understanding the intricacies of the gambling industry and the science of addiction. It offers valuable insights to those affected by gambling addiction and those working in addiction recovery.

More film information:


  • IMDB score: 7.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
  • Metacritic score: 78
  • Film festival awards: Best Documentary, Venice Film Festival



  • Carmine Pizzo: Director
  • Dr. Natasha Dow Schull: Cultural Anthropologist
  • Prof. Kevin Harrigan: Slot Machine Expert



  • Las Vegas: Primary location featuring various casinos
  • Toronto: Interviews with experts

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  • How is the design of slot machines instrumental in fostering addiction?
  • What is the science behind gambling addiction?
  • What are the societal implications of the proliferating gambling industry?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. If this film was a famous book, which one would it be?
  • 'A Clockwork Orange' for its exploration of manipulation and addiction.
  1. If this film was a famous song, which one would it be?
  • 'Hotel California' by The Eagles, for its metaphorical depiction of entrapment.
  1. If this film was a famous piece of art, which one would it be?
  • Edvard Munch's 'The Scream', for its portrayal of despair and fear.
  1. If this film was a famous celebrity, who would it be?
  • Robert Downey Jr., for his open discussion about overcoming addiction.
  1. If this film was a color, which one would it be?
  • Dark grey for its somber and serious tone.
  1. If this film was a music style, which one would it be?
  • Blues, for its raw and emotional expression.