One person in my film spoke about being “full, but not satisfied” and I think you could say that that is a universal experience that comes from gluttony, but I think it’s a cultural experience with which Americans have a unique fluency.

WHAT’S THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR VIDEO GAMBLING MACHINES? One interesting phenomenon that’s unfolding right now is the conversion of table games to machines. So you see this in places like Macau, where there’s not really a culture of machine gambling and the industry is there and they really want to create that culture. So what they’re doing is they’re taking these traditional table games like baccarat, like poker, like roulette and they’re creating these electronic or mechanized versions so that everyone is still sitting around a table, but they’re looking down at a screen. And I’ve heard these machines described as “training wheels.” And, again, it’s trying to move people off of the less profitable — for the casino — social, traditional, card gambling to the electronic form of gambling, which is more profitable, easier to control.

Another answer to your question would be that business intelligence techniques and data tracking [are] going to become more and more of a crucial aspect of this. So I think about 80 percent of people nowadays play using player cards and all information about their play is being recorded and that’s increasingly driving machine design and even customized marketing to specific individuals. And you’re going to see more and more of that. And you’re also going to see more and more places adopting server-based gambling, so that all of the gaming content lives in the cloud, no longer in the cabinet. And that means that marketers, with their business intelligence and data at hand, can instantly respond to what’s happening in real time on the floor by changing the kinds of games, denominations, etcetera.

This is formerly a domain where [casino employees] could watch from the “eye in the sky” someone just. . . sitting at a machine, staring, and not really moving; there’s not really much going on there. But if you have access to. . . this behavioral data of what choices a person is making, what they’re doing on that screen, you’ve got a window that tells you maybe much more than the “eye in the sky.” You’ve got a window into their preferences, their behaviors, their desires.

The Action Speaks! “Betting On Hedonism” panel is at AS220 (115 Empire St, Providence) on October 3 at 6 pm. Go to for details.

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