On the banks of the Delaware River in Philadelphia, I went to Sugarhouse Casino. Sugarhouse Casino first opened its doors in 2010, and is one of 12 casinos that helped transform Pennsylvania into a game of chance after it was legalized in 2004. On Tuesday night, the interior of the casino was bustling with activity, bright hallways and a clear hallway. line of sight from east to west walls. The cacophony of the gambling games made Sugarhouse scream and the saccharine melodies sounded like a thousand bubble-blowing robots. (At one point, slot machine maker Silicon Gaming decided that the soundtracks on the C key were the most appealing.)

The state has made $3 billion from table games and $17 billion from slot games in 11 years of legal gambling. Sugarhouse’s table players place their bets on an island surrounded by slot machines. I struck up a conversation with two gamblers as I walked through the casino: Diane Singleton, a 45-year-old retiree, and Jack, who refused to write his last name. Two play Fu Dao Le, a theme with angelic Chinese babies. The red cursive Bally logo hung in the top right corner of the screen and the game loaded into the ProWave case.

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I asked about their favorite aspects of the game. Fu Dao Le, unlike other games, is “very immersive” according to Jack. He enjoys the “experimental stuff; you can touch the screen,” he said, touching the image of the coiled babies above the coils, making them laugh like the Pillsbury Doughboys.

According to Sugarhouse’s player tracking system, Jack and Singleton have both won “black cards”, indicating that they have invested over $10,000 each here. Singleton claimed to have discarded his cards because it reminded him how much money he had spent. Jack claims that the casino has given them four cruises so far. I was more concerned, but it became clear that Singleton was no longer paying attention.

Let’s go back to Bally’s showroom

Trask and I sat in front of the company’s latest Duck Dynasty game. He said: “There have never been more slot machines in the world than there are now.” “And it’s not just in the United States, it’s happening all over the world.” His index finger was next to the reel mark, where the cast member pushed his tongue out and played an air guitar on the poker sider holdem. Scientific Games currently has a global presence in 50 countries on six continents. The company announced in the spring that it would include 5,000 of the 16,500 aircraft recently licensed in Greece.

The industry also expects the main middle-aged audience to shrink and compete with free-to-play mobile games. “People just have so much free time,” Price said, and there’s a lot of activity on the iPhone. Trask said at one point in Bally’s stash, ‘Do you know how to get people to gamble at a younger age? Give them a phone. “

At the same time, the software industry is adapting slot design principles to suit its own purposes. Technical journalist Julian Dibbell coined the word ludo-capitalism in the early 2000s. This was influenced by watching World of Warcraft players dig for gold in the game to make a living in real life. Ludocapitalism was an attempt to understand how culture has become more and more playful as a result of technological progress. Dibbell recognizes that the boundaries of the concept have been blurred, but at the most fundamental level, it recognizes that capitalism can manipulate people’s play for better or worse – and that games are not just allegories that tell us about our lives; they are our lives. Gaming has become so pervasive that it can often be blurred if what we do has an intrinsic advantage outside of the game around it, as people seek more data-based creatures where points are collected from health applications (Schüll’s current research topic) and status accumulates. in identifiable amounts in social media.