Gambling has always led to addictive behavior in some individuals. However, the number and types of addicted gamblers have changed over time and in response to specific gambling environments. Recent work by historians, journalists, and anthropologists, reviewed in this paper, suggests that the situation worsened during the modern era, and that it has become worse still during the last half century. Technological, organizational, and marketing innovations have “weaponized” gambling, increasing both the likelihood that people will gamble and that they will gamble compulsively—a phenomenon with parallels to several other consumer products, including processed food, digitized games, and psychoactive drugs.
David T. Courtwright. “Learning from Las Vegas: Gambling, Technology, Capitalism, and Addiction.” Occasional Paper Series 26. Las Vegas: Center for Gaming Research, University Libraries, 2014.