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Natasha Dow Schüll is an anthropologist who spent 15 years studying machine gambling in Las Vegas. Her resulting book is a close examination of the people, the machines and the several contexts that interact to produce gambling addiction. The idea that a machine’s design interacts with a user (not one or the other but both) is a core theme. The book is something of a page turner, full of deeply human insights into the people she met whose lives have fallen prey to addiction.

There is a growing awareness both in and beyond academia that the design of gambling machines is crucial to understanding addiction. The book is highly recommended. For a good overview, watch her lecture: